Monday, April 4, 2011

Show us the Unesco letter, say swiftlet farmers


GEORGE TOWN: A group of swiftlet farm owners has demanded a Unesco letter allegedly warning George Town to buck up on its enforcement of bird's nest farming in the heritage enclave to be made public.
Pengkalan Kota Barisan Nasional coordinator Loke Poh Chye, who spoke on behalf of the group, said full disclosure of the letter would be in line with the state government's CAT (Competency, Accountability and Transparency) policy. 

“The owners want to ascertain the exact reasons Unesco was troubled with bird's nest harvesting in the heritage zone. “Without knowing what Unesco is concerned about, proper guidelines cannot be suggested to solve the problem between the owners and the state,” Loke said at a press conference that was attended by some 20 bird's nest farm owners. 

On Feb 23, state exco Chow Kon Yeow said World Heritage Centre director Francesco Bandarin had sent a letter to Ali Abdul Ghani, Malaysia's permanent delegate to Unesco in Paris, outlining its concerns on the conversion of heritage buildings into swiftlet breeding premises. It had been reported that the centre had been made aware of the matter following a series of reports it had received. 

The National Council for Local Government had also announced on Sept 2 that new swiftlet nest farms would not be allowed in the George Town and Malacca heritage sites while existing ones would have to clear out in three years.

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