Penang Forum’s letter to Unesco is to protect George Town’s heritage listing

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Penang Forum has been targeted for writing a letter to Unesco about its concern about the threat to the heritage of George Town world heritage site caused by the proposed massive transport hub in the historical Sia Boey area.

But check this excerpt out from the Unesco website.

The States Parties to the Convention should inform the Committee as soon as possible about threats to their sites. On the other hand, private individuals, non-governmental organizations, or other groups may also draw the Committee’s attention to existing threats. So it is well within the right of NGOs to write to Unesco directly.

And this is Penang Forum’s response to the newspaper publicity:

Penang Forum’s letter to Unesco is to PROTECT George Town World Heritage Site NOT to delist it

Newspaper headlines reported that Dr Ang Ming Chee of George Town World Heritage Inc suggested that Penang is at risk of losing its Unesco World Heritage Site status because of a letter submitted by Penang Forum to Unesco over the Penang transport masterplan requesting an advisory mission and impact assessment of the proposed transport plan.

Nothing can be further from the truth. It is the proposed projects of building Light Rail Transit and monorail bordering the George Town heritage zone that may cause George Town (and therefore Malacca) to lose their status, NOT the alert to Unesco.

The purpose of Penang Forum’s letter to Unesco is to seek its help to take proactive steps to protect – not to delist – the site before it is too late.

READ MORE:  Is Gerakan serious about supporting public transport in Penang?

The Operational Guidelines (clause 172) of the World Heritage Convention clearly states that:

“The World Heritage Committee invites the State Parties to the Convention to inform the Committee, through the Secretariat, of their intention to undertake or to authorize in an area protected under the Convention major restorations or new constructions which may affect the Outstanding Universal Value of the property.” (emphasis added)

GTWHI as the state agency entrusted to protect and preserve the World Heritage Site should have contacted Unesco and brought to their attention the potential impact of the massive transport hub at Sia Boey, including the construction of LRT and monorails along the borders of the buffer zone of the George Town World Heritage site that could compromise or threaten its outstanding universal value.

Despite many months of NGOs highlighting potential risks to GTWHI, the Penang Development Corporation and the Penang state government, no action has been taken to ensure current planning poses no risks to our heritage site. NGO concerns have been dismissed and the potential impact to our historical city has been ignored.

In particular, the Penang Heritage Trust (PHT) organised a public forum on 24 April 2016 on this issue that was widely reported in the press. Dr Ang was present at that meeting but there was no follow up on this matter from her.

Since GTWHI had not contacted the Unesco, Penang Forum felt dutybound to do so. The objective of this action, far from risking Penang’s heritage status being taken away, was in fact to avoid the possibility of such an action.

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It is prudent to take proactive and preventive steps by requesting Unesco to:

  • send an advisory mission to Penang to conduct an inspection of the George Town inscribed property boundary
  • to help organise an independent impact assessment of the proposed Penang transport masterplan and how it might affect Penang’s outstanding universal value.

Surely if the above is carried out, and it is found that the proposed transport masterplan will have no negative impact, nothing is lost.

But on the other hand, if it is found that the construction of LRT and monorail lines and stations along the borders of Penang’s heritage and boundary zones would have a negative impact, then Penang Forum would have done the Penang state government a service by alerting them to the risk of losing its heritage status and to explore better alternatives.

Subsequent to the letter to Unesco, the Jabatan Warisan Negara met with Dr Lim, PHT, GTWHI and Jabatan Perancangan Bandar Negeri on 29 July 2016 to discuss the way forward.

It has been suggested that the NGOs should have waited till the archaeological work have been completed. That is pointedly unwise. Archaeological discoveries are a continuing process. If the Penang state government signs and awards the Penang transport masterplan, while archaeological discoveries are still ongoing, then issues of legality and compensation arise.

NGOs have worked tirelessly for almost 30 years, and will continue to work with all parties, national and international, to save the heritage of George Town.

Penang Forum steering committee
14 August 2016

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75 Comments on "Penang Forum’s letter to Unesco is to protect George Town’s heritage listing"

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Tan Wee Theng
Tan Wee Theng

I believe I see a a pack of wolves,
Am I seeing the beginning of the end too
Once I thought a ray of light I saw
Now I am just feeling sad and sore

Calvin Sankaran
Calvin Sankaran

Anil I am wondering how the PF’s letter to UNESCO has been leaked to the state government…is this an inside job by some in PF?

