Wah Yit Poh
It is strange how major events coincide in time and space. On July 7, 2008, George Town was finally listed – together with Malacca – as a Unesco World Heritage Site (whs). This came exactly four months after Penang had a change in government for the first time in 40 years. Then, in January 2009, budget airlines began flying to and from Bayan Lepas Airport courtesy of Asean’s open skies initiative, which ended the air travel monopoly held by Malaysia Airlines (mas) and Singapore Airlines (sia) for 40 years.
ENOUGH TIME has now passed for PEM to start asking what the most signifi cant and most noticeable changes are. We also wish to find out what people have learned from the fact that George Town is now under global scrutiny, what measures are crying out to be taken, and what the future holds for this newly recognised treasure.
The issues that come to mind are wide-ranging indeed, and will therefore be something that PEM intends to return to regularly.
Heritage status is expected to affect George Town and the state of Penang more and more, and the energy released by it is bound to have not only economic consequences but also cultural ones.
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