Malacca to reclaim colonial land

Heritage structures in Jonker Street, or Jalan Hang Jebat, which is possibly the most famous road in Malacca, could be taken back under the state government’s new plan.

MALACCA - Malacca will reclaim land issued to individuals by the Portu­guese, Dutch, British and Japanese administrators.

The Chief Minister's office will soon move to revoke these land titles, some on which heritage buildings are sitting on, and to change them to Malay Customary Land (MCL), as allowed under the Malacca Lands Customary Rights Ordinance of the Straits Settlements that was drawn up during the British administration (from 1826 until 1957).

The exercise could see dozens of heritage structures in the iconic Jonker Street and tracts of land in Tengkera and Klebang taken back as the state is arguing that the actual owners could not be traced, or that the existing owners or tenants could not provide sufficient proof these properties were owned by their ancestors.

The Portuguese had bestowed land titles on individuals who were considered loyalists, mostly in the Banda Hilir area.

When the Dutch ruled Malacca from 1641 to 1825, Jonker Street was the main trading hub, and it was said that hundreds more land titles were issued during that period.