Malaysia, for the first time, won a seat in the World Heritage Committee after obtaining votes from 96 United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization United Nations (Unesco) member countries.
Information, Communications and Culture Minister Rais Yatim said Malaysia was selected as member of the committee for a period of four years beginning next year, together with Algeria, Colombia, Germany, Japan, India, Serbia, Senegal and Qatar.
“In this committee, Malaysia, together with other members of the WHC, are given a mandate to scrutinise all reports on the conservation status of all sites listed as World Heritage Sites and to offer advice on any sites that are not well-managed.
“To win a seat in the committee is a priceless recognition for Malaysia and we will strive to ensure more heritage sites in Asia can be named as World Heritage Sites,” he told reporters after distributing meat in conjunction with Aidiladha at the Muhammadi Mosque, Angkasapuri, today.
He said the WHC also had the authority to approve the use of World Heritage Fund and financial allocations requested by its member countries.
Rais said he believed that among the factors that had contributed to the selection of Malaysia to the WHC was the fact that the country was appointed deputy chairman of the Unesco’s Convention for the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage in Paris, France in 2009.
Furthermore, Unesco had also recognized Melaka and George Town in Penang as World Heritage Sites in 2008, he said.
On the special award he received from the International Federation of Non-Government Organisations (IFNGO) World Conference for the Prevention of Drug and Substance Abuse in a separate event today, Rais said he was touched by the presentation of the award as it inadvertently showed the world’s recognition on Malaysia’s contribution to combat drug and drug-related crimes.
Rais received the award based on his contributions for 12 years in the Drug Prevention Association of Malaysia (Pemadam), and as the Charter President of IFNGO when it was formed in 1981.