Wednesday, March 25, 2015


Chinese developer launches US$1bn Melaka project

Xin Eco Marine Group Properties Sdn Bhd, a subsidiary of Xinyuan China, will invest US$1 billion (RM3.6 billion) in a mixed development project in Klebang, Melaka next year.
Its President Datuk Jacky Zhang Zhengang said the project, comprising three major property segments – tourism, commercial and residential – would be built on a 68-hectare of reclaimed land facing the Straits of Malacca.
He said the project, spanning about six years with a gross development value (GDV) of around US$5 billion, would kick off in stages starting with the development of a theme park in October next year.
 “ We have a total investment goal in the next four to five years... the total investment can reach not less than US$1 billion in Melaka.
"In the other regions close to Kuala Lumpur and some other tourism destinations like in Sabah, Penang and some island tourist hotspots, we are glad to do investment for these kind of venues in the future,” he said.
He said this to Bernama after the recent launch of Xin-Eco Marine Group Properties Sdn Bhd in Kuala Lumpur, which also serves as Xinyuan China’s Southeast Asia regional headquarters.
Touching on the residential aspect of the project, he said different class designs for villas, bungalows and apartments would be incorporated to meet the needs of local and foreign buyers including from China.
The company expects most of the residential units to be taken up within a year after being offered to the public.
Meantime, the reclamation works on the seafront will start in May this year and expected to be completed in June 2016.
Zhang said the company had chosen Melaka, particularly Klebang, as it was strategically located along the coastal stretch of the tourism belt, mid-way between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore.
Xinyuan China was founded in 1997 and was listed on the New York Stock Exchange on Dec 12, 2007.
The Xinyuan Group is involved in residential, commercial and management of  properties as well as film and entertainment, and is expanding and diversifying its markets globally in line with the Chinese Government's "Go Global" strategy. – Bernama, March 24, 2015.
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Tuesday, March 24, 2015


Updated: Wednesday March 25, 2015 MYT 10:24:23 AM
466-year-old chapel set to undergo restoration
MALACCA: Lent 2015 brought cheer to thousands of Catholics here with news that the ancient Rosary Chapel (Ermida de Rosario) will be restored, ending its days of neglect.
Malacca Museum Corporation (Perzim) has received the go-ahead from the management of St Peter’s Church of Malacca to start work on the 466-year-old building and the land it stands on in Jalan Bunga Raya Pantai along Malacca River.
“With the permission granted, work will begin very soon,” Perzim general manager Datuk Khamis Abas said yesterday.
Joseph Sta Maria, a representative of minority ethnic communities under the state Barisan Nasional’s social service unit (Pembela), said the announcement brought joy not only to Catholics in Malacca but also nationwide.
“The ruins of Rosary Chapel are significant to the Catholics in this country and the good news was delivered when devotees are in the midst of observing Lent,” he said.
Lent is a 40-day period before Easter during which Christians are encouraged to intensify their prayer, fast and perform acts of charity.
Sta Maria thanked Khamis for his perseverance in pursuing the conservation effort, adding that a special prayer would be held at the site on April 5 in conjunction with Easter.
Rosary Chapel was first built on the site by the Portuguese circa 1549. However, it was destroyed or allowed to fall into decay during the first decade of the Dutch occupation of Malacca, which began in 1641.
In 2006, the then Culture, Arts and Heritage Ministry set aside a budget for the local authorities to undertake restoration works, deeming it a heritage complete with official signage.
However, the site was used to dump garbage and house heavy machinery used in a monorail project. This further damaged a large section of the site.
Patience rewarded: Sta Maria showing a page from a history book on St Peter’s Church in Malacca.

Friday, March 13, 2015


Published: Friday March 13, 2015 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Updated: Friday March 13, 2015 MYT 8:05:04 AM

