GEORGE TOWN, Jan 15 — Penang has introduced a RM3 million seed fund to support heritage shophouse owners in restoring their pre-war buildings.
Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng, who announced this today, said this initial fund was introduced to preserve the Unesco World Heritage site’s built heritage.
“This incentive programme is to support owners who provide affordable rent to long-term tenants,” he said at the launch of the George Town World Heritage site 10th anniversary celebration programmes this morning.
He added that George Town World Heritage Incorporated (GTWHI) has also been tasked to develop incentive programmes to support owners who rent out their properties at affordable rates to long-term tenants.
“These efforts are imperative to ensure that the people who make the soul of this heritage site continue living there to support its growth and also sustain the age-old practices and traditions,” he said.
He said the state will start off with this RM3 million first and look at the response before expanding it.
Heritage house owners in the George Town World Heritage zone can apply for funding from this Heritage Habitat Seed Fund to restore or repair their buildings.
In addition to this, Lim said the state allocated another seed fund of RM1 million to upgrade public facilities in the precincts around Little India in George Town.
“The Penang Island City Council has committed to finance and build a welcome arch for the enclave while the Penang Indian Chamber of Commerce will provide financial support to related projects to enrich the precinct,” he said.
Lim said the restoration project of Fort Cornwallis will be completed within this year and a one-metre water-filled moat surrounding the walls of the fort will be unveilved.
George Town will celebrate the 10th anniversary of its inscription as a Unesco World Heritage Site this July 7.
GTWHI general manager Ang Ming Chee said they have organised a list of events and programmes starting from next month until December 7.
“We will have 17 programmes made of six celebrations, 10 education events and one exhibition throughout the year,” she said.
Amongst the interesting events to be launched this year is a showcase of GTWHI’s video documentation project on April 1, the launch of Eat Rite Book, the launch of an oral history documentation project, street festival on July 7 and a cultural heritage book gifting programme.
GTWHI will be donating cultural heritage book sets of seven books to schools in Penang between now and December 15. All interested schools may apply for the book set.
Today, GTWHI also unveiled its 10th anniversary logo at the launch of the celebrations here which is a graphic image of the timber louvre window, a common feature found in heritage shophouses in George Town.
Find out more about the heritage 10th anniversary events at www.gtwhi.com.my/gt10.