Heritage activist keeps his cool during Q&A session


  • Nation
  • Sunday, 25 Sep 2016

Heated discussion: A participant interrupting Lay (brown T-shirt) during the Q&A session at the talk on the Special Area Plan for the George Town World Heritage Site.

GEORGE TOWN: Feelings ran high at a heritage talk at the George Town World Heritage Incorporated (GTWHI) office here.

An attendee was heard telling George Town Heritage Action co-founder Mark Lay that since he was not a Malaysian, he did not have the right to make comments on the Special Area Plan (SAP) for the George Town World Heritage Site.

Lay, however, seemed unperturbed and continued speaking during the talk titled ‘Overview of Special Area Plan for George Town World Heritage Site’ .

The man again spoke up and told Lay that since he was such an expert, he should have offered to help the local government.

To this, Lay claimed that he had volunteered to help at least 10 times but there had been no reply from the local government.

Earlier, in his summary during the Q&A session yesterday in Acheh Street, Lay pointed out that the documentation process to apply for planning permissions was “so complicated”.

He also claimed that most owners knew that there was “almost zero effective enforcement” on business owners in the heritage enclave who do not comply with the guidelines detailed in the SAP.

The speakers at the talk were Lee Tit Kun, a heritage architect of the Penang Island City Council’s Heritage Conservation Depart-ment and Muhammad Hijas Sahari, who is GTWHI Built Environment and Monitoring (BEAM) manager.

The SAP for the George Town World Heritage Site was gazetted on Sept 1.

The plan will provide guidelines on planning and development within the George Town World Heritage Site.

Earlier, Lee, in her presentation, said there were four types of plan applications — building repair permit, plan permit, heritage pre-negotiation planning permission and heritage pre-negotiation building plan.

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