MELAKA: The oldest church ruins in South-East Asia - St Paul’s Church in Bandar Hilir - is showing signs of deterioration, says a seasoned tourism stakeholder.
Friends of Melaka Museums chairman Shaukani Abbas said shrubs are enveloping part of the church and that there was also an incident where a small part of the stone ruins had collapsed but luckily no tourists standing below were hurt in the incident.
"I was told by a trader at St Paul’s Hill that one of the stones from the church ruins had collapsed and there were tourists at the time of the incident," he said in an interview on Sunday (Feb 5).
Shaukani, who has been a tour guide for 32 years, hopes attention is given to preserving the heritage structure.
He said maintenance work at the ruins was executed last year but the shrubs were still visible.
"Probably, the work was not done accordingly," he said.
Shaukani also voiced his concern over faulty lights around and inside the church.
"I’m afraid the ruin site might be turned into a place for unsavoury elements if it's not sufficiently lit," he added.
The church was originally built in 1521, making it the oldest church structure in the country and South-East Asia.
The church is part of the Melaka Museum Complex comprising the A Famosa ruins, the Stadthuys, and other historical landmarks.