Kimberley St shops to be restored soon

The six heritage shophouses located in Kimberly Street, Penang.George Cheah / The Star / 07 Dec 2016

The six heritage shophouses located in Kimberly Street, Penang.George Cheah / The Star / 07 Dec 2016

GEORGE TOWN: The restoration of six heritage shophouses in Kimberley Street here is expected to start early next year.

The existing two-storey shophouse buildings in the George Town World Heritage Site’s buffer zone are Category 2 heritage buildings.

Penang Island City Council (MBPP) and George Town World Heritage Incorporated (GTWHI), in a joint statement, said as the shophouses were heritage buildings, the restoration work must involve the work of experts in the field of repair and conservation of heritage buildings.

“The state government, together with MBPP and GTWHI, Think City Sdn Bhd, Penang Heritage Trust and Penang Apprenticeship Programmes For Artisans (Papa) are committed and cooperative in taking more proactive steps in the preservation of heritage buildings and business activities/traditional culture,” said the statement.

The statement also said the call for open tenders was carried out for the project in April.

“However, the tender call had to be withdrawn since there was no qualified tenderer to be appointed.

“The call for open tender was held for the second time in July and went through the evaluation process before being considered in November.

“Therefore, this project is expected to commence in early 2017,” they added.

MBPP and GTWHI added that the Penang state government and relevant heritage agencies have made efforts to ensure heritage buildings are conserved and activities of intangible heritage are maintained and protected.

Earlier, Penang Gerakan Youth assistant secretary Loh Kit Mun questioned the state on the progress of the plan to restore the shophouses in Kimberley Street here.

Loh said the row of six units of the shophouses is owned by the MBPP.

He also said that in August last year, GTWHI had announced that restoration work will commence early this year and was expected to be completed by the end of this year .

“Now is the last month of 2016, but what is the usage of these six pre-war houses? There’s no progress as we can see.

“What we can see apparently is that there is no progress, whether the project is on or off, we do not know.

“Are they serious in protecting the intangible heritage?” he asked at a press conference in Kimberley Street here yesterday.