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Malaysian government is foolish again for over-commit to UNESCO

Those responsible for writing dossier for Penang listing as a world heritage site shall be held responsible for limiting the height of building in the core and buffer zone to 60 ft.

Macau having more high-rise buildings within the heritage zone. UNESCO did not stop any city for having high-rise buildings if your dossier submitted does not commit such limitation in the first place.

Are we going to limit the height of buildings to 60-ft in the inner city of Georgetown for next 500 years? This is called unnecessary over-commit and tie your hands forever to 60-ft limitation.

Shorter hotels keep Penang on Unesco list

KUALA LUMPUR: The United Nations cultural agency will keep the capital of Malaysia’s resort island of Penang on its list of World Heritage Sites after government officials agreed not to allow high-rise hotels.

Malaysian officials voiced fears last year that George Town would lose its status as a World Heritage Site because of plans to develop four hotels that would violate Unesco restrictions on the height of new buildings within the city’s core.

Penang officials approved the plans before Unesco designated George Town as a World Heritage Site in July last year.

They had been uncertain whether to scrap the hotels’ construction for fear of being sued by the developers.

Unesco’s World Heritage Committee decided in a meeting that ended Tuesday in Seville, Spain, that it would keep George Town on the list, an official who attended the meeting said in an e-mail received Wednesday.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity because a formal announcement hasn’t been made.

The decision came after Malaysia assured the committee that the height of the planned hotels would be reduced to about 60 feet (18 meters), abiding by Unesco’s prescribed height limit of roughly five stories for new buildings.

Penang’s chief minister, Lim Guan Eng, assured Unesco in a letter dated June 4 that the developers have agreed to comply with the guidelines. The letter was made public last Friday.

Unesco added George Town and Malacca city to its list last year, saying both “constitute a unique architectural and cultural townscape without parallel anywhere in East and Southeast Asia.”

A spot on the list helps attract tourists and grants from the UN’s World Heritage Fund. – AP

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