MELAKA: Melaka through the Melaka Historic City Council (MBMB) has won the 'Jean Paul L'allier Prize For Heritage' award organised by the Organisation of World Heritage Cities (OWHC) which is based in Quebec, Canada.

The virtual award presentation ceremony was held last night.

MBMB mayor Datuk Zainal Abu said Melaka was named the winner of the award, which is given every two years, through its Movement and Convervation of Historical Urban Environment in the Historic City of Melaka project, carried out since 2012 at a cost of RM10.4 million.

He said the award, also won by George Town, Penang, is aimed at recognising and appreciating cities that had shown efforts to preserve cultural heritage and would serve as a reference and catalyst for the international community.

"The award from OWHC proves that Melaka still remains at the top of the list in terms of heritage cities. The main factor that contributes to this award is the implementation of beautification work together with providing facilities and infrastructure in key zones of world heritage sites such as lighting, murals, landscaping and drainage.

"The components of this project involves the provision of more open spaces for the public and walkways, as well as connecting the (city's) back lanes as an alternative for pedestrians," he told reporters after the announcement on the award at his office last night.

He said the project was carried out at Jalan Hang Jebat, Jalan Tun Tan Cheng Lock, Lorong Hang Jebat, Jalan Kampung Pantai, Jalan Kampung Huli, Jalan Kuli, Jalan Tukang Emas and Jalan Tokong.

The project, he said, served as a model for the MBMB to provide detailed planning for world heritage sites, formulate improvement plans and indirectly establish relations between state governments, city councils, state agencies, and local communities to work together to improve the image of heritage cities without compromising integrity.

Besides Melaka and George Town, other cities that have won the 'Jean Paul L'allier Prize For Heritage' are Cidade Velha (Cape Verde), Cuenca (Ecuador), Hue (Vietnam), Krakow (Poland), Kutna Hora (Czech Republic), Luxembourg (Luxembourg), Mexico City (Mexico), Queretaro (Mexico) and Safranbolu (Turkey).