umno dedak tastes good
umno dedak tastes good
if Sia Boey transport hub is wrong in the first place, how about komtar ? prangin mall ? first avenue ? arent these modern ‘monstrosities’ right beside UNESCO site wrong too ? why no noise when komtar was built in the 70s ? what are you going to do about these buildings now ? demolish them ? if a tram is considered more practical, why KL, Singapore, Bangkok and Tokyo hadn’t adopted it ? would anyone want a slow moving coach with limited capacity, having to share the road with millions of cars and kapcais ? PF keeps on barking… Read more »
tunglang
tunglang
You must be makan-ing too much dedak not to know the sequence of earlier state development in Komtar-Sia Boey area. Decades before the pursuit of UNESCO heritage status for George Town, Komtar Tower & the 3 phases were already in planning & then in execution by the then Gerakan gomen. Pranging Mall (by developer Goh Choon Lye) + First Avenue were part of the 3 phases. Then came the mission in the 90s to apply for UNESCO Heritage Status recognition for George Town by the previous state gomen (Madam Kee included) & enlightened NGOs. The success of such recognition was… Read more »
umno dedak tastes good
umno dedak tastes good

oh, how dare you insult your political master ! you havent had enough dedak ? go beg for more ! ha-ha !
lets not forget how umno (via its Gelakan puppet) tried to develop Sia Boey as part of komtar in the past.
so what did dedak hypocritic eunuchs like you do when Komtar was built ? busy makan dedak ?
your IQ clealy shows how much you love the delicious taste of umno dedak. I need not argue/educate a dimwitted dedak addict. go have your dedak.
with compliments from your political master.

tunglang
tunglang

Ask your venerable political master cum trader @ Komtar Tower who created the dedak contorversy?
And don’t be too clever to gostan-cakap to retort others from your dedak tastes good insults+mischieves in order to enrage the BN folks again.
What a dirty & lowly tactic learnt from your political master that’s skilled at gostan-cakap.
BTW, how come you know exactly that dedak tastes good? Tasted the same dedak from Komtar Tower? What a hypocritical shame!

tunglang
tunglang

C’mon. Don’t you salivate finger-licking-good dedak from Komtar Tower?
Umno dedak tastes good according to your envy.
Possibly or I assume Komtar Tower Dedak already in your taste buds taste better – Finger Licking Good! Also Paw Licking Good?
Each day of your exhilarating + knee-jerk trolling earns you how much Komtar Tower Dedak?

Calvin Sankaran
Calvin Sankaran

We had been hearing about the Red Bean Army doing the dirty work of cyber warfare for DAP. It is clear from here that this Army is real. Their approach is always the same. When there is a negative news on DAP they will try to divert attention to some other news on their opponents. If that doesn’t work, they will attack the poster of the negative news in a coordinated fashion.

zoro
zoro

who is the zombie that does not response under self defense? you mean you only have all rights to inflict and opposing party a zombie?

David Loman
David Loman
Penang Gerakan chairman Teng Chang Yeow has warned party veterans not to play him for a fool over the General Election candidature list for the party. He alleged certain quarters in the veterans wing tried to put in place their favoured candidates in the Jelutong parliamentary constituency when he was away on leave. Teng said these quarters had tried to influence Jelutong division members to accept their proposed names. He said the veterans only accepted the proposed nominees they favoured for the three state seats of Sungai Pinang, Datuk Keramat and Batu Lanchang, under the Jelutong parliamentary seat, and rejected… Read more »
Teh
Teh

Thor vs Oh in Gerakan infighting over Sungai Pinang seat.

Perai Also Penang!
Perai Also Penang!

Jamal has now trademarked Red Army, to be rallied according to him by MCA and Gelakan to counter Yellow Ribbons!

gk ong
gk ong

MCA has made peace with Jamal during the Sg. Besar by-election where Jamal welcomed back the Chinese fishermen detained by Indonesia.

Calvin Sankaran
Calvin Sankaran
I am utterly shocked at this turn of events. This is clearly meant to bully and intimidate PF by the state government, or precisely the Tokong. This is the kind of tactics that an authoritarian regime uses to bully and browbeat dissent. It shows up PH’s double-face of being the defender of democracy and free speech when they are in the Opposition and then transform into the Big Bully when they are the ruling party. PF has been consistent in its stance since its formation in defending what I would call as the Penang’s Soul and Core Values. On the… Read more »
tunglang
tunglang

Do you know animal cats can & do bully people?
Go ask RSPCA! No need to pay a high fee tied to T&C for this secret of extreme cat behaviour.

zoro
zoro

why only bn cronies are appointed and no ngos when gelakan is in power? now ngos wants to bully pg gomen. if pf and bn draft the heritage, why pf did not write to putrajaya $$$ for tram lines but pg lang has to pay and not taxpayers in whole malaysia like kl or melaka?

gk ong
gk ong

The site and the neighbouring shop houses have been left abandoned for a long time with no greenery effort at all. Then suddenly the USM archaeologists made sudden appearance, coincidentally or a planned intervention?

