Pelancongan di Pulau Pinang merudum?

Kalau sebut saja “Pulau Pinang” atau “Penang”, apa yang terus menerjah di minda kebanyakan orang ialah negeri di utara Semenanjung Malaysia sebagai destinasi pelancongan yang agak menarik, dan untuk yang pernah datang atau tinggal di situ, sebagai lokasi yang dirindui, baik oleh orang tempatan di Malaysia mahupun orang dari luar negara.

Perkara ini jelas disokong oleh analisa melalui Google Insight, biarpun media-media tempatan lewat ini lebih banyak mengutarakan topik-topik berkisar politik mahupun perniagaan atau industri tertentu yang mana tak dapat juga dipisahkan jauh dari ekonomi berdasarkan pelancongan atau imigrasi kumpulan orang-orang dari beberapa negara – sama ada untuk berkerja, berniaga ataupun sekadar bersiar-siar yang mana topik-topik carian utama adalah didominasikan hal-hal perhotelan, peta dan restoran serta Jambatan Pulau Pinang yang terkenal.


(Ini berbeza misalnya dengan negeri-negeri lain di utara Semenanjung – Perlis, Kedah, Perak, Kelantan dan Terengganu yang mana carian-carian tertumpu berkisar politik dan kerajaan, keagamaan, pekerjaan, pendidikan, hiburan dan sukan, dan sebagainya, yakni isu-isu setempat).

Malah, orang Pulau Pinang sendiri amat gemar melancong (selain orang Kedah, Sabah dan Melaka):

Bagaimanapun, tahukah anda bahawa Pulau Pinang semakin kehilangan pelancong asing, mahupun minat ramai orang sebagai destinasi percutian pilihan? Google Insight misalnya menunjukkan tahap carian yang amendatar selama enam tahun sejak tahun 2004


Begitu juga dengan laporan yang diwartakan di laman rasmi Kerajaan Negeri Pulau Pinang yang mana jelas menunjukkan penurunan ketara pelancong asing, berjumlah lebih 750,000 orang setahun atau lebih sepertiga bagi tempoh enam tahun dari 2001 hingga 2006. Jumlah ketibaan pelawat luar di Pelabuhan Swettenham dan Lapangan Terbang Antarabangsa Bayan Lepas juga merosot lebih 150,000 orang ataupun lebih 20% dalam tempoh yang sama:

Malah kebanyakan orang di Malaysia sendiri lebih gemar melancong ke destinasi luar negara seperti Macau dan Taiwan. Destinasi tempatan pula seperti Melaka, Terengganu dan Sabah/Borneo juga lebih menjadi pilihan berbanding Pulau Pinang:


Untuk orang tempatan, pastinya kehadiran orang luar dari Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, China dan negara-negara Arab lebih disedari walaupun, secara tradisinya kita seolah-olah diberi gambaran bahawa lebih banyak pelancong asing dari Eropah, Australia atau Jepun yang meminati Pulau Pinang sebagai destinasi percutian.

Kurangkah memberangsangkan?

Apa perlu hanya menuding jadi meletakkan tanggungjawab kepada pihak kerajaan atau mana-mana pihak tertentu termasuk penduduk Pulau Pinang sendiri? Atau mungkin kita hanya perlu merubah tumpuan kepada perkembangan terkini, khususnya untuk pengusaha-pengusaha tempatan?

Pertama, kita tahu tentang ketibaan ramai pekerja asing, yakni, industri-industri yang memerlukan pekerja murah akan terus berkembang khasnya di bidang pembuatan dan khidmat hospitaliti – makanan dan penginapan.

Kedua, laporan terkini juga menyerlahkan perkembangan positif di bidang pelancongan perubatan (medical tourism) atau mungkin juga di bidang pendidikan. Laporan The Star misalnya menyatakan bidang pelancongan perubatan di Malaysia meningkat tiga kali ganda sejak 2003 kepada 341,288 orang menyumbang kepada kutipan lebih RM300 juta dan catatan peningkatan 16% pada tahun 2008. Lebih dua pertiga ‘pelancong’ terbabit adalah dari Indonesia, dan selebihnya ramai dari Singapura (10%), Jepun (5%) dan Eropah (3%). Laporan tersebut juga menyatakan Pulau Pinang, Melaka dan Johor sebagai destinasi pilihan, (The Star: Malaysian medical tourism growing, http://biz.thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2009/2/14/business/3245091&sec=business ) yang mana Pulau Pinang mencatatkan lebih 50,000 pelancong perubatan pada tahun terbaru. Untuk senarai hospital berkaitan, rujuk http://www.tourismpenang.gov.my/medical_tourism.html

Ketiga, berdasarkan carian di Google, pengusaha tempatan perlu menumpukan hospitaliti lebih khususnya untuk pelancong domestik dari Lembah Kelang (Kuala Lumpur dan Selangor) serta Johor. Ini supaya lebih ramai pelancong ‘cuti-cuti Malaysia’ orang tempatan datang menjenguk Pulau Pinang. Kalaupun penumpuan adalah untuk menarik pelancong dari negara luar, lebihkan untuk orang dari Singapura, Australia, Hong Kong dan Thailand.

