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Georgetown needs a pragmatic and workable SAP, not solely from locals or consultants.

I cannot agree with Ng Wei Aik to let locals only to decide on SAP. The world heritage status will be revoked by Unesco very soon if locals only are allowed to decide. The locals will put their individual interests like making more money above the public interest.

I also cannot agree on too ideal plan from the consultants who are living in the ivory tower. Relocate old business premises to a new designated zone is not an easy task without the financial assistance from the government.

Vigan City is a good example for Georgetown to benchmark on how to manage and balance the needs of locals and heritage preservation.

YB LGE, let send your staff from George Town World Heritage Inc to Vigan City for a field study.

Locals should decide on heritage zone plan: Ng

Bernard Cheah at the Penang State assembly

GEORGE TOWN (Nov 6, 2012): The premises owners living within the George Town area should be the one to decide if they support the state’s Special Area Plan (SAP) for the Unesco World Heritage Zone.

Ng Wei Aik (DAP – Komtar) said it is best for the residents residing within the zone to decide through a referendum, if they are for or against the plan, as such zoning might cause businesses to go out of operation.

“We have 4,665 premises in the area, and each owner should be given a vote to either support or reject the SAP,” he said.

Ng was of the opinion that the consultants of these projects, who are non-Penangites, are too idealistic and less realistic, causing them to ignore the needs of the locals in the area.

“According to the Penang Island Municipal Council (MPPP), most of the George Town area is used for commercial purposes.

“However, with the SAP, a lot of old activities in the area will be disallowed,” he said.

Ng pointed out that funeral parlours in Lebuh Carnarvon and Penang Bowl would not be allowed to be operated under this SAP.

“Can we be sure that those (consultants) who are not from Penang understand the local sentiments?” he asked, alleging that the SAP could, instead of attracting people, would repel them away from the city.

He said that a lot of updating needs to be done to the SAP before it is submitted to Unesco before March 2013.

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