MALACCA: The state government will proceed with its development projects on Dataran Pahlawan and the recent discovery of a centuries-old fort and walls will complement the effort.
Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam said the archaeological find would enhance the area and attract more people to come.
He said the ongoing development of underground souvenir stalls, restaurants and parking lots at Dataran Pahlawan would not be affected by the find.
“The project will still go on. The discovery of the tower of Fort Santiago will attract more people to come,” he said.
An archaeological team from the Department of Museums and National Antiquities and Malacca Museum Corporation (Perzim) discovered the tower while excavating an area 14m wide and 5m deep.
The Fort Santiago tower was located 80m south-west of the present A' Famosa which was used by the Portuguese to defend Malacca.
The team expects to find walls and forts dating back to the time of the Portuguese and British occupation of Malacca from the 1500s to 1800s.
Datuk Bandar Zaini Md Nor, who visited the excavation site, said the city council had issued a letter asking the developer to stop work and allow the archaeologists to continue their work.
“Work on the other areas can still proceed,” he said, adding that the council had allowed the archaeologists to continue digging outside the boundaries of the construction site.
Several Portuguese residents have voiced their concern over the discovery of Fort Santiago and urged the government to restore it.
“I hope the government will stop all reconstruction work and allow Perzim to carry out the restoration work.
“Malacca is already well-known for its diverse heritage and this is a priceless discovery, not only for Malacca but Malaysian tourism,” said Martin Theseira, the pro-tem committee chairman of the Malacca Portuguese Historical and Culture Organisation.