Wednesday June 23, 2010NO funds will be channelled directly to Penang for conservation work on Unesco heritage sites but the money will be provided through Khazanah Nasional Berhad, said Deputy Finance Minister Senator Datuk Donald Lim.
He told the House that a RM20mil grant had been allocated to Khazanah for conservation work and that up to May 31, the Finance Ministry had channelled RM3mil to Khazanah.
He said Khazanah was given the responsibility because it had conducted research on the conservation of heritage sites under the George Town Transformation plan since 2007, an initiative under the leisure and tourism industry and linked with the Northern Corridor Economic Region.
“We will not be giving the money directly to Penang,” Lim said later in an interview.
Lim said the heritage sites involved a lot of private land and it would not be easy for the state government to handle the matter properly.
As such, the Federal Government could not give the money directly to the state administrators.
He said this in reply to Lim Guan Eng (DAP-Bagan) who had asked when the allocation would be channelled to the state government for it to formulate a special heritage plan as required by Unesco.
Later, in his supplementary question, Guan Eng, who had first congratulated Donald Lim on his recent appointment to the Cabinet, had asked whether Penang would get the same treatment as the Barisan Nasional-led Malacca government that had received RM30mil for its Unesco heritage sites because Penang had not received any funds from the Federal Government todate.
Donald Lim replied that heritage site conservation came under the National Heritage Department but that in the 2009 Budget, the Government had announced that conservation work would be carried out by NGOs and the private sector.
As such, he said Khazanah, which had been given the responsibility, had set up Think City Sdn Bhd to implement the conservation projects. ts