When the rich make war,
the poor are suffering
Published on 22 September 2011
The Malacca Government will seek the assistance of the police here to monitor and act against relic hunters who have been selling priceless artefacts excavated from the Malacca River.
State Tourism, Culture and Heritage committee deputy chairman Chua Kheng Hwa said the state government would rope in several other agencies, including the Heritage Department, to prevent further plundering of the nation's treasure.
“I don't know how the looting went undetected as agents of the scrap metal dealers have been combing the riverbank since early last month,” he said.
“We will lodge a police report to stop them from taking away more of these artefacts.”
On Wednesday, The Star reported that agents of scrap metal dealers had been selling old Portuguese coins, bullets and religious amulets that were unearthed during a recent landslip along the banks of the Malacca River to antique brokers from Singapore.
The artefacts were discovered after an ancient jetty at Stadhuys collapsed in May.
Chua added that he had also informed the state Heritage Department to immediately monitor the situation.
“I will also table a proposal to Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam to conduct a study and do excavation work as probably more treasure is buried underneath this ancient waterway,” he said.
“We need archaeologists, including foreign experts, to study the relics.”
At the peak of the Malacca Sultanate and when Malacca port was colonised by the Portuguese and Dutch, the river would have seen trading vessels from various countries, some of which could have capsized.
In an immediate response, Malacca police chief Senior Asst Comm Datuk Chuah Ghee Lye said the police would render full assistance to the state government to safeguard the national heritage.
“Marine police will be dispatched to patrol the river stretch,” he said.
Meanwhile, a check revealed that no digging activities were being carried out.
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