Swiftlet removal in George Town

Swiftlet removal in George Town

30th December 2013

Dear YB Chow,

Open Letter- The Deadline for Swiftlet Farming in the UNESCO WHS is Up. Has State fulfilled it pledge?

The deadline for the removal of all swiftlet houses in the George Town UNESCO WHS zone, as pledged by the Penang State Government, is December 31st 2013. This is tomorrow. Penang Heritage Trust will be monitoring the situation to see if this pledge has been fulfilled by State. We hope to see swiftlet free skies over George Town on the 1st of January 2014 and we hope for the rehabilitation of the heritage houses previously used for this business in the very near future.

However, Penang Heritage Trust is not convinced the State can completely fulfil their pledges and would like clarification on three issues pertaining to the swiftlet houses in George Town.

1. Please clarify and define the State’s definition of ‘shutting down a swiftlet house’. Have the swiftlets been physically prevented from re-entering the houses after State and MPPP has called for the closure of the house? Or are the swiftlet birds merely allowed to enter and exit at will through the re-opened windows? ‘Removal’ should be defined as the total removal of the swiftlet birds themselves, out of the houses and out of the World Heritage Site. Please clarify.

2. We demand for full transparency from the State and to reveal the TRUE status of Bird Flu in the state of Penang in view of the recent ‘Bird Flu’ H1N1 scare in Malacca and Kedah, where the media reported that 3 people screened in Kedah have tested positive and been warded. Kedah has issued a statement in the media, that cases of Bird Flu in the state are under control. (December 11th 2013. RTM2). There have been 2 deaths from H1N1 this year in Malaysia. (NST December 21st 2013). Is there an emergency /contingency plan to deal with an outbreak of Bird Flu in Penang?

3. Dengue is on the rise with 979 cases and 7 deaths from January 1st to December 14th 2013 (NST- Saturday 21st December 2013) reported in the State of Penang. We demand that State works to offer greater transparency and in the interests of protecting public health, tourism and business in the UNESCO WHS, supports a survey demanding the co-operation of Department of Health and the Veterinary Department to ascertain if there is any relationship between dengue cases in areas of swiftlet breeding in George Town.

The failure of the government’s authorities to fulfil its pledges to protect the urban environment affecting our health, in deference to financial interests of law breakers, will certainly cast doubts on the integrity of its leadership. We hope this can be avoided by prompt action now.

Kind regards,

Rebecca Duckett

Council Member

Penang Heritage Trust


Letter to YB Chow concerning the Swiftlet removal in George Town.

11 December 2013

YB Mr Chow Kon Yeow

Chairman Local Government, Traffic Management & Environment

Tingkat 52, KOMTAR, 10503 PENANG

Fax: 04-2618706



Dear YB Chow,




The deadline for the removal of all swiftlet farms in the UNESCO World Heritage Site is up in 21 days, as previously pledged by the Penang State Government.


The Penang Heritage Trust hopes that the Penang State Government can proudly say it has done its job on December 31 2013, and keep to its word of protecting the health of the residents of the George Town World Heritage Site, citizens of Malaysia as well as that of all our international businessmen, tourists and visitors.


Penang Heritage Trust looks forward to seeing the heritage houses and skies above George Town clear of swiftlets on 31 December.



Yours sincerely,


Khoo Salma Nasution