[STARMETRO (NORTH) – 6 MAY 2016]
FOR THE LOVE OF OUR VILLAGES
NGOs band together to protect state’s heritage
A COALITION of like-minded non-governmental organisations (NGOs) will be formed to study development policies of advanced countries like Japan, France and Germany to preserve villages and heritage sites in Penang.
Universiti Sains Malaysia’s (USM) Centre for Policy Research and International Studies director Assoc Prof Dr Azeem Fazwan Ahmad Farouk said the coalition’s main aim was to save all remaining kampung in Penang and to make sure that future development projects would not be at their expense.
“We want like-minded individuals and NGOs to come together first.
“Initially we will meet up with people but eventually we will want to help the Federal Government or state government change their policies as far as development is concerned,” he told a press conference after the ‘Traditional Kampung in Penang: The Need For Mindset and Policy Shift’ forum at USM on Wednesday.
He said efforts would start in Penang and hopefully be carried out at the national level as well. Dr Azeem said all development had to take into account the welfare of the people and not displace them.
“When we look at what is going on in Malaysia as a whole, developments are undertaken at the expense of the people.
“Developments have to be more friendly to people, especially those living in kampung and rural areas,” he added.
Persatuan Melayu Pulau Pinang (Pemenang) president Tan Sri Mohd Yussof Latiff said the coalition’s secretariat would be made up of non-political NGOs which are concerned with preserving villages.
“We want it to act as a free body to draft strategies or memoranda to be brought up to the state and Federal governments,” he said.
On a related matter, Mohd Yussof said Pemenang had written a letter to the UDA Holdings Sdn Bhd chairman and chief executive officer for a meeting to discuss the present development situation at Kampung Tanjung Tokong. There are currently 660 kampung in Penang.