Origin of the Name "Melaka"
As far as could be ascertained there are no less than three versions as where the State of Malacca derived its name. The least probable of the three was from Gaspar Correa made in the 16th century.
contended that Malacca (Melaka) was derived from Mulagas
which was a kind of salted fish exported from the state.
A version mildly accepted was that the name came from Mulagah which is Arab for a meeting. The acceptance of this version was attributed to Malacca being a meeting place in the 15th and 16th centuries for merchants from countries near and far..
however, scholars who contended that the Malays then
would not have accepted an Arabic term because the Arab
merchants at the time were not a prominent community.
More scholars and historians were agreed that Malacca (Melaka) derived its name from a tree, the 'pokok Melaka'. (See pic.) Their reasoning was that the local inhabitants at the time were fond of naming places after plants or trees. The Melaka tree was then also growing in abundance along the banks of Air Lereh.
Some of the places that bear the names of trees or plants to this day are Kampung Alai, Kampung Bertam, Pengkalan Kempas, Kampung Merlimau and Kampung Kundang.
Still, this last version is not necessarily the correct one as there is no positive proof that it is
Source : "You'll Love Malacca Guide & Information" by Wee Hock Chye.