The purpose of Penang Forum's letter to Unesco is to seek its help to take proactive steps in protecting the George Town World Heritage site and not to delist the status.
Penang Forum in a statement in George Town today said the letter was not the alert to Unesco, but the proposed Light Rail Transit (LRT) and monorail projects under Penang Transport Master Plan (PTMP) bordering the heritage zone could cause George Town to lose its status.
"Despite many months of non-governmental organisations (NGO) highlighting potential risks to George Town World Heritage Incorporated (GTWHI), the Penang Development Corporation and the Penang state government, no action has been taken to ensure current planning poses no risks to our heritage site.
"NGO concerns have been dismissed and the potential impact to our historical city has been ignored," it said.
Yesterday, GTWHI toned down fears that George Town could lose its Unesco Heritage Site status because of a letter.
The letter dated June 23 as thick as 28 pages, with four pages of text, 13 pages of pictures and 11 pages of text annex titled 'Malacca and George Town World Heritage Property: Request for Unesco Advisory Mission and Impact
Assessment of Proposed Master Plan in George Town, Penang' was sent to the world heritage body and had voiced their concern on the mega project in the area.
The Penang Forum, a group of NGOs based in Penang claimed the PTMP was threatening the outstanding universal value of George Town world heritage site.
The statement said GTWHI, as a state agency entrusted to protect and preserve the world heritage site, should have contacted Unesco and brought to their attention the potential impact of the massive transport hub at Sia Boey,
including the construction of LRT and monorails along the borders of the buffer zone of the heritage site.
"Since GTWHI had not contacted Unesco, Penang Forum felt duty bound to do so. The objective of this action, far from risking Penang's heritage status being taken away, was in fact to avoid the possibility of such an action.
"NGOs have worked tirelessly for almost 30 years and will continue to work with all parties, national and international, to save the heritage of George Town," it said.
It was prudent to take pro active and preventive steps by requesting Unesco to send an advisory mission to Penang to conduct an inspection of the George Town inscribed property boundary and to help organise an independent impact assessment of the proposed PTMP.