GEORGE TOWN: There is nothing to celebrate about Penang Heritage Day which falls tomorrow if the heritage buildings are devoid of living heritage and culture.
Kepala Batas Umno Strategic Planning Committee chairman Azizi Safar, in saying this, explained that George Town was accorded the award by Unesco in the living heritage category but the number of living heritage in George Town is dwindling.
“The original tenants who are the living heritage and pride, were left with no choice but to move out after the property ownership saw a change of hands.
“They were also driven out from their trades and traditions which are the actual attractions of George Town and what should have been feted tomorrow,” Azizi told Malaysia Outlook.
Azizi also alleged that the DAP-led state government has been claiming credit over the World Heritage Site Award by Unesco to George Town despite it being Barisan Nasional’s (BN) initiative and hard work.
“George Town received the award in July 2008, four months after the 13th General Election so it wasn’t even Lim Guan Eng’s initative,” saie Azizi, referring to the Penang chief minister.
He also alleged that some heritage buildings in Penang were sold to the highest bidder, especially from Singapore.
Azizi reiterated his claim that the Penang state government was also not serious enough to look after the state’s heritage even after the State Heritage Enactment has been passed and appears to be dragging their feet in implementing the contents of the enactment.
“What is the meaning of celebrating Heritage Day if the concern of heritage lovers is not even addressed?
“They have time and again voiced their concern of the possibility of the Unesco World Heritage Site Award being revoked but clearly it has fallen on deaf ears,” he added.
Meanwhile, Penang Pas commissioner Muhammad Fauzi Yusoff echoed Azizi’s sentiments in saying that the celebration of Heritage Day was meaningless if it was just a show of buildings without life.
He opined that the state government’s definition of heritage seems to revolve around old colonial buildings.
Muhammad Fauzi said heritage extended to the culture and tradition of the people living in heritage buildings.
“Is it because they (the state government) have something to profit over this? ” he asked. – MO