GEORGE TOWN: The Penang government has allocated RM3 million for the pilot phase of the George Town Heritage Habitat Seed Fund which was launched today.
With the tagline ‘Together We Safeguard’, The George Town Heritage Habitat Seed Fund, which was included in Pakatan Harapan’s manifesto for Penang, aims to maintain long-term tenancy by offering financial and advisory support to Malaysian owners and long-term tenants for the conservation and repair works of premises in George Town’s Unesco World Heritage Site.
Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow said this programme will allow participating long-term tenants to upgrade their living environment and secure a tenancy agreement ranging from five to 10 years with a negotiated rent, at an agreed increment rate.
Chow expects the current allocated fund will be able to cover at least 10 Category 2 heritage premises owners to cover the expenses of materials and professional fees for the physical repair and restoration works of their premises.
“The long-term tenants have also played a pivotal role in the development and progression of George Town, as they are the living heritage of George Town that contributes to our Outstanding Universal Value of multicultural living heritage,“ he said in a press conference in George Town World Heritage Incorporated (GTWHI) office today.
Earlier, Cheah Kongsi president Peter Cheah, Khoo Kongsi trustee Datuk Khoo Kay Hock and Ong Hai Boy, representing her family as the tenant in Lebuh Acheh signed up for the programme witnessed by Chow and GTWHI general manager Dr Ang Ming Chee.
Ang said GTWHI had received seven submissions from the two heritage premises during the pilot phase of the project, five of which are from Khoo Kongsi and two from Cheah Kongsi.
Ang added that two of the five submissions from Khoo Kongsi have already been approved and the estimated restoration cost was RM167,000 and RM 190,000 respectively.
“GTWHI will be also be in charge of monitoring of the repair and restoration works, which are expected to start next year, as well as to encourage owners and long-term tenants of the Category 2 heritage buildings to apply for the scheme,“ she said.
The George Town Heritage Habitat Seed Fund was announced in January this year by former Penang chief minister Lim Guan Eng, as part of the state’s efforts to prevent long-term residents departing from the heritage zone. — Bernama