MELAKA: Chief Minister Datuk Seri Idris Haron has directed the Melaka Historic City Council (MBMB) to seek an amicable solution to the proposed demolition of a statue of Jesus Christ in the Portuguese Settlement.
This includes engaging local community leaders to get them to identify a suitable site to relocate the statue at their own effort.
A suggestion was made to move the statue to the front or side of the village’s church or anywhere else deemed suitable.
This, said Idris, would be the best solution as the statue was built without the local council’s approval. It is also located at the centre of the car park which may lead to traffic congestion.
“The law is the law and it cannot be breached. The local authority, as the custodian, must implement the law. Otherwise, their integrity will be questioned.
“I have handed the case over to the local authority (MBMB) to handle at their discretion.
“I do not encourage the demolition (of the statue) which would upset the feelings of the Portuguese community,” he told reporters after chairing the state executive council meeting in Seri Negeri here, today.
However, Idris said the community should be reasonable in the matter and be cooperative in
finding ways to retain the statue. He also chided certain quarters, particularly outsiders, for trying to sow disharmony by exploiting the issue.
“We in Melaka have always lived in peace, harmony and unity and we do not want outsiders to teach us how to live.
“We will not demolish the structure but are only asking them to find a new place for it. This will save all the trouble for the Portuguese community and the state government.
“There is no need for unnecessary politics by any parties,” he said.
On Oct 30, MBMB received a complaint involving the installation of the 8-metre statue of Jesus Christ, which was erected by the Portuguese Settlement Village Development and Security Committee (JKKK) without obtaining the council’s approval.
A stop-work order was issued immediately, citing safety reasons and the visual obstruction of the village, which is a tourist landmark.
The issue sparked uproar and a series of meetings were held with the JKKK and community leaders since then.
The statue, a replica of the famous “Christ the Redeemer” statue in Brazil, was constructed by the villagers to mark the coming Christmas celebration.