ALOR GAJAH: The official palace of Naning's Adat Perpatih chieftain at Bukit Seri Naning here will be turned into a museum after all despite a wave of protests by adherents of the Negri Sembilan Minangkabau-based customary system.
The protesters came from four different groups of people representing the Naning chieftain. There are four individuals who have claimed to be the rightful chieftain of the system.
The palace, also known as Balai Rasmi, is currently managed by an agency under the Malacca government and used as a venue for functions for the clan of the system.
Malacca Museum Corporation (Perzim) general manager Datuk Khamis Abas said they were adhering to the Malacca government's directive to convert the palace into Naning's Adat Perpatih Museum.
"Those opposing the move should go through the right channel if they want to stop it from being converted into a museum.
"So far, we have not received any order to halt the project and contractors will start renovation works by next week," he said yesterday.
He said four groups of adherents of the system had met him and expressed their objections.
"All of them were at loggerheads and demanded Perzim to only accept their views and not to listen to the opposing parties," he said.
He said it was difficult for Perzim to take up the groups' cause as the adherents were disunited and gave opposing views.
"So, Perzim has decided not to get entangled in the internal problems and will only abide by the directive from the state government.
"I guess all of them should put their house in order first before championing for the site to be preserved as the official palace for the chieftain," he said.
The decision to convert the palace into a museum was recommended by a special committee set up by the Malacca government in December last year to oversee the activities of the awarding of unrecognised honorary titles by the chieftains.
The committee is presided by state secretary Datuk Naim Abu Bakar and assisted by state women, family development and welfare committee chairman Datuk Latipah Omar and deputy youth development and heritage committee chairman Datuk Norpipah Abdol.
The committee is responsible to conduct checks on whether any civil servants, village chairmen and officials of government-linked agencies were recipients of such titles.
An investiture ceremony held at a leading hotel here in November last year earned the wrath of the Malacca government when the organiser went ahead with the event despite the government's warning against holding unrecognised investiture ceremonies.
Naning's Adat Perpatih Foundation secretary Badarudin Selamat urged the government to listen to the views of the genuine adherents of the system.
"We have been opposing the conferment of honorary titles since day one as we are the true guardians of the ancient Adat Perpatih system introduced by our forefathers," he said.
He said the Adat Perpatih structure has the palace to signify its rich history and the government should not abruptly convert the palace into a museum without getting the adherents' feedbacks.
"If the state government is adamant in turning the palace into a museum, then it should face the anger of the locals in the next general election," he said.