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theSun | THURSDAY JULY 9 2009 15

INTERVIEWS VIEWS

A lesson from Unesco


the number of hotel rooms to recognition for ourselves, our
accommodate and draw more commitment and effort must be
bona fide tourists could even on par to the lofty standards that
be part of a new recourse for are expected.
dwindling traditional trades to It is a lesson that all the
survive. relevant parties in this country
But if there is anything that – whether government, NGO
JUST last week, at its an- to George Town, Penang” which a sort of immunity, for the state this whole episode has now left or business concerns – would
nual meeting in Seville, Unesco’s outlined measures that Unesco to direct the developers to scale behind, it must be the hard im- do well to heed as we work to
grand World Heritage Commit- required the state to undertake down or amend their plans. TheNutmeg print of how seriously heritage project our image and our very
tee (WHC) concluded that of the if its heritage status was to be Interestingly, developers conservation needs to be taken heritage in the international
890 properties inscribed as world preserved. who have been riled by the Verses by all relevant parties in the community.
heritage sites, just three were to Now that the protracted con- move to restrict the size of the by Himanshu Bhatt country. For a world body like
be demoted into its “danger” list. troversy and the suspense over buildings have pointed out that Unesco, there is simply no com-
The three sites – Belize’s the status of our two cities have such projects could in fact help promise as far as its conditions Himanshu is theSun’s Penang
Barrier Reef Reserve System, been resolved, it would be fitting rejuvenate commercial activities and covenants are concerned. bureau chief. Comments: letters@
Colombia’s Los Katios National to see what important lesson can in the heritage zone. Increasing If we choose to seek world thesundaily.com
Park and Georgia’s Historical be learnt from this whole affair.
Monuments of Mtskheta – were People may remember that
considered to be under severe the whole controversy blew up
threat for various reasons. If when Richard Engelhardt, the
nothing is now done over the Unesco regional adviser for
next year to convince Unesco Asia-Pacific, warned during a
that they are being safeguarded, visit to Penang last November
the sites may be removed from that George Town’s heritage
the heritage list altogether. status may be affected due to the
Unknown to many, Malacca four high-rise projects approved
and George Town – which share in the conservation area.
a joint listing in the World He said the sincerity of an au-
Heritage Sites list – were on the thority would be put into ques-
verge of having the ignominious tion if inappropriate structures
honour of being placed in this were passed after application for
“danger” list. The humiliating heritage status had already been
situation was averted just days submitted. “Certainly I am sure
before the status of the two cities the World Heritage Committee
was being reviewed, thanks to will be very askance to that and
three letters the Penang govern- take it as a sign of not serious
ment shot to the world body last management,” he said.
month. Indeed, the nomination
The correspondences, all dossier approved by Unesco in
signed by the chief minister granting world heritage listing
himself, highlighted the state’s to George Town and Malacca
commitment to abide by a recent stipulated new building projects
Unesco report on George Town, in George Town were to be
and appealed for Malacca and capped at 18m.
George Town not to be relegated The state government was
from the heritage list. placed in an unenviable, difficult
The crux of the Unesco report position. If it revised the approv-
had centred around four contro- als given to the four projects,
versial high-rise buildings – all it risked incurring the wrath,
hotels – that were approved by and possible legal action, of the
the local authority in Penang in developers. If it did not take re-
direct conflict with building re- medial measures, it risked being
strictions stipulated in a dossier punished by Unesco.
approved by the world body. Treading on a tactical tight-
So in April this year, Gio- rope, the state made its move
vanni Boccardi, chief of unit of only after Unesco issued its
WHC’s Asia and Pacific Section, report. “If we made the commit-
conducted an inspection visit ment before Unesco had come
to George Town together with in, then we would have faced a
David Logan of the International lot of complications from devel-
Council on Monuments and opers,” Chief Minister Lim Guan
Sites. The upshot was the no- Eng admitted. But with Unesco’s
nonsense report dubbed “Unesco clear directive on the matter
Mission – Reactive Monitoring gave the necessary weight, and

letters
letters@thesundaily.com

Share transfer held up


SOMETIME ago my son-in-law deposited a public
listed share in my central depository account (CDS).
So a few days ago I went to my broker to have it
transferred to his CDS account, in Kuala Lumpur.
And the broker’s office said they were unable to do
so as my son-in-law was not considered a member
of my family.
How did they decide that and who are they to
do so? But they are willing to have it transferred to B-Land
my daughter’s name for a fee, and with her mar- raises
riage certificate made available to them to do so. RM190m
And she has no CDS account as yet.
Isn’t CDS making things difficult for its deposi- from BToto
tors? Is there an easy way out? placement
Bulbir Singh
pg 16
Seremban

Train skips heritage area


I REFER to “Confusing messages over Malacca
aerorail” (Letters, July 1). The original plan was to
build a transit system of 18.4km from Mahkota
Medical Centre in Bandar Hilir to Ayer Keroh toll.
To avoid building in the Unesco and sur-
rounding heritage area, the revised plan has
been shortened to 14.3km from Jalan Tun Ali
to the Malacca Zoo. For details, please visit the
public display at MBMB, Department of Railways
or www.dor.gov.my.

Lim Sue Beng


Pyramid Express Sdn Bhd