He said the legacy left by the Portuguese had greatly impacted Malacca in terms of cultural diversity and also provided an impetus for the local tourism industry.
“Malacca is the birthplace of a community with mixed European and Asian parentage, commonly known as Eurasian,” he said in an interview ahead of a four-day celebration to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the Portuguese conquest of Malacca.
|Celebrating 500 years: The Portuguese community celebrating the Feast of St Peter |
on a gaily decorated boat at the Portuguese Settlement in Ujong Pasir, Malacca.
It has been 500 years since Alfonso d’ Albuquerque arrived here from Goa.
The event, themed “Our Roots, Our Heritage, Our Home”, will be organised by the Malacca Portuguese-Eurasian Associa-tion (MPEA) from Oct 26 to Oct 29 at the Portuguese Settlement in Ujong Pasir.
There will be traditional food fairs, live music and band performances, cultural and performing arts presentations, traditional games, beauty contest, a football tournament, cottage industries promotion and a handicraft exhibition.
Mohd Ali said the existence of the Portuguese community here was significant as it brought about a new kaleidoscope, turning Malaysia into a colourful multi-cultural paradise.
He said the state would continue to safeguard the community's status as a minority group.
He added that the state would also protect their welfare besides conserving the rich heritage and customs inherited from their ancestors.
Mohd Ali said Malacca had prospered as a nautical haven since Alfonso d' Albuquerque arrived from Goa with an entourage of 18 ships on Aug 24, 1511.