MELAKA, The Melaka government will channel a one-off allocation of RM100,000 for restoring and preserving Villa Sentosa in Kampung Morten here. Melaka Chief Minister Datuk Seri Ab Rauf Yusoh stated that the allocation would be handed over to the inheritor and manager of Villa Sentosa, Ibrahim Hashim, 85, in conjunction with the celebration of the 100th anniversary of Villa Sentosa held today. "Villa Sentosa is the only traditional Malay house in Melaka left by the late Hashim Abd Ghani which was built in the 1920s and received recognition as 'The Malay Living Museum', thus becoming a must-stop destination for tourists to the state. "The various historical materials on display at Villa Sentosa include traditional Malay clothing, traditional musical instruments and antique furniture," he told reporters after the celebration ceremony. The ceremony was officiated by the Yang Dipertua Negeri of Melaka, Tun Mohd Ali Rustam. State Tourism, Heritage, Art and Culture Committee chairman Datuk Abdul Razak Abdul Rahm an was also present. Commenting further, Ab Rauf said it was important to preserve Villa Sentosa to ensure that its heritage, art and history could be passed on to future generations. He said since it was opened to the public for free, more than 200,000 domestic and foreign tourists had visited the villa, with more than 50 per cent being tourists from France interested in experiencing the culture of the Malay community in Melaka, as well as the traditional architecture of the villa. "Villa Sentosa is an icon or tourist attraction for visiting Kampung Morten, which is the only traditional Malay village in Melaka located in the city centre and along Sungai Melaka," he said. Meanwhile, Ibrahim stated that the grant received from the state government would be utilised to maintain and restore Villa Sentosa to continue receiving visitors in the future. "Villa Sentosa is 100 years old since its construction on Oct 23, 1923, and some parts of the house are deteriorating and require gradual repairs. "As the inhe ritor of this traditional house, I am very grateful to the state government for the financial assistance to preserve this heritage because we do not receive any periodic assistance for restoration and preservation works," he said. He said Villa Sentosa was open to visitors daily from 11 am to 5:30 pm, where visitors would be taken on a tour of the house and given brief explanations regarding its construction and history. About 400 heirs of Villa Sentosa's founder involving 10 generations had also gathered to celebrate today's momentous event. Source: BERNAMA News Agency