Heritage unit rows back on fears of Unesco delisting


GEORGE TOWN: The state government’s heritage agency, George Town World Heritage Incorporated has rowed back on fears that George Town could lose its Unesco Heritage Site status because of a complaint letter sent to Unesco headquarters.

“It is not easy to be awarded with the Unesco Heritage Site status and it is not easy to get delisted,” its general manager, Dr Ang Ming Chee clarified when contacted by Bernama.

On Friday, she was reported to have said the letter, submitted by Penang Forum, might result in the loss of Penang’s heritage status.

The letter expressed the fears of civil society that the projects in the state government’s Penang Transport Master Plan would cause serious and specific danger to the heritage site.

The Penang forum, a coalition of civil society organisations based in Penang, said the highway and mass transit projects proposed were a threat to the outstanding universal value of the George Town world heritage site.

Ang yesterday expressed her disappointment on the action taken by Penang Forum, complaining that a copy of the letter had not been extended to GTWHI as the site manager and National Heritage Department as the federal authority in charge of heritage sites.

She told Bernama: “This action has put my office in a very difficult position and I hope that such incidents would not recur as I want to work together with everyone, despite our differences for the sake of preserving the site.

“I am currently writing a report to our National Heritage Department explaining the situation and they will have to report back to Unesco headquarters,” she said.