GEORGE TOWN, Oct 7 — The Penang government has approved the setting up of a state heritage council, six years after the Penang Heritage Enactment was gazetted.
Penang tourism and creative economy committee chairman Yeoh Soon Hin said the approval was made during a recent state executive council meeting.
“We will be making an announcement on this soon,” he told a press conference today when asked about the status of the heritage council.
Two weeks ago, Penang Heritage Commissioner Rosli Nor disclosed that the state is yet to establish its state heritage council as required under the Penang Heritage Enactment 2011 (Regulation 2016).
The Penang Heritage Enactment, gazetted in 2016, states that a Penang Heritage Council is to be established to advise the state authority on any matters relating to the preservation, conservation and protection of cultural or natural heritage in the state.
According to the enactment, the Penang Heritage Council, which is to be chaired by the Penang Chief Minister, has the authority to propose policies on heritage, coordinate with the commission on preservation, conservation and protection of cultural or natural heritage, monitor the development plan for heritage sites and coordinate any issues related to natural and cultural heritage.
Without the heritage council, heritage sites in the state identified by the heritage commissioner could not be gazetted.
There had been much public outcry recently after a local developer surreptitiously demolished a century-old tombstone belonging to Foo Teng Nyong, a wife of former Kapitan Cina Chung Keng Qwee, that had been celebrated for its artistic value as the history of the ethnic Chinese community in Penang.
Pieces of Foo’s tombstone have since been recovered from where it was dumped in a Jelutong landfill for proposed display at the state museum, though Rosli has indicated that a full reconstruction may not be possible.