GEORGE TOWN - Penang island's street art, especially its famous murals, have recently become the targets of vandals.
Penang Island City Council (MBPP) Conservation Department director Noorhanis Noordin said the murals and street metal sculptures including those found along touristy Armenian Street, Acheen Street and Kampung Kolam Road were the ones most commonly vandalised.
"The council has already spent about 25 per cent of its RM100,000 (S$31,750) annual maintenance allocation to restore vandalised street art pieces this year.
"We will usually remove the unwanted marks before contacting the artist to come back and help restore the damaged part," she said yesterday.
Noorhanis added that the council was planning to place additional CCTVs along the roads with these street art pieces.
The iconic Children on a Bicycle mural in Armenian Street has been splattered with wax, splashed with dhal curry and spray-painted yellow over the years. Cunning entrepreneurs have also pasted stickers of their products on the mural.
The mural in Ah Quee Street, depicting a boy with his pet dinosaur, was also not spared after black scribbles appeared all over the boy's face.
Seberang Prai Municipal Council (MPSP) secretary Rosnani Mahmod said the council has not received any vandalism reports on the murals or landmarks so far.
In Kedah, the state government spends at least RM2 million a year to repair damage caused by vandals, said Local Government Committee chairman Datuk Badrul Hisham Hashim.
"We have had to clean up graffiti on walls, remove illegal loan shark posters and replace stolen streetlight cables and plants.
"The city's iconic fountain is always filled with rubbish while the 'Selamat Datang Ke Alor Setar' sign always has graffiti on it," he said.
Badrul Hisham said the state was also planning to have CCTVs in strategic spots and also getting enforcement officers to increase patrols.
Alor Setar City Council Corporate Planning and Community Services Department director Bohari Md Yusof asked the public to report acts of vandalism.
"We need the public's help as these vandals only carry out their acts in the wee hours and under the cover of darkness," he said.