Goay Weng Leng
Goay Weng Leng
The core people in Penang Forum were instrumental in drafting and preparation of Working Papers for the application to UNESCO for recognition as Heritage Enclace since the day of the BN Government. The Pakatan Government’s introduction of huge physical Transport System would eventually tear down many heritage artifacts and deface the original heritage history. The Penang Transport Master Plan was already decided before the Penang Government starts to call and wanting to engage the NGOs. Isn’t this just for show? Their letter to UNESCO is to solicit a reminder from UNESCO to the Penang Government, who are hell bent stuck… Read more »
umno dedak tastes good
umno dedak tastes good
are you from Penang ? if yes, tell me that you prefer traffic jams 24/7. what is your … proof that “Pakatan Government’s introduction of huge physical Transport System would eventually tear down many heritage artifacts and deface the original heritage history” ? Sia Boey interchange ? if thats the case, dont you think prangin mall, komtar and first avenue should be torn down too ? arent these modern monstrosities higher than 18 metres as limited by UNESCO guidelines ? if the Transport Masterplan is wrong, what is your alternative ? the biased BCF where only the UNESCO zone gets… Read more »
umno dedak tastes good
umno dedak tastes good

oh, so dont tell me BCF doesnt propose trams within the heritage area too ?
in fact the trams would go all the way to the airport, yes ?
tell us in detail how will you build the elevated trams, please. how is it in anyway feasible, doesnt damage the heritage zone, doesnt fight for space and still provide faster and higher capacity transport ?
or is it just a pipe dream created by people with no engineering foresight ?

umno dedak tastes good
umno dedak tastes good

tunglang, saya difahamkan bahawa org spt awak tak faham bahasa England sepenuhnya.
kalau awak nak terjemahan dalam BM, sila hubungi saya ya.

umno dedak tastes good
umno dedak tastes good

dear tunglang,
I shall not argue with a dedak eater who is desperate for more dedak from your political master.
is Halcrow the only ‘Bible’ for you ? or umno constitution also ?
pergilah makan dedak !
heres your dedak. with compliments from your political master.

tunglang
tunglang

Cut down on dedak & take you precious time to read the Halcrow Transport Masterplan before making any assumption that makes all of us laugh!

umno dedak tastes good
umno dedak tastes good

have you been in a cave, macai ? how about those public briefings ? let alone those meetings with the state government ?

isnt ignorance a baffling thing ?

umno dedak tastes good
umno dedak tastes good

yes. go look up at the Halcrow ESTIMATES. and Oxford too, to find out the meaning of the term ‘estimate’.
is Halcrow the only source you can trust ? have you done your homework ?

zoro
zoro

if pf is serious about heritage perservation then they should spend their time helping to make old buildings look good. many old buidings have been abandoned by owners and let it to rot. visitors will soon write to unesco pg is a slum heritage or renovate and white washed with lime paint

David Loman
David Loman

I doubt the owners of these old shop houses want rent control act. Instead of leaving them in dilapidated and unsafe conditions (not to mention being an eyesore), it should be refurbished with cash injection by new owners to generate new economic activities that will benefit the people and the state.

http://www.thestar.com.my/metro/community/2015/02/09/restoring-vintage-charm-renovation-plan-to-breathe-new-life-into-six-shophouses/

Sora Zhen
Sora Zhen

many old shophouses in the heritage area are infested by termites.
so it is natural for the owners to sell them fast to the highest bidders regardless of their nationalities.

tunglang
tunglang
Q: Is the Pakatan Government serious about heritage preservation of Project Introduction?!! A: ABSOLUTE VODKA – NO! Since the advent of The Insidious CAT, the heritage status of Pulo Pinang seems to have been slowly threatened or put to slow death. One area of contention is the cultural aspect i.e. the exodus of local denizens & demise of local businesses of generation-old. The one-eye closed to massive purchases by foreigners of heritage houses (est. more than 180) by the rows has brought about super-high property prices & sky-high rentals exceeding in some case more than 300% of pre-308 affordable rentals.… Read more »
zoro
zoro

master plan was there in the beginning and as you said decided. pf also from the onset trsm tram . how come the public do not know about the dispute of the master plan on the heritage? pf has top secret like srs document?
former pm promised tram. why not write to putrajaya and warn them the consequences?
will someone also think traffic jam in and aaround write to unesco traffic jams in and around heritage zone a threat too instead of transport hub? lagi best, walkabout in Lijiang unesco city but heavily traffic road at the border.

