Dataran Pahlawan Mega Mall in Malacca is popular among foreign and local tourists. It is a one-stop shopping venue for the latest fashion, delicious foods, and fun events. On sale are trendy clothes, branded shoes, expensive pieces of jewelry, interesting art works, souvenirs, household items, and so on. For the hungry, there are several restaurants selling Eastern and Western cuisine, cozy cafes, a wide food court area, and fast-food chains, including a 24-hour McDonald’s with drive-through. A popular shop is Carrefour for grocery shopping at the right side of the mall.
The mall is not very wide, but is very long, like a snake. The aisles are long and with many nooks and corners. Escalators are long and located at the opposite ends of the mall, which is why getting to them requires a lengthy walk.
The most popular area on the ground floor is the Heritage Gallery, which sells all sorts of souvenirs such as handicrafts, traditional clothing, key chains, and local foods such as dedol and keropok. In contrast, nothing much can be seen on the top floor, just a few mobile phone stalls.
Besides the shops, convenience shopping, and availability of all necessary items and commodities, the Dataran Pahlawan stands on a historic site and is among culturally significant venues. Through the mall’s back entrances one could easily walk to the A Famosa, Saint Paul’s Hill or Dutch Square.
A Famosa, which is Malay for “The Famous”, is an old Portuguese fortress, a symbol of ancient European architecture; on Saint Paul’s Hill is Saint Paul’s Church, an ancient Catholic church in Malacca; while the red building Dutch Square or Stadthuys, was once the center of the Dutch ruling administration constructed between 1641 and 1660.
The area itself on which the mall was constructed has historical significance. It was here on Bandar Hilir where Tunku Abdul Rahman, first Prime Minister of Malaysia, announced in 1956 that the British Government had granted independence to Malaysia beginning on August 31, 1957. As the prime minister arrived at the airport, the people followed him and chanted “Merdeka”, which means “independence”, all the way to where Dataran Pahlawan Mega Mall now stands.
It is because of places like these – Banda Hilir, A Famosa, St. Paul’s Hill, Dutch Square, and many more – that Malacca qualified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Malacca is a 1,650-square-km city that is known as the oldest Malay Sultanate. It is located on the western part of Malaysia, which is near Indonesia, Kuala Lumpur, and Singapore. There is even a train that goes all the way to Thailand.
The historic city of Malacca or Melaka is home to different cultures, religions, and races. The total population is 759,000 (2007), with 57% Malays, 32% Chinese and the rest are Indians, Kristangs (of Portuguese ancestry), and Dutch Eurasian
Dataran Pahlawan Mega Mall boasts of maintaining a fusion of the traditional and the modern. Although this is not the grandest or most attractive shopping center in the city, its historic significance adds to the over-all appeal of Malacca as an ancient city.