In honour of Malacca’s illustrious son

Persona gratissima: Seet Kee Ann (seated second from left) was a member of the Malacca Municipal Commission from 1895.
Persona gratissima: Seet Kee Ann (seated second from left) was a member of the Malacca Municipal Commission from 1895.
FOR six decades from 1930, Jalan Kee Ann was the liveliest place in Malacca.
The central wet market at the junction of the street near the main bus station and taxi terminal made it a busy area throughout the day.
It was bustling even after sun down, thanks to a popular theatre situated along the road and a thriving night market that stretched all the way to nearby Kampung Jawa.
The central market has since moved twice, first to Jalan Kilang in 1991 and then to its current location in Jalan Sentral in Peringgit in 2004.
Jalan Kee Ann, however, hasn’t quite lost its lustre yet.
But Vedro Melaka, a massive seven-storey commercial development project being built in its midst, might finally eclipse the road’s old-world attractions.
Not many people are aware that the street is named after one of Malacca’s most illustrious sons and a grand old man of his era.
Seet Kee Ann, whose surname was also spelled as Sit or See, was regarded as a “persona gratissima” (a highly favoured person) by the British colonial administrators.
As a Kapitan China of Malacca and oldest Justice of Peace in the Straits Settlement, Kee Ann devoted many years of his life to community service.
Among the many posts which he held were head of Hokkien Huay Kuan (Hokkien Association), trustee of the Cheng Hoon Teng temple — the oldest Chinese temple in the country — as well as member of the Chinese Advisory Board and council member of licensing justices.
The road was named in his honour because the philanthropist donated much of the land surrounding it to the Malacca Municipal Commission, of which he served as a councillor since 1895.
Kee Ann was born in Malacca in 1862. His father, Seet Moh Guan, was a merchant and community leader while his grandfather Seet Hood Kee was a significant Chinese leader during Dutch colonial rule.
At the age of 30, Kee Ann ventured into planting tapioca, pepper and gambier (gambirin Malay). Gambier, also known as catechu, is a common ingredient used by chewers of betel leaves.
Bustling spot: This 1960s photo shows just how busy Jalan Kee Ann was during its heyday.
Bustling spot: This 1960s photo shows just how busy Jalan Kee Ann was during its heyday.
In the early 1800s, the use of gambier was extended to the dyeing and tanning industries in Britain, causing prices to rise and more plantations to sprout in the peninsula.
By 1897, Kee Ann had become even wealthier as a partner and manager of an opium farm. The growing of poppies and production of opium was then a legal business licensed by the British.
He lived with his wife, two sons, five daughters and many grandchildren at 77, Heeren Street, now known as Jalan Tun Tan Cheng Lock.
Bustling road: Jalan Kee Ann is a busy street with many old shops.
Bustling road: Jalan Kee Ann is a busy street with many old shops. My father's house is located at No. 12, Jalan Kee Ann, 75100 Melaka.( Fourth shophouse from front ). My grandfather opened a sundry shop here with the name Chop Kwong Hing. It was opened in 1932 and closed for business in 1969.
His residence was three elongated houses merged into one and had an outstanding frontage.
When he died of septicaemia on Jan 17, 1924 there was a sense of profound loss in town.
British colonial officers were among the thousands who took part in the funeral procession to Bukit Baru, where his remains were buried.
His second son Seet Wee Yan and his family occupied No 77, Heeren Street until 1960 when it was sold to rubber plantation tycoon Lau Kiong Mo.
Well-known eatery: The popular Rojak Ali Lido of Jalan Kee Ann, has moved across the road and is now located next to the iconic Lam Sing Coffee building.
Well-known eatery: The popular Rojak Ali Lido of Jalan Kee Ann, has moved across the road and is now located next to the iconic Lam Sing Coffee building.
At one stage, there were 42 families living as tenants of the house. Two decades later, Gwee Wei Kiat, a businessman and collector of antique Chinese ceramics, bought over the place and lived there.
For unknown reasons, the house was abandoned during the 1990s. It was a derelict building and a far cry from its former glory when it was taken over by Chen Joon Pin, who turned it into the Jonker Bird House, an exhibition centre for the swiftlet farming industry.
The building was reportedly restored at a cost of about RM5mil and touted as an example of how the industry could help in conserving old buildings in 2011.
But many conservationists did not think so. Malaysian Heritage Trust president Tun Ahmad Sarji Abdul Hamid for example, wondered how, by any stretch of imagination, anyone could say that it was a good fit for a building, which was once the ancestral home of a prominent community leader.
Destroyed by fire: The ruins of the once renowned Lido theatre which started out as the El Dorado, where Bangsawan and English plays were staged.
Destroyed by fire: The ruins of the once renowned Lido theatre which started out as the El Dorado, where Bangsawan and English plays were staged.
The famous bird house which used to draw tourists has since been closed.
During the 1920s, one of the main attractions of Kee Ann road was the El Dorado Theatre, which eventually turned into the Lido Cinema and later converted into two supermarkets before being destroyed by a fire three years ago.
The El Dorado was originally a Bangsawan theatre where English, Malay and Javanese plays were staged, in addition to silent movies of that period.
It was where Malaccans watched recorded English football matches, including the FA Cup Final between Bolton Wanderers and West Ham United played at Wembley Stadium in 1923.
An added bonus to the show was the wedding of Prince Albert, Duke of York (who later became King George VI), and Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon (later Queen Elizabeth or the Queen Mother), which took place on April 26, 1923.
Shaw Brothers bought over the Lido Cinema in the 1940s and it was a favourite place for diehard moviegoers with the lowest ticket prices at 65sen.
I liked the Lido because in addition to the stalls selling an assortment of snacks outside, it also housed the famous P. Mangudi’s shop where one could buy comics such asBeano and Dandy.
During the 1990s when cinemas were regarded as passé, the Lido was converted into the Lai Lai emporium and later turned into the Khelass supermarket.
A fire razed it to the ground in 2012, leaving it in ruins. A row of fruit and food stalls outside were also destroyed but have been reopened.
The popular mamak joint, Restoran Ilmali, better known as Rojak Ali Lido, has now moved to better premises across the road, next to the 65-year-old Lam Sing Coffee Manufacturers shop.
Lam Sing Coffee known locally as “Chap Murid” or “Pupil Brand” coffee was created by Kang Chan Yoke, who came to Malacca from Xiamen, China in 1936. At the junction, there are several popular stalls selling an assortment of hawker food. The “kolo mee” stall at the corner is a favourite of my better half.
The famous “Bedah Kampung Jawa” goreng pisang (banana fritters) stall is popular with both locals and tourists.
At the other end of the road where Jalan Kee Ann branches out from Jalan Bunga Raya, there are still hawker stalls and shops dating back more than five decades.
Among them is the Heng Kee stall selling herbal concoctions, including medicinal tea, juice of wild sugarcane (Saccharum spontaneum) or tebu lanjung and extract ofpegaga, also known as jin chian cao in Chinese and vellarai in Tamil.
The stall, set up by a pioneer in the business, Low Chew Geng, 50 years ago, is now run by his daughter Low Siew Hoon, 57.
About 10m across the street is another equally popular stall selling lo han ko (Siraitia grosvenorii) and other herbal drinks.
Jalan Kee Ann is also famous for old shops selling items related to sewing and handicraft. A few of the original older tailor shops are still around, including the Kedai Jahit Miya started by Mok Leng Chek, 75 years ago.
Today, her daughter-in-law Chang Yoke Lai, 42, runs the shop and creates popular traditional dresses including the kebaya and baju kurung.