Penang authority impounds material, gear over stop-work order violation at heritage site
GEORGE TOWN, March 16 — The Penang Island City Council (MBPP) has seized construction materials and equipment of a contractor caught continuing illegal renovation works on a heritage building after a stop-work order.
The MBPP task force also issued an additional order for the building owner to cease the activities immediately yesterday after finding unapproved construction being continued within.
“MBPP found illegal renovation works being conducted on the interior of the Customs Building at Gat Lebuh China on Sunday and had immediately ordered them to stop the works,” MBPP said in a statement issued today.
It said the MBPP task force checked the site on Monday to ensure that the contractor did not continue with the illegal works, but instead found them still operating.
“At the same time, all construction materials and machineries at the site were also seized,” it said.
MBPP said it also reported the incident to the George Town World Heritage Incorporated (GTWHI) and the state heritage commissioner’s office.
The MBPP task force inspected the premises again today and confirmed that all illegal works have ceased.
The task force again reminded the contractors not to continue with any works without permit.
“MBPP takes this issue seriously and has given stern warning to the building owner not to conduct any works without prior approval,” it said.
The Customs Building is owned by Railway Asset Corporation. — Picture by Opalyn Mok
The city council stressed that it will continue to take action against any building owners who conduct any works to demolish, upgrade or renovate any buildings without permits.
It stressed that MBPP, GTWHI, the state heritage department and technical review panel would consistently work together to protect the Unesco World Heritage status of George Town.
The Customs Building, formerly the Malayan Railway Building, was built in the early 20th century.
Listed as a Category II heritage building, it featured a colonial architecture with a prominent clock tower and was left vacant for several years after the Customs Department relocated.
* A previous version of this story contained an error which has since been corrected.