Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Second 'ship' museum for Malacca?

(Photos courtesy of NST - An artist impression of the replica )

Malacca is set to expand its successful Maritime Museum to include a replica of a 15th century royal schooner assumedly used during the heydays of Malay Sultanate in Malacca. (NST, Second ‘ship’ museum for Malacca, May 12, 2009)

The second replica costing close to RM5 million will be built a stone throw from Flor de la Mar on the newly reclaimed square across the historical river. But here is where the similarity ends.

While a great effort was taken to design the Portuguese Galleon when they set out to build the replica, the constructors of the Malay royal sail may face greater obstacle in their quest to design the ship.

Records about Flor de la Mar - the flagship of Albuquerque’s armada are well documented and there are plenty about its voyages in the Portuguese Archive but we cannot say the same about the royal vessel for the Malacca Sultan.

Malacca maybe the formidable sea faring state but information on its naval fleets and types of vessels used by the sultanate is vague if not none at all.
When Malacca was under siege by the Portuguese, we were told the battles were fought by soldiers on elephants and the Portuguese men-of-war pounded our shores without a hint of naval resistence.
Why and where was the Sultan’s fleet?

Hence, there are questions if there was a royal ship like the state would like us to believe today.
More worrisome is if the 2nd 'ship' museum venture part of an on-going plan by the state authority to localise the many attractions currently being developed on the banks of the historical Sungai Melaka.

Second 'ship' museum for Malacca (NST, May 12, 2009)

MALACCA: After the 19- year-old Flor De La Mar Ship Museum, the state government will soon build another ship at Sungai Melaka.

This time, it will be a replica of a 15th century royal ship, costing an estimated RM4.9 million.

Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam said the ship, which would be developed by the Malacca Museum Corporation, would be able to accommodate up to 150 visitors at any one time.He said the ship would take tourists back in time to the era of the Malacca sultanate during the reign of Sultan Mansur Shah (1459-1477)."Apart from depicting Malacca as a trading port then, the ship will also exhibit the maritime activity in this part of the world," Ali said.

Two historians, Tan Sri Aziz Tapa and Datuk Djohan Hanapiah, were also consulted to ensure the success of the project, expected to be completed in 18 months.Ali said the RM20 million Ma-lacca Planetarium, the fourth in the country, will be fully operational by next month.

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