An open letter to GTWHI general manager Ang Ming Chee


Lim Mah Hui, in his personal capacity, has written an open letter to Ang Ming Chee, the general manager of George Town World Heritage Inc:

Dear Dr Ang,

Thank you for your letter of 15 August 2016 to me regarding the George Town Unesco world heritage site status, parts of which were published in the press. I write in my personal capacity and wish to share my reply with the public for the sake of transparency.

1. Kindly allow me to correct your first sentence stating that I wrote a complaint letter to Unesco. This is a misrepresentation. The title of my letter clearly states it is a request, not a complaint, for Unesco to send an advisory mission and to assist in heritage impact assessment.

2. As general manager of GTWHI, you should know that Unesco encourages individuals and NGOs to directly bring to their attention potential threats to designated heritage sites especially when authorities fail to do that. So the question should be why GTWHI did not keep Unesco informed of the Penang state’s plan to situate an LRT line and station in Sia Boey.

3. In a later and different statement you said, this was pure speculation. Again as the GM of GTWHI, did you not know that SRS and the state had applied to SPAD for approval of its plan? Do you regard this action as speculation?

4. You and the chief minister of Penang urged me to disclose my letter to the public in the name of transparency. Penang Forum has gladly posted the letter on its website.

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5. I challenge the Penang State government to do the same. Penang Forum has for many months asked the state government to make publicly available SRS’s proposed Penang transport masterplan in full. This can be easily done online. Despite the initial promise by YB Chow Kon Yeow to do that, he still has not delivered on his promise. The lame reason given is the state government has not signed the agreement with SRS. Precisely because of this, the public needs to study the report so it can give feedback BEFORE the contract is signed; not after it is signed. Once again, we call on the state government to fulfil its promise and walk its talk, or forever hold its tongue.

6. You claimed that Penang Forum has not highlighted the potential risks posed to the George Town world heritage site because it has not formally approached you. Let it be said that there are many ways you can be informed of the risks without a formal approach or meeting. Penang Forum has repeatedly highlighted such risks in public forums and in dialogues with state officials, as well as in the Penang Transport Council.

7. You asked for concrete evidence that you yourself have provided. In your letter you stated that you attended a public forum on 24 April 2016 organised by Penang Heritage Trust, a member of Penang Forum’s coalition, that specifically highlighted the above risks. In fact, at the forum, you were asked by a reporter for comments to which you said it was not an issue because the proposed transport hub lies outside George Town world heritage site.

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8. As the general manager of the GTWHI, are you not aware of the World Heritage Committee operational guideline that stipulates the need to adopt an integrated approach  to manage, protect, conserve not only the heritage site (the nominated property) but also any buffer zone(s), as well as the broader setting? With this new guideline, Sia Boey, being adjacent to the buffer zone and part of the broader setting, could be negatively impacted by the proposed elevated mega infrastructure of LRT.

9. Did you highlight this potential risk to the state government? If not, is that a dereliction of duty?

10. You claimed in your letter to have provided assistance to the heritage impact assessment consultants and participated in the focus group discussion for key stakeholders. In that focus group discussion, Penang Heritage Trust raised many questions and concerns and stated it was highly dissatisfied with the presentation and discussions. (Another concrete evidence of your being informed). As an independent body tasked to protect George Town’s heritage status, why did you not advise the state government to request Unesco’s or Jabatan Warisan Negara’s assistance in finding a truly independent heritage assessment consultant who is not answerable to SRS? Wouldn’t that be the right thing to do?

11. Penang Forum has publicly shared with state authorities the above potential risks. However, all these have fallen on deaf ears and hence it felt duty-bound to bring it to the attention of Unesco with the view that proactive and preventive actions can be taken before things get worse. Thus you cannot accuse Penang Forum of back-stabbing.

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12. I hope I have answered your questions and have given the evidence of how you were made aware of the risks and yet did not take action to alert the state, JWN or Unesco. I leave it to you and the public to decide whether you have discharged your duties and should stay on as the general manager of GTWHI.

Sincerely yours,

Dr Lim Mah Hui
23 August 2016

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  1. dr lim says srs transport hub plans are top secret. so unesco are looking at pseudo or imaginary makeup plans submitted to make a decision! show us the plans and drawings too apart from the letter

  2. wait for unesco outcome. good for dr lim and pg forum if unesco objects.. but what if unesco says no problem transport, semua ok)

  3. If you care to spend time walking in the vicinity of this Sia Boey area, you will understand it was a active commercial area long long time ago.

    The plan to build a transport hub is to bring back the crowd to stir the vibrancy of the Komtar vicinity. The business climate now is very different as the non-kiamsiap money spending consumers are 18-35 age group grown up on McD-KFC-SBuck-KGary diets, and these folks can help to drive cosmopolitan lifestyle economy that will help to replenish the post-war shophouses seriously need $ to maintain then sustain beyond expiry dates.

    I just happened to talk to that famous Hokkien Mee seller nearby, and get to know the residents or owners actually welcome modern day development to bring more crowd to spend n help bringing in $ as heritage is meaningless unless you can continue to earn $ to sustain life.

