Yesterday, Prime Minister Badawi allocated RM 50 million fund for conservation work for the World Heritage Cities of Melaka and Georgetown in his Budget 2009. Compared to an overall budget of RM 209 billion, this amount is certainly a drop in an ocean.
Moreover, the amount is to be divided with Melaka and Georgetown. Conservation work and renovating heritage buildings are not cheap and involves specialised expertise. Hopefully, this allocation is just the beginning for Malaysia in recognising the importance of preserving our heritage for future generations.
I remember once some VIP mentioned that preserving old buildings is not progressive. They should be demolished and newer buildings must be built to replace them. How wrong these comments are. These old buildings with their unique characters reflect the architectural designs of their times and should be preserved.
Build newer buildings by all means BUT ensure that they are built outside the core heritage areas. Visitors to our heritage cities want to see unique buildings and cultures. They certainly do not want to see skyscrapers like theirs at home. If they want to see these skyscrapers,they can do so back in their own backyard.
Singapore has destroyed their heritage buildings during the building frenzy in 1970s and 1980s and they are regretting it. Bras Basah Road had elegant colonial buildings but they were bulldozed. Similarly, Hong Kong followed the same course on their buildings. Luckily, the Hong Kong authorities have maintained the Hong Kong Tram system.
The past can certainly co-exist with the present and we should preserve them for the future. Food for thought.
Friday, August 29, 2008
Monday, August 25, 2008
25th. August 2008
It was recently reported that a Malaysian Cruise Liner had to by-pass Melaka because Melaka had no proper disembarking and embarking facilities. The waterway into Melaka is shallow and cruise liners must anchor off-shore before passengers and crew can disembark into Melaka.
A cruise liner can bring in at least 2000 passengers or more into our shores at any one time. Should half of the passengers and crew decide to visit Melaka, more than 1,000 people of high nett worth can visit for a single day. That means we need to have shuttle boats to bring in the visitors and to bring them back to the ship. Moreover, on reaching our shores, we need to transport them to our historical sites and entertainment venues. We need at least 25 air-conditioned buses to ferry them around.
Do we have the necessary facilities and space to cater for such a crowd at any one time?
The Melaka State authorities should identify a suitable space to build a proper CIQ facilities so that our special guests can visit us without any hassle. The spin off is inmeasurable since the large entourage per visit will give direct economic benefits to locals. Local traders can sell their local souvenirs, offer our visitors our local cuisines and show them our friendly hospitality.
Imagine how many guests can visit us if we can receive at least 4 cruise ships or more per month.
Tourism Melaka would like to appeal to our Melaka State Government to undertake this infrastructure as early as possible. We should undertake this project on a fastrack basis so that Melaka can reap the rewards from our status as Melaka - World Heritage City and Everlasting Living Heritage.
Posted by TW Kang at 5:36 AM