Only the Federal Government has powers under the 2005 National Heritage Act to designate any site to be a heritage site
The State Legal Advisor Datuk Faiza binti Zulkifli and the Penang Town and Country Planning Department have stressed that the Penang state government has no powers to declare any site to be a heritage site. Unlike other states such as Melaka, Penang has no heritage laws. Accordingly to declare any site a heritage site the National Heritage Act holds sway.
In other words, only the Heritage Commissioner under the Minister of Information, Communications, and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Rais Yatim, can designate any site to be a heritage site under Section 24. Section 30, requires the consent from the relevant state government before any designation can be made
(from Press Statement (2) by Lim Guan Eng in Georgetown on Thursday, 24rd September 2009:
From The Star, December 31, 2009 Penang's heritage in dire need of protection, says NGO
Some 80% of the 70-odd buildings in the Unesco World Heritage Site currently undergoing repairs and renovations has no approval from relevant authorities and is not adhering to heritage guidelines, Chat spokesman Janet Pillai said.We have no choice but to go to the press because no one is willing to step up and be custodians of our heritage. Chat cannot because we do not have the statutory powers to act,” she said, adding that the situation was “critical”.
Penang local government committee chairman Chow Kon Yeow said that among the steps included
1. the completion of the Penang draft local plan. This plan would govern details of land use throughout the island, including compliance within the heritage zone.
Chow said the draft "local plan" was ready and would be presented to the state planning committee on Thursday, Jan 14.
"Once the plan is approved and adopted by the state planning committee,it will be displayed for the public to provide comments and feedback
2. embarking on formulating two other plans for George Town to comply with Unesco requirements: the special area plan, and conservation management plan.
3. carrying out our own internal reviews of the state heritage enactment, which will be tabled at the next state legislative assembly sitting,"
4. MPPP was also in the midst of setting up a special heritage enforcement unit that will make rounds from next week to monitor anyone flouting heritage building and renovation guidelines.
5. MPPP planning capacity building, which will entail beefing up our legal and enforcement systems; right now the officers concerned are going through the necessary training on heritage conservation and enforcement.
6. Re-engineering building and planning processes, so that the owners of the heritage buildings will feel comfortable enough to apply.
"The current processes are complex and putting them off, so now our plans are to make the building and planning processes more friendly so people will be encouraged to apply when carrying out repairs and renovations and comply with the guidelines, instead of embarking on the works themselves without approvals," Patahiyah added.
7. adopt an awareness educational approach in the interim without clamming down hard on those who flout the law as even many architects in the state seemed unaware or unconcerned about procedures related to heritage conservation.
8. The MPPP is also preparing a home-owners' manual for properties in the heritage zone to provide them guidelines should they want to carry out restoration and renovation works on their premises.
This is positive development from the CAT......
We will wait and see this C.A.T., is the CAT task oriented; cat of urgency action; cat of wisdom, cat of conservation conscious; and are the smaller cats follow his guideline and order without fear and with integrity (no corruption)?
I hope the heritage CAT in the state government and MPPP, are the humble lots; listening to the views of external experts, local as well as foreign. Without fear of political pressure from outside the state. I equally hope that the agencies appointed by federal government will be willing to help the state government to do their work for the sake of Penang heritage. Forget about political games right now, it is action for Penang state and Penang future, both state government and opposition, federal agencies.
The Penang people, the non-party majority are watching not only the CAT, but also the RAT(Run Away Talkers; Taiko/Tailoh/Towke, and ......YM)..... Let our eyes open wide....
Penanglang chin kang kor, pha lai pha gi, pha ka ki( Penang people is in difficult position, fighting among Penang people). Tua Suan tau biu, gui liau lah, pha ha mik? (election was over, why fight?).... hor Penang ho-lah(let Penang be better/work for betterment of Penang)....