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MELAKA, Nov 13 — Kampung Chitty in Gajah Berang may not be as well developed as the Portuguese Settlement and Kampung Morten but the voice and hopes of the 250 villagers are just as important to be heard by candidates contesting in the Kota Laksamana state constituency in the Melaka state election.

The Chitty of Melaka are Straits-born Indians who came from Panai Koromandel in India and they are the descendants of Indian traders who set foot here in the 15th century.   

Nonetheless, the problem of floods and the lack of conservation works carried out may obliterate this unique village from Melaka’s heritage map.

For P. Vasanthy, 52 , she did not rule the village which was founded in the 15th century disappearing as residents are moving out as they could not stand the damage to properties due to the frequent floods.

“This is most disappointing to me, it breaks my heart as this has been going on for so long. In the recent major flood, the village was badly affected but no one came to see it. My family house which is more than 100 years old was also damaged.

“The flood retention pond in the area appears to be not functioning. We cannot stop the rain but if the pond can function, I believe it would reduce the level of water in the village during heavy rain,” she told Bernama.

On the dilapidated condition of the houses in the village, she hoped the related agencies such as the National Heritage Department would carry out works to preserve the house as they are a unique ethnic heritage that could attract tourists from other places.

According to her, the village was given protection as a heritage site since 2000 similar to those given the Portuguese Settlement or Kampung Morten.

“So we want to see what was carried out in Kampung Morten or the Portuguese Settlement, taking place here. Most importantly there is only ethnic Chitty here, no other communities, ethnics or races.

‘This is important to preserve the uniqueness of the community which is the only such village in Malaysia and the world. So it is very important for Melaka election candidates to get to know the matter,” she said the houses here are heritage houses which are several hundred years old.

For senior citizen, K. Suppiah Pillay, 72, a community hall is very much needed here to continue the cultural heritage of ethnic Chitty especially the dance and food.

“All over the world, the Chitty community is known for dances and poems. Unfortunately, we do not have a place suitable to train our youth. To date, we train in the compound of our houses.

“The hall is not only for dance, as it is important for various activities we held to receive guests or tourists in large numbers,” he said. — Bernama


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