Another proud milestone of the nation was reached as Penang’s 211-year-old Thai Pak Koong (Ng Suk) Temple along King Street won the 2021 United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) Asia Pacific Awards for Cultural Heritage Conservation.
The Unesco Bangkok Office named the temple as one of nine award-winning projects selected from six countries.
The countries are Malaysia, Bangladesh, China, India, Japan and Thailand.
Penang Chief Minister, Chow Kon Yeo said the temple’s restoration project was recognised for its excellence in three main areas, namely understanding of the place, technical accomplishments, as well as sustainability and impact.
He said Penang last celebrated a similar success in 2008 when Suffolk House won the 2008 Unesco Asia-Pacific Heritage Awards for Culture Heritage Conservation.
Thai Pak Koong (Ng Suk) Temple chairman Datuk Lio Chee Yeong said the temple’s RM3 million rebuilding and conservation project took 32 months to complete from September 2017.
“The cost for this project was higher because we use building materials imported from China. We also take contractors and artisans from China to maintain the originality of the temple’s architecture,” he said.
According to Lio, the documentation work for the project began in 2015, mainly to highlight the multiracial community in Malaysia as the Chinese community is part of the country’s heritage.
He dedicated the award to the heritage conservator for the project, Tan Yeow Wooi, who died of cancer two days ago.
The temple was established in 1810, dedicated to Thai Pak Koong (Tua Pek Kong in Hokkien), the God of Prosperity.