Alexa

Shorter hotels keep Malaysia island on UNESCO list

Shorter hotels keep Malaysia island on UNESCO list

The U.N. cultural agency will keep the capital of Malaysia's resort island of Penang on its list of World Heritage Sites after government officials agreed not to allow high-rise hotels.
Malaysian officials voiced fears last year that Georgetown would lose its status as a World Heritage Site because of plans to develop four hotels that would violate UNESCO restrictions on the height of new buildings within the city's core.
Penang officials approved the plans before UNESCO designated Georgetown as a World Heritage Site in July last year. They had been uncertain whether to scrap the hotels' construction for fear of being sued by the developers.
UNESCO's World Heritage Committee decided in a meeting that ended Tuesday in Seville, Spain, that it would keep Georgetown on the list, an official who attended the meeting said in an e-mail received Wednesday.
The official spoke on condition of anonymity because a formal announcement hasn't been made.
The decision came after Malaysia assured the committee that the height of the planned hotels would be reduced to about 60 feet (18 meters), abiding by UNESCO's prescribed height limit of roughly five stories for new buildings.
Penang's chief minister, Lim Guan Eng, assured UNESCO in a letter dated June 4 that the developers have agreed to comply with the guidelines. The letter was made public last Friday.
UNESCO added Georgetown and Malaysia's southern city of Melaka to its list last year, saying both "constitute a unique architectural and cultural townscape without parallel anywhere in East and Southeast Asia."
A spot on the list helps attract tourists and grants from the U.N.'s World Heritage Fund.


Updated : 2021-03-05 06:56 GMT+08:00