Penang Mayor Makes History As First Asian To Be Appointed UN‑Habitat Executive Director

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GEORGE TOWN, Dec 23 – Datuk Maimunah Mohd Sharif has announced that she decided to accept the post as executive director of the United Nations’ Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat). Maimunah has created all sorts of history by becoming the first Asian to assume the post. She is also the first Malaysian and the first Asian female to assume such a prestigious position within the UN.

At the press conference at Komtar today, Penang Island City Council (MBPP) mayor Mainumah made it official that she will take over the post from Joan Clos of Spain as a challenge with the blessings of the state government. 

“Actually I did not apply for it and was offered the position. However, I will remain as the mayor until I have to leave. I have not been told about the official appointment date but have been asked to report for duty as soon as possible,” she said.

Her tenure as the MBPP mayor ends on June 30, 2019. Once she takes up the post at UN-Habitat, she will be based in Nairobi, Kenya for a tenure of four years. Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said although it was sad that they had to let Maimunah go, it was great honour to the country as a local officer had been headhunted for an international-level position.

“We are losing one of our best officers but her success will reflect not only on her but Malaysia as well,” he said. When asked about Maimunah’s replacement, Lim said discussions for Mainumah’s replacement would be done in due time.

Earlier this week, the UN Secretary-General had appointed Mainunah, a qualified town planner, to head UN-Habitat which is based in Kenya. Maimunah previously managed Penang Island’s George Town World Heritage Site, the oldest part of Malaysia’s second largest city, which is popular with tourists for its colonial history and architecture. — PN

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