FAKTA BIASA? Macam mana tu?

Tumpukan penginapan bajet, tarikan pelancongan keindahan alam khususnya pantai, taman dan trek hutan, dan makanan yang sedap tapi tidak terlalu mahal! Tak perlu terlalu lebih berbelanja untuk pertunjukan budaya kononnya untuk pelancong luar!!

Kalaupun nak dibuat pertujukan kebudayaan dan keseniaan, fikir tentang orang Malaysia sendiri, yakni budaya dan seni tempatan yang boleh disertai sekali ataupun, seni/kebudayaan luar supaya pelancong tempatan tak perlu berbelanja besar ke luar negara, tapi menikmati hiburan seakan-akan luar dalam negara sendiri!

FOKUS di Pulau Pinang:

1. PANTAI:

  • Batu Feringgi
  • Pantai Monyet
  • Pantai Kerachut
  • Tanjong Bungah
  • Pantai Pasir Panjang

2. BUKIT:

  • Bukit Bendera
  • Bukit Jambul
  • Bukit Relau (Anjung Indah)
  • Bukit Mertajam

3. HUTAN LIPUR

  • Hutan Lipur Cherok To’Kun
  • Hutan Lipur Bukit Panchor
  • Taman Negara Teluk Bahang

4. PULAU PERANGINAN/RIADAH:

  • Pulau Aman
  • Pulau Rimau
  • Pulau Jerejak


5. LAIN-LAIN (WARISAN/KEBUDAYAAN):

  • Kota Cornwallis
  • Meriam Sri Rambai
  • Menara Jam Peringatan Victoria
  • Rumah Kongsi Suku Khoo
  • Kuil Taoist Dewa Mercy, Pulau Pinang
  • Gereja St George, Anglican, Pulau Pinang
  • Kuil Hindu Maha Mariamman
  • Masjid Kapitan Kling
  • Kuil Kek Lok Si
  • Menara KOMTAR
  • Kuil Kek Lok Si
  • Kuil Ular
  • Empangan Mengkuang
  • Air Hitam Dalam
  • Ampang Jajar Sungai Krian
  • Taman Rekreasi Taman Robina
  • Taman Bandar, Ampang Jajar
  • Taman Burung
  • Perkampungan Tradisional di Bayan Lepas, Balik Pulau, Nibong Tebal, Tasek Gelugor dan sebagainya.

SEKALI LAGI, fikirkan tentang pelancong Malaysia, bukan pelancong asing! Misalnya, perbanyakkan kempen dan iklan dalam bahasa Melayu, Cina dan Tamil misalnya, bukan sentiasa asyik dalam bahasa Inggeris sahaja.

Kalau tak mau dengar cadangan orang tempatan sendiri, cuba dengar apa penulis New York Times kata semasa memilih Pulau Pinang sebagai destinasi kedua mesti-lawat tahun 2009. (The Star: NY Times readers choose Penang as No 2 must-visit destination for 2009) – Jangan nak roboh saja kalau tak ada perlaksanaan segera untuk gerai-gerai yang betul akan mengambil hati dan minat pelancong Malaysia! (Kalau asyik nak cantik saja kononnya untuk menarik pelancong negara luar, makanan semua nanti naik harga – sebab kos gerai termasuk gerai MPPP/MPSP naik lebih lima kali dalam masa dua dekad ini, justeru harga makanan pun, dan pelancong Malaysia pun bakal makin kurang drastik tak mai!!)

Setuju? Tak Setuju? Nyatakan pendapat anda…

10 Questions with Chief Minister of Penang State

1. Administering the state must be a steep learning curve. How has the journey been so far and what is the biggest challenge? – Johnny Wong, Kepong

Administering an entire government with nearly 10,000 personnel, including both local government councils, definitely has been a steep learning curve. But as long as we are clear on our vision, mission and the governing strategy, we can fulfil the yearning for change and reforms. Our vision is to transform Penang into an international city that is a location of choice for investors, a destination of choice for tourists, and a habitat of choice for those who desire sustainable living. Our mission is establishing a people-centric government that does the three Es – enables the people with education and knowledge, empowers them with rights, freedoms and opportunities, and enriches them with a share in the economic fruits of success. Our governing strategy is to realise both our vision and mission through governance based on CAT (competency, accountability and transparency). An efficient, clean and world-class civil service is a prerequisite to transforming Penang into a high-income economy.

