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  • AKTC and the Malaysian delegation signing the Management Collaboration Agreement in the presence of Penang’s Government Chief Minister, H.E. the Right Honorable Lim Guan Eng, and His Highness the Aga Khan.
Regeneration of Penang's George Town World Heritage Site

Gouvieux, France, 16 October 2015 – Malaysia’s state of Penang, Think City SDN Berhad and the Aga Khan Trust for Culture (AKTC) today signed a Management Collaboration Agreement that expands the scope of an existing partnership for the protection, development and enhancement of Penang’s historic George Town for another three years.

The agreement follows a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), signed in November 2013, under which AKTC provided technical assistance to George Town, which was declared a World Heritage site by UNESCO in 2008.

Penang’s Government Chief Minister, H.E. the Right Honorable Lim Guan Eng, and His Highness the Aga Khan, as well as members of their delegation, were present at a signing ceremony.

The first phase of the collaboration is aimed at the development of a Strategic Master Plan and identification of significant conservation and development projects within and around the designated heritage area. It included recommendations for the policies and actions to be pursued with regard to land use, conservation and development, traffic, infrastructure, and institutional management.

Under the second phase of the collaboration, the three partners are expected to contribute significantly to the regeneration of George Town, particularly through the establishment of a project implementation vehicle (The George Town Conservation and Development Company-GTCDC), and the training of young professionals in the conservation and sustainable development of the city heritage.

Preparatory technical work has already started in two key areas: Armenian Square and Fort Cornwallis on the North Seafront. These activities are aimed at providing state-of-the-art solutions in the restoration and rehabilitation of historic structures and public spaces, promoting inward investment and spurring social, economic and cultural development.

The Chief Minister also visited the Domaine de Chantilly to study the initiative set up by the Aga Khan to preserve and promote the heritage of Chantilly in partnership with the Institut de France and public partners.

In 2008, UNESCO declared both Melaka and George Town as a World Heritage Site (WHS). In the case of Penang, the WHS status is global recognition of George Town as a historic port city with a mercantile history that dates from the 1786 founding of the English East India Company trading factory in Tanjung Penagger (now known as George Town).

The WHS status also recognizes the rich tradition of George Town’s multicultural and multi-religious character. It was the city’s social and cultural pluralism that was essential for the evolution of its impressive monuments and historic urban fabric, which is distinguished by several varieties of shop-house architecture.

For more information, please contact:

For Think City

Neil Khor
Think City Sdn. Bhd., Level 14, EPF Building,
No. 38, Jalan Sultan Ahmad Shah
10050 George Town, Penang, Malaysia
Telephone:+604 222 6800
E-mail: Website:

For the Aga Khan Trust for Culture

Sam Pickens
Aga Khan Trust for Culture
P.O. Box 2369, 1211 Geneva 2, Switzerland
Telephone: +41 22 909 72 00
Facsimile: +41 22 909 72 91
E-mail: Website:


The Aga Khan Trust for Culture is recognized as one of the foremost organisations involved in matters of architecture, conservation and urban planning. Its Aga Khan Historic Cities Programme, which will be the main collaborating partner under the agreement, promotes planning, conservation and urban revitalisation in historic cities. It also undertakes the restoration and rehabilitation of historic structures and public spaces in ways that can spur social, economic and cultural development.

Individual project briefs go beyond mere technical restoration to address the questions of the social and environmental context, adaptive re-use, institutional sustainability and training. Its projects include major parks in Cairo and Delhi and urban revitalisation projects on sites as diverse as Zanzibar and Kabul. As a part of the Aga Khan Development Network, the Trust undertakes cultural projects within a broad continuum of development activities that usually encompasses economic, social and cultural initiatives.

Think City Sdn Bhd is a special project vehicle established by Khazanah Nasional Berhad, the investment holding arm of the Government of Malaysia. Think City, which is a 100% owned subsidiary of Khazanah, is tasked with the urban regeneration of Malaysian cities with its pilot programme in George Town. Think City is managing the George Town Grants Programme (GTGP) that was launched in 2009. Through the GTGP, Think City continues to support non-governmental organisations and local communities having committed a total of RM 16.6 million (USD 5.2 million) including 205 projects involving building conservation, community-led shared spaces and cultural mapping projects; as well as technical assistance & capacity building programmes.

Think City provides a working platform bringing different and oftentimes competing stakeholders to the table by way of innovative ideas. Think City continues to work closely with federal, state and local governmental agencies whilst supporting public private partnerships including the George Town Business Improvement District Scheme (BIDS), the Little India Joint Action Committee, Yayasan Islam Pulau Pinang and outreach & educational programmes by the George Town World Heritage Incorporated.