MELAKA: The national-level Christmas open house celebration will be held in Melaka, said Chief Minister Datuk Seri Idris Haron.
He confirmed that the event will be held here on Boxing Day.
“There will be numerous performances to showcase the rich cultural diversity of Melaka,” he said.
Earlier, there were news circulating that Melaka was not in the running to host the celebration following the Christ the Redeemer statue issue.
Idris, however, lobbied for it with the Culture and Tourism Ministry, as the issue had been resolved.
Idris said he had called for a temporary halt to the demolition of the statue and for an amicable solution through talks between the Portuguese Settlement leaders and Melaka Historic City Council (MBMB).
“We want the leaders of the community to find a solution. We acted according to the by-laws of the local government and have no intention of demolishing the statue without the knowledge of the community,” he said.
He said sufficient time was given to the leaders of the community to resolve the matter without MBMB’s intervention.
“However, the leaders were unable to find a solution and MBMB issued notices according to the existing by-laws,” he said.
Idris said the state authorities have been blamed for not allowing the structure to be built, when the problem arose due to the failure of those involved to get approval for their project.
He said those involved in building the statue had agreed to relocate it recently without the involvement of MBMB.
He said volunteers were given two options - to relocate the statue or apply to convert the site where the statue of Christ the Redeemer was supposed to be erected into a landscaping project.
Idris said the 7.5m-high statue should not be built at a site where space was limited or at a public square.
The Portuguese community leaders had wanted to put up the statue which is based on the iconic Christ the Redeemer statue built on the Corcovado mountain in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and as a monument to enliven the annual Christmas celebrations at its settlement this year.
The proposal was submitted to MBMB in September but construction work was carried out without the council’s approval.
Mayor Datuk Wira Zainal Hussin, in a press statement, had said the matter has been settled as the volunteers had agreed to relocate the statue to another site within the settlement.