    • look at puduraya. all dead and have to catch another transport and spend $$ and time . welcome to kl selatan new hub. all dead too. just go there and finish your business and come back. better drive which defeat public transport.

  4. Penang and Penangites will be forever in the debt of the likes of Dr Lim Mah Hui, Penang Forum, Salma, Anil, etc. for fighting for what’s right for us all. This is a cause that worth fighting for.

    Now that the CAT’s out of the bag, the true face of the so-called champions of democracy and reform is laid bare. For the DAP’s regime, people like Dr Lim and Anil are the enemy of the state. I can imagine that if DAP were in power federally, these brave souls will be by now locked away in Kamunting or some unknown prison.

    (Is) This Dr Ang … just a DAP supporter been promoted not due his merits but due to his party membership just like most heads of GLCs in Penang(?) She’s just an average academic in political science with zero knowledge in heritage preservation and only the Tokong can enlighten us on why she was chosen.

    It is unbelievable that she accused Dr Lim and Penang Forum’s action as treason !

    • you are the same about pap gomen. anil practise like singland censoring about pap development minister under lky found to be corrupted. he commit sucide and there are other pap members in high position to be (allegedly) corrupted and lky gomen lay charges. but what have your bn gomen done which you satay so much.
      why no praise for pg gomen having dr lim? but you get better incentives and bonsus from bn gomen. when will you get a datukship?

    • Anil and lim mah hui isnt fighting for reform or for people of penang. They are fighting to get their idea of trams chosen over LRT. These 2 ‘brave’ souls are not professionals at transportation or do they actively engage with the public. The state government has done that and studies have shown why LRT will solve congestion. Lim mah hui and anil is choosing looks over practicality. Beauty doesnt solve problems lim & anil

      • Halcrow, the transport masterplan consultants hired by the state, recommended BRT and trams.

    • So typical of these Tokong’s minions and Goebbels – their modus operandi is so predictable – attempt to divert the topic and point out to a different issue and pin down blame on others.

      • Precisely. And most of them are not in ground zero of contentious issues but hiding behind laptops spewing suppositions or memorised dictations from random news of their liking & parroting wakakakaka.
        What substance can they talk about?
        Character assassination is a shiok-sendiri past time as much as their political masters’ delights in the perennial Blame Game.
        Are they grown up debaters?

  5. Many past slippery land developments in Penang have gone past the gate of supposed public indept scrutiny.
    Until contentious problems started to surface & the inevitable Blame Game parades its holier than thou antics.
    Not to mention the follow-thro’ scare tactic of high compensations but in reality for whose careless fault (of approval???).
    This is a Class 1 / Kelas 1 government behaviour that treats everyone as STUPID to the point of illiteracy of legal implications cited out on the Komtar Stage of Getai + Sandiwara by a hordes of lawyers & state reps in waiting order.
    Playing irresponsible games with Nature is exemplified in the Moonlight Bay Wet World Wild Adventure Park which had a timely Komtar’s justified reasons for ‘chap lap’ but the scars of Nature were inflicted nevertheless. Such is one example of a wild adventure of state development gone awry wrong against the Laws of Nature, but thinking they were above the laws.
    Now, Penangites have to be wary of such slippery land developments that are 2-edged swords of CAT. Truthful revelations by concern parties are the way forward to counter such recalcitrants in the name of development for whom?
    Many thanks to Anilnetto, Penang Forum, Dr Lim Mah Hui, Khoo Salma Nasution, Pg Heritage Trust & the rest for their hard work, forthrightness & fearless face off with the recalcitrants who by nature have no soul-conscience against what is illegal, dangerous + unsafe, & unsustainable development.
    We Penangites don’t want to end up like paying GST or to be more precise, Penang CAT GST.
    More so with our precious one-lives facing another imminent Highland Towers in the making.

    • Driving 4w drive in heritage zone is even worst than landslide. A slow death from lung cancer or painful respiratory and car noise cause deafness and tanjong rambutan mental illness. … Landslide comes fast.

  6. Truths eventually come out.
    Spinning & lying eventually shame the perpetrators.
    Trolling eventually expose their master’s antics.
    Karma is great & just.

    • greatest pasar makam trader. like decapiro saying he belives in climate change but travel from NY to LA 5 times in 7 days in private jet dumping tonnes of co2. same with this pasar mlm trader driving heritage zone in his 4w drive with bull bars. beware. they shout opposing development but enjoy the coffee. meals and marketing in malls. like religion, dont get conned. their facts are half baked.

  7. if thousands write in in to unesco, unesco has to come to pg thousands times to investigate. Anil and tun lang should then complain about carbon footprints, acid rain and traffic jams, more visitors more traffic jams and more internation hotels and more development hill cutting and sea reclamation.

    • so far with all the noise pg forum does not reply to a ordinary person like you. like commie they attack below the belt

  8. Congratulations Dr Lim Mah have absolutely clarified the situation. Your efforts have not gone without gratitude and respect from me..Thank you.

    • is the transport hub just outside the border of the buffer zone? man he is overly cautious slightly kiasee. wait for unesco reply and see the result before giving praises and condemnation.


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