Damien
Damien
Penang Forum should visit Lijiang at Yunnan heritage town and invite Tunglang along to witness how modern day heritage preservation co exist with commercialism while external to its UNESCO boundary right after the main gates you get to witness modern cosmopolitan China. Travel, and see the present world otherwise people can easily know whether you are hermits through your comments. I don’t like tram or LRT, as Penang island is small and priority is to get pedestrians comfortable access to bus stands from home or office. More buses than less waiting time. Less private cars on road then public buses… Read more »
tunglang
tunglang

Why not you sponsor the trip?
Also renew my passport. Can or not?

Damien
Damien

http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/opinion/2016/08/15/engage-not-sabotage-penang-by-jeopardising-heritage-status/

Engage or sabotage may become political issue as GE14 on the way, and the action by Councillor Lim Mah Hui seeking Paris may make a hero or worse a zero to the Penangites???

David Loman
David Loman
At the press conference in Air Putih on Aug 14, LGE said, “This feels like we are being back-stabbed. Why no one says anything about the Malacca monorail project which is in the heritage zone? Why Penang’s proposed project which is not even in the heritage zone received this sort of action?” “If the NGO wants to go against the state, this is not the way. If they do not want the state government or if they want to sabotage the state, this is not the way. Do not oppose this way. If you do not want the Transport Master… Read more »
poh suan
poh suan

Do not know why PF could not be collaborative.
Why must be confrontational?
Penangites are ultimate loser, sadly.

zoro
zoro

top secret but still can be taken out and sent to love capital of the world.

zoro
zoro

you mean pf is opposing the 46bn project and not the transport hub like kl sentral but give excuses is the hub in komtar?

gk ong
gk ong

Good that David provides another side of the story for readers to make their own evaluations.

Usain
Usain
Everybody has a price according to Cash Is King. Unfortunately I am beginning to suspect that Penang Forum could have compromised its original function. Possibly receive dedak to discredit the Penang government? If Penang Forum intends to protect heritage, then it should push for fewer vehicles in the George Town heritage zone, for example propose road pricing there. High car density befits heritage status? Penang Forum please explain this. Anyway I do not know why Penang Forum folks are so keen on having tram. How to have tram in the narrow roads in George Town when most people still prefer… Read more »
zoro
zoro

where is your matey? he deserted you?

zoro
zoro

komtar is sticking like sore thumb with bus station below and yet unesco say semua okay?

transport hub 60 stories high again?

zoro
zoro

How come PF never raise the effect of transport plan has an effect on the heritage until now not to pg lang but to Paris?
Instead of writing to Paris which has been severely under attack terrorists, why not write to putrajaya to donate a tramline which was promised sometime ago?
When there is CAT, there is DOG.

zoro
zoro
simple. every must have guidelines. unesco must have guidelines for any development at the buffer and border. pf , all the times has been silence and sleep. suddenly pf bark and howl over the potential risk. mind you it is potential. cant pf be specific and not mumbo jumbo. if they are mumbo cha cha, then they should advise state gomen about the infringement. instead they shot first and talk later. unesco approve heritage when sua boey is buried under grd. pf mean with sia boey resurrected unesco will. change the status?? what is the infringement? what happen when owners… Read more »
tunglang
tunglang
Penang government feels betrayed over Unesco status issue http://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2016/08/14/penang-government-feels-betrayed-over-unesco-status-issue/ Now, who is crying wolf, if not alley cat? Pls lah crawl back to 2008 since the advent of Mantra of 308 Promises & analyse what you as a state gomen has done according to your saliva-drenched original promises with regard to heritage assets & the environment. To put it in correct perspective (sans political bogeymen hunting), the Unesco status was a long & persistent effort of previous state gomen, Tourism Malaysia & NGOs to finally become a dream-come-true reality. And this status given to Penangites (only) should be taken care… Read more »
Huahee-pikachu
Huahee-pikachu

Mdm Kee PC and her disciple penang-lang now rebooted to challenge legitimacy of post 308 heritage efforts?

tunglang
tunglang

Over 3,000 job cuts likely as Seagate, Western Digital leave Penang
http://www.nst.com.my/news/2016/07/158437/over-3000-job-cuts-likely-seagate-western-digital-leave-penang
CAT, why not feel betrayed by the FDI Americans?
Didn’t they announce their expansion 2 years ago?

gk ong
gk ong

Why not ask why hard disks beginning to be replaced by Solid State Drive (SSD)? But many people are ignorant about the trend in data storage. Hopefully the Star can do its faithful readers a favour with a write-up on the emerging technology in consumer electronics and data storage.

