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Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Penang appeals for funds to conserve buildings

PENANG: The state government is appealing to parties interested to carry out heritage conservation to come forward to help restore more than 510 buildings following Penang’s listing as a World Heritage site by Unesco.

Out of this number, 141 buildings are in the core zone of George Town’s heritage enclave, 82 within the buffer zone and another 287 buildings outside the buffer zone and core area.

The core areas encompass the historical sites of George Town, including the Lebuh Acheh historical enclave and sites such as the Lebuh Acheh Malay Mosque, Jalan Mesjid Kapitan Kling Mosque, the Goddess of Mercy Temple, Sri Mariamman Temple, Khoo Kongsi, St George’s Church, Assumption Church, St Xavier’s Institution, Convent Light Street, Little India, the museum and court building, the commercial area of Beach Street, Fort Cornwallis, Esplanade, City Hall, the Clan Jetties and the port areas.

“While we have appealed to the federal government for a RM200 million soft loan to help in our conservation efforts, we would also like to welcome those who are interested and have the necessary expertise to help restore these buildings, many of which are in a state of disrepair,” Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said.

“We would like to call on private organisations who are interested to revive these buildings to come talk to us so we can restore them to their former glory,” he said.

“The Penang Island Municipal Council (MPPP) has sent notices to the building owners to restore their premises and those that are owned by certain agencies have been restored,” said Lim.

“However, most of the owners can ill afford to carry out restoration works as it is an expensive undertaking, while some of the owners could not be traced,” Lim said.

MPPP president Datuk Zainal Rahim Seman said the council was also looking at various incentives to encourage owners to carry out restoration works.

Lim said that if the RM200 million soft loan was not granted by the federal government and there were no takers to help restore these buildings, the state government will have to make alternative efforts to ensure their conservation.

The list of the buildings which need restoration is available at the MPPP office.

By The EDGE Malaysia (by Regina William)

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