New ruling on heritage sites

Under the new Penang Heritage Act 2011, owners of heritage sites must first inform the state heritage commissioner in writing before selling the property.

The notification must be made in writing 28 days before the sale and purchase agreement is signed.

The state heritage commissioner, which is a new position, is also empowered to act against owners who fail to take “reasonable steps” to restore and maintain their sites.

The Act also states that the heritage commissioner can undertake repair works on premises after issuing a 14-day notice to the owner or resident who would have to foot the bill.

“A fine of RM500,000 or imprisonment of five years or both can be imposed on those responsible for the destruction of such premises, in addition to them having to pay for the repair,” said state Town and Country Planning, Housing and Arts Committee chairman Wong Hon Wai (DAP — Ayer Itam), who tabled the enactment.

Wong added that the Act covered more than just the George Town World Heritage Site. - By The Star

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