The biggest challenge is changing the mindset in the civil service to accept CAT as our core governing strategy, which emphasises education over propaganda, competency over political background, and excellence over indoctrination. We have to prove that a clean government can perform better than a corrupt one. Everyone is evaluated not on his skin colour, religion, gender or political background, but on performance. The public must be served fairly and treated equally.

2. How do you juggle your many roles in government, party and family? – Sarah Ibrahim, Muar

Multi-tasking works when there is teamwork with congruent goals, excellent back-up from my colleagues and staff, problem resolution gleaned from experience and trust, as well as good time management. But I must admit that I do not spend enough quantity and quality time with my growing children.

3. The Penang government is fighting hard for financial autonomy. How does that limit your aspirations for the state? – Angie, Malacca

Penang never had financial autonomy. From 2001 to 2008, Penang paid to the Federal Government RM25.67bil in the form of taxes and customs duties, but only received RM794mil in federal grants. In other words, Penang got back only 3% of what it contributed between 2001 and 2008.

We have no choice but to go back to basics. Penang’s past successes was grounded in developing our human resources and talents, relying on the private sector and private investments to drive economic growth and development, and providing good governance. That is why we have set up a 200-acre Education Hub in Balik Pulau, supported the expansion of an incubator doing R&D in Penang Skills & Development Corp, and focused on CAT governance. I have tremendous faith in the energy, expertise and entrepreneurship of Penangites.

4. Penang is still filthy due to lack of stringent monitoring and enforcement by local councils. Can Penang sustain its tourism industry given the polluted sea water and indiscriminate land clearing along Batu Ferringhi? – Josephine, Penang

We are continuing the efforts to clean up Penang, and these have gained the recognition of a Minister, who commented that Penang is now cleaner. But it is not easy to clean up the excesses or change the mindset of the past 51 years in a single stroke. Such efforts are complicated by past approvals for hillside development. Understanding the concerns of the local community, my government has not given a single approval for hillside development at Batu Ferringhi despite pressure from developers.

5. Do you feel it’s fair that Khazanah Nasional Bhd is managing the funds allocated by the Federal Government to conserve Penang’s heritage sites?Oh, Malacca

This has been a sore point as George Town and Malacca were jointly listed as Unesco World Heritage Sites and should be accorded fair and equal treatment as promised by the previous prime minister. But what we have seen is the Heritage Department getting RM30mil for Malacca whereas Khazanah gets RM20mil for Penang, despite George Town being 50% larger and having 250% more heritage shophouses. Khazanah’s RM20mil has nothing to do with heritage and was submitted before the conferment of World Heritage status. We should not discriminate against George Town and must take cognisance that a World Heritage status is an honour that must be preserved, protected and promoted.

6. The Indian community was disappointed with your handling of the Lorong Buah Pala issue and there are concerns that you washed your hands off before exhausting all legal avenues to help the residents. As it was the last traditional Indian village in Penang, are there plans to set up an “Indian heritage village” as some Penangites have suggested? – Jimmei Morinae, Prai

The Penang government has never washed its hands off the issue. That is why Lorong Buah Pala will remain on the same piece of land when the 24 double-storey terrace houses for the affected residents are completed. Unfortunately, there are several residents who have placed their trust in people who are offering a RM75,000 apartment instead of my government’s RM600,000 double-storey house. We are willing to consider all proposals, provided they comply with the law and Federal Court rulings.

7. You have adopted CAT in running the state. Do you agree that the monitoring should start from procurement of contracts through open tender system and evaluating the qualified bidders with proven track records? To what extent is this being done? – Sheng, Batu Pahat

Penang is the first government to implement not only an electronic open tender system but also a two-week objection period to allow a review if there are valid complaints from competitors. To further reduce financial temptations, we have cut out the “middle men” by disbursing the money into the accounts.

Previously, one may need “political cables” to win contracts. Now all we need is a simple computer cable.

To protect and encourage whistleblowers, an Integrity Award of RM10,000 was introduced for civil servants.

We have reaped benefits from our reforms by having surplus budgets for 2008 and 2009 despite projected deficits of RM35mil and RM39mil respectively. For 2008, we recorded a surplus of RM88mil.

8. The number of Malaysians migrating in 2008 has more than doubled from that in 2007. Do you think this will get worst, and why? What ought to be done? – Karen Yeoh, Kuala Lumpur

The brain drain is our country’s most acute problem and it must be resolved if we are to transit ourselves into a high-income economy. The brain drain will only worsen if the country continues to treat our best and brightest with indifference bordering on disdain. To arrest the decline, we have to focus on merit and higher productivity.

Then only should Malaysia offer higher pay to not only retain but also attract human talent. By imposing glass ceilings unrelated to performance, we are inflicting damage to ourselves and serving as a recruiting pool for neighbouring countries such as Singapore. There must also be greater diversity of views as a source of strength and sustainable development.