tunglang
tunglang

Change of technology requires a change of location? You must be drinking too much Sg Pinang Black Tea! Is this called FDI Knee Jerks?
Jerk!

tunglang
tunglang

Zoro. I am very generous to offer you a free trip to Belum Rainforest to meet the bunians.
Why still no answer? Scared or bo-hoot?

zoro
zoro

tun lang very generous he gets plenty. of donors. money no problem while others are worried about jobs and next meal. investors and companies willing to lose money or get peanits in their investment

Damien
Damien

WD and Seagate no change of locations just consolidate production in one existing country deemed more cost effective and less racial political turbulence!
Those who cannot let go the past still using floppy magnetic discs because of heritage values???

zoro
zoro

new tech no logical. now Donkey mind with barks ans howls

peter pang
peter pang
I wanted to comment on this letter that has been quietly sent to UNESCO. Frankly, Lim Hui, Khoo Salma and the others are shooting themselves in the foot. I could not care less if Georgetown loses it’s status, in fact it is people like above mentioned island elites which will be most affected , in fact, without the Heritage status, lots of old shop houses can finally be demolished to make the roads wider for the trams that you people are so in favor of. Do these Island Elites actually expect UNESCO to step in and stop the PTMP? If… Read more »
David Loman
David Loman
Lihat lagi CM Lim Guan Eng dengan mengelog masuk ke Facebook Mesej Halaman ini, pelajari tentang acara akan datang dan lebih lagi. Jika and tidak mempunyai akaun Facebook, anda boleh cipta satu untuk lihat lagi Halaman ini. GTWHI urges Dr Lim Mah Hui and the Penang Forum to practice transparency and accountability by disclosing the full version of their letter to UNESCO World Heritage Centre dated 23 June 2016. ______________ Full text of letter sent by Dr Ang Ming Chee, General Manager of GTWHI (original text in English, with Mandarin translation) to Dr Lim Mah Hui (dated 15 August 2016)… Read more »
Swat
Swat

WA ! “Surreptitiously filed a complaint letter to UNESCO ?”
Wow ! “Putting the George Town UNESCO World Heritage Site at risk to fulfil your personal grievances against the State Government ?”

tunglang
tunglang

What a way to twist the whole saga of not doing their jobs @ GTWHI but crying foul like that CAT with an ARROGANT penchant for “choy nie gong koi”.
Now, that is classic me-goodie-2-shoes!
Time will tell who is LYING big time.

Pikachu-c
Pikachu-c

Do you mind to show us the content of the mentioned letter?

Master xiushantong
Master xiushantong

Yeah, show it all is the best you can do to convince.

tunglang
tunglang
Quote: “GTWHI as the state agency entrusted to protect and preserve the World Heritage Site should have contacted Unesco and brought to their attention the potential impact of the massive transport hub at Sia Boey, including the construction of LRT and monorails along the borders of the buffer zone of the George Town World Heritage site that could compromise or threaten its outstanding universal value. Despite many months of NGOs highlighting potential risks to GTWHI, the Penang Development Corporation and the Penang state government, no action has been taken to ensure current planning poses no risks to our heritage site.… Read more »
Julian Candiah

Never go to a gunfight with a pen knife. Congrats to PF for bringing in the heavy artillery. Finally. whilst not checkmate, the king of the chessboards is under check at the moment, let us see how the State responds. Excellent response btw. Congrats to Mah Hui for his testicular fortitude.

David Loman
David Loman

Penang Forum is projecting its muscle?
Gerakan and MCA in Penang must be very happy at the latest development.
Expect The Star to provide more coverage for Penang Forum.

tunglang
tunglang

You are so innocent as to who is fighting who & being the mightier, which in this case is Pg Forum according to your undying sentiments for pitiful CAT.
If you think of a pitiful political entity (on the surface) being sieged unfairly by mere NGOs, pls go drink more Kopi-O kau kau. The game of me-pitiful public perception has already begun.
I would not want to comment further than who is actually the mightier in terms of cash, support cash & the networks of blah, blah, blah. You have to do your homework of investigation & analysis.

gk ong
gk ong

Remember Sarawak Report has alleged that PAS received RM90 million to leave Pakatan Rakyat. Same thing could have taken place in any NGO. Cash can rewire behavior.

tunglang
tunglang

Can I safely say why so many trolls now active in anilnetto,com?
May I also assume you are one of them wired?
No evidence but can assume mah!

Lai Huat
Lai Huat

Evidence or not is no use.
Just look at 1MDB case.

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