THE RM1mil grant offered by the Penang government for its ‘George Town in the New Normal’ project has been met with lukewarm response, with only 406 applications received after the first two phases.
George Town World Heritage Incorporated (GTWHI) general manager Dr Ang Ming Chee hopes to see more applicants when Phase 3 begins in March next year.
She said they received 299 applications during Phase 1 from July 8 to Aug 31,2020, while Phase 2 saw 107 applications from Oct 15 to Nov 30.
“We urge the public to encourage more people to apply for the New Normal Project.
“Aid is only a phone call away and we have officers who speak vernacular languages to assist applicants with the registration, ” she said when met at the GTWHI office in Lebuh Acheh, Penang.
It was earlier reported that Penang, through GTWHI, had allocated RM1mil for the project meant to regenerate the heritage enclave under the new normal.
Project components will benefit the businesses within the George Town Unesco World Heritage Site.
Ang said there were three components and applicants could apply for all three if they are qualified.
The three components are supporting local businesses, heritage repair and heritage video.
For the ‘heritage repair’ component, Ang said a one-off financial reimbursement to a maximum of RM1,500 would be provided to qualified owners or tenants of heritage premises for minor repairs and maintenance.
She said the sites must be Category I and Category II premises as gazetted in the George Town Special Area Plan.
“To qualify for the RM1,500 heritage fund, the repairs must first be approved by the Penang Island City Council.
“This includes upgrading of electricity wiring, repainting of interior and exterior walls, vegetation removal from the facade, termite treatment or other works that are in accordance with the rules and regulations of the plan.
“We will help them with the paperwork to get approval.
“All applicants must register for this project before work starts.”
As for the ‘heritage video’ component, Ang said cultural heritage practitioners based in Penang who depend on their skills, knowledge or services as their main source of income may apply for this project.
“Priority is given to those who have yet to develop their digital marketing strategy. Each applicant must propose a five to 20-minute video to share their skills or craft process.
“GTWHI will assist shortlisted applicants on video-taking technical skills and digital sharing platforms.
“The video and business information submitted will be promoted on GTWHI’s website and social media channels.
“Successful applicants will receive an incentive of RM1,500.
“We hope to empower cultural heritage practitioners to expand their market in the digital world, ” she said.
Ang said the third component of the project was showcasing the business on the GTWHI website.
“This will act like a form of business accreditation and something they can use to promote their business, ” she said.
Ang said the project was vital as they needed to support cultural heritage practitioners.
“We urge more to join us in supporting our cultural heritage businesses and practitioners during this difficult time.
“Visit them and offer them business, even if it is not much.
For performers, give them an opportunity to showcase their talent.
“Many of them over this year have had to resort to trying other ventures to make ends meet.
“They are passionate about their arts and we must encourage people to do what they love, ” she said.
For further information, call the GTWHI hotline at 04-261 6606 from 10am to 4pm on weekdays for registration.
GTWHI staff members who can speak vernacular languages will help applicants in completing the application form.
For details, visit www.gtwhi.com.my or email email@example.com
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