“The Government will provide an allocation of RM50 million for conservation works of heritage sites in Malacca and Penang, to support activities undertaken by non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and [the] private sector.”
Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi during his 2009 budget speech in Parliament. The former prime minister, who was also finance minister, referred to Malacca and Georgetown’s joint listing as Unesco World Heritage Sites in July 2008 as a reflection of “global recognition of our rich and diversified cultural heritage”. (Source: Full Text of PM’s Budget Speech, The Malaysian Bar, 29 Aug 2008)
“Malacca, which was inscribed as a Unesco World Heritage Site together with Georgetown last year, has already received the RM25 million allocation (from the Information, Communications and Culture Ministry) but Penang did not receive anything.”
Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng urging the federal government to release Penang’s portion of the RM50 million allocated under the federal budget. Lim said that the money was needed to implement conservation programmes.
Penang also needs to submit a special area plan to the World Heritage Committee by 1 Feb 2011. This will likely be followed by a Unesco inspection of the two sites to review their status. (Source: Release promised funds, Lim urges federal govt, theSun, 3 Sept 2009)
Earlier this year, Georgetown and Malacca risked being downgraded from its joint heritage status due to the approval of four high-rise buildings in Georgetown’s heritage area.
“There has been a misconception; there is no allocation in that matter…It was within the purview of the Heritage Department to spend some money for repairs [in Malacca] and certain basic administrative costs…it will be on the same basis [for Penang] but now our financial situation is not good, so we cannot allocate this year.”
Information, Communications and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim denying that any money was ever allocated to Georgetown for conservation. Rais claimed that the ministry had done conservation work in Malacca but had not granted the state any cash. (Source: RM25 million grant for Penang “does not exist”, theSun, 10 Sept 2009)
“Penang is not getting the treatment it deserves.”
Lim, lamenting that the federal government has undertaken only nine conservation projects in Penang as compared to 49 in Malacca. (Source: George Town’s new heritage predicament, theSun, 10 Sept 2009)
“If there is no RM50 million as promised, it shows the federal government does not care about the heritage status and does not value Unesco’s recognition.”
Lim’s office, upon hearing that Rais had denied that any money was allocated to Georgetown and Malacca. (Source: RM25 million grant for Penang “does not exist“, theSun, 10 Sept 2009)
“Since the money has already been given to Khazanah, I hope the Federal Government will consider giving the state government RM25mil for our conservation projects.”
Penang local government, traffic management and environment committee chairperson Chow Kon Yeow. Finance Minister II Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Nor Yakcop had told Chow and Lim on 17 Sept 2009 that the RM25 million had been given to Khazanah Nasional, despite Rais’s earlier claims. Chow said that ideally, the money should have been channelled to the Penang government as custodians of the state. (Source: Money for Unesco site with Khazanah, The Star, 20 Sept 2009)
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