Unesco listing threatens George Town’s culture


Who is moving in and who is being forced out of George Town?

What has been the impact of the Unesco world heritage site listing on the city?

That’s the question posed in this documentary by Al Jazeera. All attention seems to be on the heritage properties and perhaps not enough on the community that lives and works in them.

Perhaps the die was cast with the lifting of the Rent Control Act during the previous administration, which allowed full-blown market forces to displace many of George Town’s long-time residents.

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Sean, thanks for your sharing…

I hope those who are truly concerned for the well-being of Penang will put forth useful insights to help build Penang so that the Pearl of Orient will shine once again, even brighter…

Din M, fully agree with you – if today Penang is under Gerakan, Komtar is now a white elephant, left to be rot and Dr Koh or Dr Teng and all the goons (may have been) enjoying a new brand sparkling building at the expense of the Rakyat …

Truly, thanks to Lim Guan Eng !!!

PR is the choice !!!


See how much effort Lim Guan Eng put in to revive Komtar otherwise once the pride of Penang already collapsed la …

Orang Penang, you guys are lucky to have Lim Guan Eng to be your CM la !!!

Din M

You are right. LGE put in the effort teh revive teh KOMTAR, otherwise will remain a white elephant legacy of gerakan. If BN is still in power in Penang, likely they will √°bandon’Komtar and build a brand new ‘PinangJaya'(like Nusajaya in Johor) for state administration, and in the process waste the rakyat money for the BN flers to look good. Given time, I trust LGE and DAP will revive the rest of Penang to become an exciting living city tio attract the tourist to bring income to the people. Keep up the good job, DAP. As for Gerakan, we do… Read more »


Sean, is Penang really that bad, I feel like crying after reading your comments… Yes, the beauty of Gurney Drive is gone with the reclamation of land by E&O… Tg Bungah is sprouting with high-rise everywhere without scrutiny… What had happened to Penang in the past 18 years? Apa orang Penang buat for the past 18 years? The answer is orang Penang sleepwalked for the past 18 years and suddenly woke up to find that Penang island was sinking… So, the easy way out is, blame and condemn Lim Guan Eng la for not putting things right in 2 years… Read more »


It wasn’t awful! There are bits and pieces that are quite good, but it didn’t give us the impression of a proper tourist destination – more somewhere that had moved on from being popular with tourists and had its sights focussed elsewhere now. Perhaps we were just not Penang Tourism’s target market. We were impressed by Rapid Penang – with two small kids, the reliable, clean, cool, inexpensive buses with their cheerful, helpful drivers were marvellous. The ‘frequency’ schedule was great for us on holiday, but I guess it might not be ideal if you’re commuting to work. I think… Read more »

Sunanda Lim

Georgetown now become “Ghost town”.

Georgetown Boy

You must have visited the wrong place.
Don’t anyhow say things.


I went to Penang just over a week ago for a family holiday for the first time, and I thought it seemed like an ex-tourist-destination. Penang really needs to make up its mind whether to cultivate a tourist trade (that is, something that will tempt repeat visits, rather than just some glossy marketing that will tempt people to visit no more than once) or whether to move ahead with development and attempt to preserve a few old buildings as a nod to its history. You can’t preserve humans for tourism, that always looks ugly. If there’s an influx of money… Read more »


Penang should follow Macau.They have old heritage shops and these shops are making traditional tibits and selling them as seen on the wsy to St Paul Catherdal. Many HKies and overseas visitors make a point to eat and buy such tibits and Macau has make a name on this. This industry create life in the old city.


Why should Penang follows Macau?

Why can’t Penang forges its own way?

Penang is Penang. Macau is Macau. With different history, different cultural mix, everything different and yet, we have a machai telling Penang this, telling Penang that.

Let Penangites decide the future of Penang.

Not UN. Not machais.


Penang have whinging machai like you supporting UMNO /Gerakan’s “My way” on removal rent control is causing Penang is falling down, falling down. What cultural when the town is empty of people.

Charlie Oscar


What is the Penang’s own way that you mean?

Can you enlighten us. Please be specific and cite some examples. Otherwise the concept will be as blur as 1Malaysia concept.

Do you think the monorail in Malacca has dehumanize the heritage status?


Please refer back to when Penang was under the Labor Party. Many of the existing “Penang Characteristics” were established back when the Labor Party was in charge, including the emphasis on the Penang food as one of the main ingredient of the “Living Heritage” of Penang. Under Lim Chong Eu the same strategy applies. However, under Koh Tsu Koon, UMNO has successfully destroyed much of this “living heritage” by segragating the “Halal Section” from the “Non-Halal Section”. One fine example is on the Esplanade. Tourists going into the food court would be confused since things are segregated by “race”. The… Read more »

Philip Tan

To those human heritage junkies,
You are very unfair to insist that the same trade to be continued at the heritage zone.
How do you expect subsequent generation of the old traders to continue with his/her father trade for the amusement of the tourists? It may not be economically viable for these people.
is out Tourism Minister Ng Yen Yen going to give them grant to continue with old trade?
Be wise. Everybody needs money to feed the family and to keep up with time.


When I was small, I use to tok tok mee around. Surely you don`t expect me or the youngster nowadays to do that now. Heritage conservation has its limitation.


What does it mean to preserve the human heritage ? Surely, preserving a human heritage does not mean preserving an area in such a way that only the original trade can be conducted ? I’m not sure. If someone is making sandals in a shophouse for the last 100 years, should we insist that only such trade can be carried out .. perpetually ? Or do we let market forces work … which could mean that someone with several millions of Ringgit to spare buys over the shoplot and turn it into, say, a boutique hotel, in the process providing… Read more »

Gerakan K

Let LGE argue with Unesco official. Argue and argument is LGE best skills.


No doubt he is one of the good ones but you are the best and I am only better as in this site.

Why can’t the Fed Government Yen2 do better things than throwing money on building the Joan of Arch?