Speech by Chief Minister of Penang
GTCDC Symposium 2017
5 July 2017
Ladies and Gentlemen
On behalf of the Penang State Government, I would like to welcome all of you to this half-day symposium highlighting the projects of the George Town Conservation and Development Corporation (GTCDC).
GTCDC was established as a tripartite partnership between the Penang State Government’s Chief Minister’s Incorporated, Think City Sdn Bhd and the Aga Khan Trust for Culture. Its main objective is to align conservation with development in the George Town UNESCO World Heritage Site.
GTCDC works in partnership and in close coordination with Majlis Bandaraya Pulau Pinang (MBPP) and other state authorities. At the same time, it encourages the implementation of projects based on extensive consultations with stakeholders and community organisations.
GTCDC is committed to harmonising conservation and development by planning, monitoring and implementing public realm improvement projects that will enhance George Town’s Outstanding Universal Values as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It also aims to support, catalyse and develop heritage-related activities that will help strengthen a new economy based on culture. Working in partnership with the public and private sectors, GTCDC hopes to create opportunities for wider participation in the protection and enhancement of the city’s heritage assets.
I would like to take this opportunity to highlight some early achievements by the State Government, working in partnership with GTCDC and community stakeholders. They include the Gazettement of the Special Area Plan, which started with the development of the SAP’s brief by Francesco Siravo of the AKTC. The GTCDC also helped develop the Public Realm Addendum of the George Town Special Area Plan.
Other projects include the completion of the Padang Kota upgrading works (total RM2,200,000.00) that involved the restoration and upgrading of the underground drainage system. GTCDC worked closely with the MBPP to create new services to facilitate social and cultural activities at the Padang. At the neighbourhood level, the GTCDC also helped in the completion of the Armenian Park (total RM1,500,000.00) and the back lanes (total RM350,000.00), developing a new porous concrete that is now being used in the rest of George Town as well as other cities in Malaysia.
In the near future, the GTCDC will be closely involved in the rolling out of public realm improvement projects in the North Seafront, as well as in the core zone of the World Heritage Site. The Penang State Government is supporting the seawall (total RM1,500,000.00) and landscape upgrading at the North Seafront(total RM20,000,000.00). The North Seafront makes up approximately 85% of all public open spaces in the George Town World Heritage Site.
GTCDC is implementing a 60 metre long pilot area directly in front of the Esplanade, in conjunction with the installation of a new outlet to channel the Padang’s drainage water to sea. GTCDC is also working with the Penang State Museum to implement the Museum (total RM2,000,000.00) and Gallery Network (MAGNET) (total RM1,000,000.00).
MAGNET is an initiative to promote public participation in the creative and heritage sectors. It will be a vibrant network of programmes such as public archaeology, installation art, community archives, performing arts, creative makerspaces, and exhibition spaces. The total cost of projects, which we hope will be shared with AKTC is RM23.5 million. Of this RM23.5 million, about RM5 million has been spent, a major portion by the state government, MBPP and Think City. Going forward, I hope our partners in the GTCDC including the Aga Khan Trust for Culture and Think City will continue to develop Penang’s cultural assets.
I am told that we may soon have a Maritime Museum in Penang if we can secure the cooperation of all parties to develop the East Seafront. This will give Penangites more access to the sea creating a full life on the waterfront.