Vow to safeguard all old buildings

Chow (in green) looking at a 3D model of the George Town World Heritage Site during the opening of the Town Hall building at the Esplanade. ― Photos by CHAN BOON KAI/The Star

GUIDELINES to control the development of buildings outside the Unesco heritage site will be adhered to at all times, said Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow.

He said there was a perception that old buildings, outside the Unesco heritage site, shared the same status as the ones within the site.

Chow said the Unesco office had received complaints from several non-governmental organisations (NGO) about certain heritage buildings.

“However, the buildings mentioned in the complaint letters are not located at the Unesco site or listed as Category One or Two buildings,” he said, adding that the complaints would be looked into by the George Town World Heritage Incorporated, MBPP Heritage Department and Penang Heritage Commissioner.

Chow urged developers not to start work or demolish any buildings without the authorities’ approval.

He was speaking at the opening of the newly refurbished Penang Island City Council (MBPP) Town Hall building at the Esplanade.

He commended MBPP for its heritage conservation efforts and commitment in completing the Town Hall’s refurbishment.

“It is a historic event as it symbolises the state’s and the local authority’s commitment in preserving tangible and intangible heritage on the island,” he said.

Renovation work on the RM8mil project started in June 2020 and was completed in August 2022.

The Town Hall building is the first Category One heritage building to receive the Green Building Index (GBI) status.

Also present were Deputy Education Minister Lim Hui Ying, state housing, local government, town and country planning committee chairman Jagdeep Singh Deo, MBPP mayor Datuk Yew Tung Seang and MBPP secretary Datuk A. Rajendran.

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