Gerakan: Penang not serious about protecting heritage


GEORGE TOWN: The Penang government is not serious about protecting the intangible heritage of George Town, despite promises to stop the exit of traditional trades and businesses, Gerakan said today.

State Gerakan Youth assistant secretary Loh Kit Mun said the state government’s “all talk and no action” left much to be desired.

He said the Penang government had promised to restore pre-war shophouses before, but many were still left in shambles.

“As a responsible state government, they should be held accountable to their promises.

“Are they serious in protecting Penang’s intangible heritage?” Loh asked at a press conference at Kimberley Street today, where he showed reporters a row of six pre-war shophouses slated for restoration works by the city council but left in a state of disrepair.

Penang Gerakan Youth asst secretary Loh Kit Mun (left) and Penang Gerakan Jelutong division committee member Tan Yun Keat showing stories where Penang govt had promised to restore buildings.

He said on Aug 27 last year, state heritage agency George Town World Heritage Inc (GTWHI) announced plans to restore the said buildings.

“We have come to the last month of the year. Nothing has been touched. Will it be reopened for old trades or businesses to come back in?” Loh questioned.

He said the fate of other buildings owned by the state at the corner of Acheen Street and Victoria Street remained unknown as well.

Loh said the Penang government had announced that it would develop the ruins of the buildings there for a “Centre of Traditional and Creative Trades”.

“They were supposed to open a tender in July this year, but as of now, there is still no update on the project,” he said.

A GTWHI spokesperson said the Kimberley Street project was under the Penang Island City Council’s (MBPP) Heritage Department, while the Acheen-Victoria St projects were under the Penang Development Corporation (PDC).

The city council and PDC have yet to respond to messages seeking comment on the issue.