Statement by Lim Guan Eng in Georgetown,
Penang on Wednesday, 19th November 2008:
The Federal Government must approve a RM 200 million interest-free loan
and RM 5 million grant to preserve and promote George Town which belongs
not only to Penang alone but also all Malaysians and the world
The Federal Government must approve a
Rm200Million interest-free loan and Rm5Million grant to preserve and
promote George Town which belongs not only to Penang alone but also all
Malaysians and the world. On its own the Penang state government will
allocate Rm1Million state money to provide education and measures to
preserve, protect and promote George Town as a World Heritage Site.
As custodians of this cosmopolitan city that is of outstanding universal
value, there are two important ingredients that has ensured us our world
heritage status. The first is humanity, or the human values that we
celebrate in our everyday life. Multiculturalism is the basis for
Penang’s success and George Town has been built on non-partisan
Secondly, we must work hard to make sure that Penang remains and
continues to prosper as an international city. World Heritage Status is
the first step towards making us an international destination to
outsiders. The more important element is to convince locals that we are
deserving of this international recognition.
This is one of the reasons why we have decided to have this advisory
committee. My government believes in being inclusive and listening to
the many voices that make up the George Town community.
As Sir Richard said the other night when we shared a meal together, a
good management plan is about balance. We must acknowledge the reality
that there are multiple stakeholders and that this is the forum to make
those views heard.
Therefore I have set out five key points that I believe we must pursue
if we are to beginning thinking and working in one direction:
• What are the elements that make up a
good management plan? In this case, Sir Richard will brief us with a
summary of global examples that we can learn from.
• If we are to come up with suggestions,
we must also realize that we are the implementers. The State
Government is willing to work with the people but the people
themselves must want to move as well. Our challenge is how do we
convince them and how can we carry them with us?
• You may also want to consider our financial constraints. It is not
that the State does not want to move but we are limited by resources
not merely financial but also like-minded people who will work
towards this common goal. Our challenge is to win them over in the
shortest time possible, your challenge is to find creative solutions
that can be implemented in the short, medium and longer terms.
• To make the best of our world heritage status, we must include an
economic dimension. Developers, some of you are here, can help with
new ways of thinking. You share the city with the rest of us, help
us create a sustainable development model. The rest can act as
watch-dogs, monitor and give constructive feedback.
• Lastly, what are the steps that the
State can take to ensure we move forward? Sir Richard will have some
ideas that he may want to share with us especially how the Federal
level Heritage Commission intends to work with the State and the
people of Penang.
The new Penang state government has also
decided in the interests of transparency to make public the Heritage
Management Plan outlined in the dossier submitted to the UNESCO that
achieved success in gaining World Heritage site status.
Finally, the Penang State Government will work tirelessly to ensure that
George Town and Penang fulfills the aspirations of UNESCO in this world
heritage listing. To succeed in these aspirations requires not only the
concerted effort of all parties but the social cohesion from the people
of Penang . We hope that the Federal government will put aside their
political partisanship and participate in this joint effort with the
state government to honour the singular recognition given by UNESCO.
Let this be a grassroots efforts in the form of a “people's
initiative” through Heritage Advisory Panel to celebrate George Town
as a World Heritage Site. Penang offers to make this effort to promote,
preserve and protect George Town to all Malaysians to participate so
that George Town can continue to be a enduring symbol of our common
history, contribution to multiculturalism, social harmony and the best
of a truly cosmopolitan city.
Lim Guan Eng, DAP
Secretary-General & MP for Bagan