Melaka eager to receive World Heritage Site Fund

The Melaka government has asked the Economic Planning Unit (EPU) and National Heritage Department to pay out the remaining funds from the World Heritage Site Fund, amounting to RM30 million, which was promised to the state.

Chief Minister Mohd Ali Rustam said the state government had so far received RM3.4 million, of which RM2.2 million was allocated to the Melaka Historic City Council and RM1.2 million to the Melaka Museum Corporation.

“I appeal to the National Heritage Department and EPU to give us the money, not only for Melaka but also for the country, because without it many interrelated programmes cannot be executed,” he told reporters after launching a
seminar in conjuction with the Melaka River Festival 2011, today.

A total of RM30 million from the fund was allocated for Melaka, while RM20 million was for George Town, Penang, after the two cities were selected as World Heritage Sites by Unesco on July 7, 2008.

On the seminar, Mohd Ali said the Melaka government planned to conduct an international seminar and exhibition on rivers each year with participants from countries that had managed their rivers well.

He said Melaka was ready to become a research centre for river management because the quality of Melaka’s rivers had exceeded those in Venice, Italy and San Antonio, Texas.

On average, the quality of Melaka’s water was categorised as moderately polluted with a Water Quality Index reading of 75, he said.

Melaka is home to 107 rivers with a total length of 678 kilometres. Meanwhile, Natural Resources and Environment Minister Douglas Unggah Embas said in the Tenth Malaysia Plan, the Drainage and Irrigation Department would carry out phase two of a river cleaning and beautification project which was a continuation from the Hang Jebat bridge to the Batu Hampar tide gates in Peringgit, here, involving an allocation of RM285 million.

He said the ministry had allocated RM321.5 million for the first phase of the project from Taman Rempah, here, until the river mouth which was successfully completed last year.

His speech text was read by the ministry’s deputy secretary-general II, Abdul Rahim Nik.

– Bernama