Penang: 25 buildings, forest possible heritage sites

Bernard Cheah

GEORGE TOWN (Dec 21, 2010): The National Heritage Department has identified 25 buildings and a forest in Penang for possible listing as national heritage sites, pending consent from private owners and the state government.

Penang Local Government Committee chairman Chow Kon Yeow said that the department had met the state planning committee on Nov 18 to inform the state government on the recommendations it had made on the sites located within and outside the Unesco-listed George Town Heritage Site.

The buildings earmarked by the department include the 18th century Suffolk House which was the home of Penang pioneer Captain Francis Light, the Town Hall at the Esplanade, the State Legislative Assembly Building, Penang Free School, the Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion and the Standard Chartered Bank building in Beach Street.

Also featured is the Masjid Jamek Batu Uban which has remnants believed to have existed even before the British colonialists landed in Penang in 1786.

The other sites include the Penang Immigration Building (Beach Street), , the State Mosque (Jalan Air Itam), Pinang Peranakan Mansion (Church Street), Tokong Hai Kee Chan (Church Street), Tuanku Fauziah Museum and Gallery (USM) and Rumah Teh Bunga (Hutton Road).

Two sites were chosen from Penang Hill; they are the Bel Retiro bungalow at the peak and the Tokong Thnee Kong Thnua temple at the foothill. The only natural site selected was the National Park in Teluk Bahang.

Chow said the heritage department needs to approach owners of private buildings in the list to discuss the implications of being placed in the listing, as well as get their approvals.

“We want the department to meet them (building owners) and get their approvals before the state government can give the consent and blessings to classify those buildings as heritage sites,” he said.

Chow told reporters this after attending a special prayer ceremony at the Cheah Si Hock Haw Kong Kongsi temple in Armenian Street today. The over 120-year-old clan building is also among the sites identified in the list.

Chow added that the state government will instruct the George Town World Heritage Office Inc to organise meetings between the federal department and the building owners to discuss the issue.

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Category: News @ George Town
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