THE Penang government has allocated RM3 million to assist Category II heritage building owners to restore their premises under the George Town Heritage Habitat Seed Fund.
Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow said owners of Category II heritage buildings in the George Town Unesco World Heritage Site who were hosting long-term tenants could look forward to having their premises repaired and restored.
The application guideline stated that the seed fund is a state government’s initiative for Category II heritage premises owners within the George Town Unesco World Heritage Site who are renting their premises to long-term tenants.
It is stated that selected heritage premises owners will receive financial support to cover material expenses and professional fees for physical repair or restoration works of their heritage premises according to the George Town Special Area Plan.
“We do not take the contributions by the heritage building owners for granted.
“Similarly, long-term tenants have played a pivotal role in the development and progression of George Town.
“Through this seed fund, participating tenants will be able to upgrade their tenanted living environment and securing a tenancy agreement ranging from five to 10 years with a negotiated rent, at an agreed increment rate.
“This seed fund is an example of a collaboration between the Penang government and the local communities to safeguard our cultural heritage,” Chow said in his speech during the launching ceremony at George Town World Heritage Incorporated (GTWHI) today.
Chow added that the seed fund was the first of its kind initiative in Malaysia, by the state government together with GTWHI.
GTWHI general manager Dr Ang Ming Chee said the seed fund served as a daring commitment from the Penang government to safeguard the Outstanding Universal Values (OUVs) of a World Heritage Site by providing a financial incentive.
“We hope to promote sustainable residency in George Town, ensuring that this city is inhabited with communities of the highest social integrity,” she said.
Khoo Kongsi representative Datuk Khoo Kay Hock said they had been keeping their rental low over the last 10 years.
“Our rental is only about one-third of the current market rate,” he said.
He welcomed the initiative by the state to assist heritage building owners and long-term tenants.
Cheah Kongsi representative Peter Cheah also welcomed the move by the state.
“It is costly to maintain heritage buildings.
“This seed fund can help stakeholders and indirectly assists tenants,” he said.
Also present were state executive council members Yeoh Soon Hin and Datuk Abdul Halim Hussain; and Pengkalan Kota assemblyman Gooi Zi Sen.
For more details on the seed fund, visit www.gtwhi.com.my or call Lee Cheah Woon at 04-261 6606 / 011-6268 2786.
Story by Christopher Tan
Pix by Law Suun Ting
Video by Alissala Thian