Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Malaysia May Lose World Heritage Status

[Malaysia as a whole will lose its Unesco heritage status if Kampung Chetti in Malacca is developed.]
PETALING JAYA: Malaysia risks losing its world heritage status by allowing a development project to take place at the Unesco heritage site in Kampung Chetti, Malacca, said an Indian writers group.
Kavyan Writers Group president Uthaya Sankar SB said Unesco’s world heritage status was awarded to Malaysia as a whole and not to individual sites in Penang or Malacca.
“Hence the development project will result in Malaysia losing its world heritage status.
“Construction of buildings more than four storeys are not allowed at heritage sites by Unesco,” said Uthaya Sankar SB in a press statement. [COMPLETE PRESS STATEMENT]
On Dec 17, 2013, there were reports that the Malacca state government had approved construction of two 22-storey condominium blocks, a 12-storey hotel and six of levels parking space on a plot of land in Kampung Chetti. [READ HERE]
The project was stopped by the former Malacca Chief Minister Ali Rustam last year but has been revived and given the green light by the current state administration after the 13th general election in May.
Deputy Minister in Prime Minister’s Department P Waythamoorthy has objected against the project.
Kampung Chetti has existed since 1414 and both the state and federal governments have given the village, national heritage status. In addition, the village is also a Unesco World Heritage site.
Uthaya said Malaysia would be portrayed negatively in the international community if it lost the world heritage status and that would affect tourism in the Visit Malaysia Year 2014 campaign.
He had also called upon the DAP-led Penang government to state its stand since the island’s world heritage status would be affected.
“Unesco has the right to rescind the world heritage status enjoyed by Georgetown if Kampung Chetti in Malacca is developed,” he said, adding that Penang is maintaining its heritage sites.
He also called upon the federal and state governments to issue a written guarantee to protect the national cultural site.
(K Pragalath, Free Malaysia Today, 31 December 2013. Tamil version published in Tamil Nesan, 1 January 2014. Related topic: Kampung Chetti Begs to be Saved. Get more information at Solidariti Kampung Chetti.)