GEORGE TOWN: The dispute between the Penang government and a Chinese clan group over a heritage shophouse appeared to be settled today, with Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow offering the Penang Chinese Clan Council the 50 Love Lane shophouse it had seized in 2013 at a nominal fee of RM10.
The clan was also required to pay RM23,132.56 in land tax arrears.
The shophouse in question was once owned by the Ghee Hin Society. The 1,560 sq ft unit was seized by the Penang government in 2013 after the society defaulted on the assessment.
The trustees of the building died decades ago, and the society has likewise ceased to exist. However, the clan council has taken the building under its guardianship.
At a press conference today, Chow said there were several conditions attached to the offer, including that the building not be used for any purpose other than a museum and an “early Chinese settlement interpretation centre”.
The council was also barred from mortgaging, letting, subletting or transferring the ownership of the building in any way. It must also restore the building within five years in accordance with heritage building guidelines.
Former chief minister Lim Guan Eng previously offered the clan council the building at a cost of RM1, provided that its members prove they were the beneficial owners or show proof of an heir to the property.
Lim said the Penang government wanted to give the property to the council but insisted that the land transfer go by the book.
The council did not respond to Lim’s offer.