SPEECH BY CHIEF MINISTER OF PENANG
AT THE LAUNCHING OF THE SIA BOEY REJUVENATION PROJECT
SIA BOEY, GEORGE TOWN
A very good morning to all of you, Salam Bersih and welcome to the launching of the Sia Boey Rejuvenation Project.
We are gathered here today to celebrate the launch of this project that has the potential to create an iconic landmark for George Town. Accompanying this launch is a two-week public exhibition showcasing the overall concept plan of the project. The project’s core objective is to transform Sia Boey into an area that facilitates the coexistence of development and heritage conservation in our beloved city of George Town.
Phase One of the project includes the rehabilitation of the Prangin Canal, conservation of the old Prangin Market and upgrading of the site’s landscaping. At a cost of approximately RM6mil, the project’s Phase One is scheduled to be completed in August 2018. Phase Two of the project will be the restoration of the shophouses and upgrading of its surrounding landscape.
The renewed Sia Boey is to be in line with George Town’s UNESCO World Heritage Site listing while also revitalising the area of KOMTAR Phase 5, 1st Avenue and Prangin Mall, making it the socio-civic centre and business hub of the state. This year, we celebrate the 10th anniversary of the inscription of George Town as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Sia Boey currently harbours one of the largest archaeological investigations in George Town. There are two archaeological sites at Sia Boey, namely the Old Prangin Canal Basin and the police barracks.
These sites will continue to be protected. Sia Boey will also be transformed into an urban park that emphasises heritage. This park will allow communities to continue carrying out events that have been traditionally carried out in the area, such as rituals for the Hungry Ghost Festival which have been held in Sia Boey since the 1850s. Hence, we will enhance Sia Boey through this 4P (Public-private-people-professional) partnership project where everyone has an opportunity to contribute. The vision of this project is to protect Sia Boey’s heritage buildings and practices while promoting a sustainable and liveable public space.
The Sia Boey market will be conserved and restored following an approach that emphasises “doing more by doing less”. There are plans to turn Sia Boey into a centre for traditional trades and crafts that empowers local traders. The renewed Sia Boey will also serve as a green lung for George Town and the KOMTAR Phase 5, 1st Avenue and Prangin Mall area.
The public exhibition on this project showcases the overall concept plan of the project, including details on the rehabilitation of the Prangin Canal, the conservation of the Prangin Market and the shophouses, and the landscaping of the site. The exhibition will be held for two weeks, starting from today - at the Sia Boey market for the first week and at the George Town World Heritage Incorporated office the following week. The exhibition aims to educate the public on the project and offer them an opportunity to provide feedback.
Before I end my speech, I would like to thank the Penang Development Corporation and GTWHI for their dedication to ensure that this project runs smoothly. Allow me to invite you to browse the public exhibition and give us your valuable input. Let us make the heritage and green initiative a success for our children.