Melaka Governor’s Birthday is celebrated in the Malaysian Province of Melaka on August 24 every year. The Sultanate of Melaka was overthrown after the Portuguese conquest of Malaysia and today, the position is filled by a regional governor, rather than a sultan. Nonetheless, the governorship still holds a powerful position for the people of Melaka and as such, his birthday is viewed in a special light. The governor’s birthday is a public holiday in the province, and the celebration of that birthday is celebrated by all in the province, marked by celebrations and festivities as the entire province takes part in the party.
History of Melaka Governor's Birthday
The history of Malaysia is rich and the cultural heritage that the nation has is even richer. Marked by centuries of colonial conquest that have shaped the modern society of Malaysia, one province, Melaka, has an interesting tie to its centuries-old roots.
Melaka, also known as Malacca, was founded by Iskandar Shah, a Sumatran Prince. He is more commonly known as Parameswara. While visiting the site that would one day be known as Melaka, he realized the strategic importance of the area and its very accessible port. In 1402, Melaka was founded and quickly became a regional powerhouse.
A century later, in 1511, Portuguese invaders, led by Alfonso de Albuquerque, moved on the city with a force of 1,200 men and captured it in the name of Portuguese expansion and imperialism. Alfonso de Albuquerque had all ethnic groups in the city spared except for the local Muslim population who were either executed or sold into slavery.
With all support for the deposed sultan destroyed, Portugal was able to hold the island for just over a century, and in 1641, after many skirmishes, the Dutch were able to capture the strategic port of Melaka. However, in 1824 the territory was ceded to the British, incorporated into the British Empire, and was ruled under their banner until the region received independence in 1948. Over 400 years after the destruction of the Sultanate, the Melakan people hold their governor in high esteem.
Melaka Governor's Birthday timeline
On August 24, Yang di-Pertua Negeri, the seventh governor, is born.
After several state changes, the King of Malaysia appoints Leong Yew Koh as the first governor of Melaka.
The second governor of Melaka rules over the province for just over a decade.
After 16 years in office, Mohd Khalil Yaakob is relieved of his position, and Mohd Ali Rustam takes over as the governor of Melaka.
Melaka Governor's Birthday FAQs
Does the governor rule for life?
No, traditionally the governor serves a term of four years, however, there is no limit to the length of time that a governor can hold office. It is at the discretion of the king how long they remain in office.
Where is Melaka?
Melaka is situated along the Malacca Strait.
Is it Melaka or Malacca?
It’s Melaka. The Malaysian spelling differs from the English, and so there are two names for the same place — another element of its rich history.
Melaka Governor's Birthday Activities
Throw a party in the governor’s honor
You may not be Malaysian, or even from Melaka, but here is a great reason to hold a festive party packed with loads of fun. You can serve traditional Malay food and indulge in some revelry, keep it a dry party if you want to do it right.
Go out to your favorite Malaysian restaurant
If you’re not entirely ready to host people yourself, then travel to a nearby Malaysian restaurant. You can taste the flavors of the rich culture and get a feel for the cuisine.
Read about Malaysia
To truly understand how revered the governor of Melaka is, read a little about the history of the island nation. You’ll understand how a colonial legacy of violence has contributed toward a state compromise that holds to its roots but moves into the future.
5 Interesting Facts About Melaka
A Chinese trade port
Before Parameswara founded Melaka, the local port was under the control of the Chinese.
It’s named after a local tree
While resting under a Malacca tree, Parameswara decided to create a city — he named that city Melaka after the tree.
Protected under UNESCO legislation
In 2008, UNESCO recognized the value of Melaka and its diverse and rich history.
In 2008, a massive revolving tower was opened for the public to view the city and surrounding landscape.
The Melaka Gateway
By 2025, it’s set to become Southeast Asia’s largest private marina.
Why We Love Melaka Governor's Birthday
The history behind it
This auspicious day is only here as a result of colonial intervention. Understanding why we need to celebrate the governor's birthday means that we also have to understand why there is a governor in Melaka in the first place.
It promotes civic involvement
Taking a day to celebrate and honor a special office means that people are actively involved in their governance. In that way, it allows them to celebrate and be festive.
It lets people blow off steam
It's not just that it's his birthday, it's a public holiday too. All businesses close on the governor's birthday, and people look forward to it.
Melaka Governor's Birthday dates