KUALA LUMPUR: An archaeologist yesterday defended the existence of Hang Tuah, pointing out that although no specific studies had been done on the matter, he was convinced that the legendary warrior was not a mythical figure.
Malaysian Archaeologists Association president Prof Emeritus Datuk Dr Nik Hassan Shuhaimi Nik Abdul Rahman said studies concerning the warrior and his four peers could still proceed despite the views that Hang Tuah might be a mythical figure.
“I believe he existed but we can’t be sure of the era; if we look at the Hang Tuah tales, he existed during the era of a sultanate. The name ‘Hang’ does indeed exist in the Malay world.
“However, further studies on his four peers (Hang Jebat, Hang Kasturi, Hang Lekir and Hang Lekiu) maybe needed. The name ‘Hang’ exists in Padang Lawas Sumatra, Indonesia.” He said although there had been no specific studies carried out on the matter, indirect ones indicated that the warrior did indeed exist.
“And then there is also the Hang Tuan tomb. We can’t deny that it is not. Although there is no specific name written on it, it is from the 15th century,” he told reporters at a convention on the Malay cultural roots here yesterday.
Historian Prof Emeritus Tan Sri Khoo Kay Kim had previously said that Hang Tuah might be mythical and that there were no strong evidence to prove the warrior’s existence.
Dr Nik Hassan said DNA tests on the remains in the tomb might prove to be difficult due to religious sensitivities.
“This is a Muslim tomb. We don’t want to disturb this tomb because there may be sensitivities involved in terms of religion. We can perform tests on pre-historic findings,” he said. — Bernama