9. Apart from your family members, who stood by you in the most difficult times of your political career? – Yap Koon Roy, Malacca

My family members, especially my wife and parents, have been as solid as a rock in terms of emotional support. But I have also being sustained by my fervent belief in justice, freedom and truth, and nourished by my faith in God. When we walk the talk, we never walk alone because God is always there. Suffering is unfortunately at times a necessary path to understanding the pearls of wisdom that allows us to treasure the “free” air we breathe and the simple joys of being with our loved ones that we take for granted.

10. Your administration aims to transform Penang into an international city. How are you going to achieve that when the officers in your administration don’t have the “international city mindset”? – Penangite & ex-Singapore civil servant

Training a world-class civil service cannot be achieved overnight. To inculcate a culture of excellence will not be easy after 18 years of mediocrity and inertia. I have faith in the capabilities of my civil service if it is allowed to realise its potential. To succeed, government leaders must lead by example through prudent budgeting, integrity in leadership, and a thirst for learning and mastering English and new knowledge. Everyone realises that not only do we have to be the best, but that those who perform will rise speedily through the ranks.

The Penang government will commit to promotions based not on skin colour, gender or political affiliation, but on performance and integrity. Let the word go forth that Penang has not only the best Malay, Chinese and Indian male and female professionals, but also welcomes our best Iban and Kadazan brothers and sisters.

SOURCE: The Star – Your 10 questions

Balik Pulau’s local marketing bid!

Residents of Balik Pulau and everyone now have an opportunity to enhance their business and reach more customers in the less tapped consumer region of Penang’s southwest district (approximately half in size of the Penang island, and a population well exceeding 50,000) with the upcoming launch of the first marketing platform on an integrated printed and online media, dubbed the InfoBiz, produced by Pusat Komputer Balik Pulau, in collaboration with the Rural Internet Centre (Pusat Internet Desa – PID) of Balik Pulau.

While PID, situated at the annex of the local post office building, has been serving thousands of its neighborhood residents for over six years now since 2003, its current supervisor, Siti Huraizah Abdul Rahman, continues to realize how the local community still very far behind in ICT adoption, particularly in Internet usage, estimated at well under 10% for the large parliamentary area covering Teluk Bahang, Pulau Betong (inclusive of the historic Kongsi Town) and Bayan Lepas (not including Bayan Lepas Industrial Area or Sungai Ara/Relau urban areas).

“In order to connect the community better, and faster, and immerse the residents with up-to-date business and social information, InfoBiz was incepted as an integrated media project combining the power of mass printed distribution, and online social media distribution”, said Nasir Sobri who currently serves as Vice Chairman of Balik Pulau Social Entrepreneurs Club.

By advertising in the monthly issued InfoBiz, business owners can reach the largest optimum households in the rarely tapped market of Balik Pulau, and extend their marketing reach beyond Balik Pulau. This is due to collaboration with PID that has a large network of e-community throughout Penang, and its 42 centres around the country including Sabah and Sarawak with a total community of over 100,000.

Read the complete article at Balik Pulau Blog.

Time to watch your Reps! (20-28 APR 2009)


State Legislative Assembly Members (ADUN) of the State of Pulau Pinang is having meetings from today, the Monday 20th of April until the Tuesday the 28th of April 2009. In the spirit of “Competency, Accountability and Transparency” (CAT) of the the Lim Guan Eng government, the meetings are broadcasted live via the Internet. (click on the image on the right to stream the live video or previously recorded sessions)


Refer below charts for sessions schedule:-


Refer below chart for a complete list of the present State Legislative of Penang members (click below images to view the larger versions:-


For more updates or to submit comments with regards to the video streaming service, visit the official website for the State Government of Penang.

Biggest TALK on Blogs & Web 3.0 in Penang!

For more information and registration, register by or before Friday, 20 MAR 2009 at the official website for Social Entrepreneurs’ Club of Balik Pulau (KUSBP).

YB Sr. Hj Muhamad Farid bin Hj Saad is scheduled officiate the event, starting at 8:30 am on Sunday, 22 MAR 2009, at Dewan Balora (next to K-Kommunity/JKKK Kongsi Building), Balik Pulau, Penang.

Panels for Forum on “Role of (New) Mass Media for Local Socio-economic Development include experts from all four sectors of the community – policy makers, academic, industry and social NGO.

Learn how the new media is not just for “goBlogs“, but for Trillion Ringgits worth of economy within the next few years – How not be left asleep, passed by the wave of Globalization!

This event is brought to you in collaboration with the Council for Entrepreneur Development – Southwest District of Penang (MPUD-DBD), Technopreneur Development Division of the Malaysian Multimedia Development Corporation (TeDD-MDeC) and Penang Association of ICT Entrepreneurs (ICT Penang).

This event is a Prelude to MSC Malaysia/NEF Netbash & Innotech 2009, scheduled for 25 MAR 2009 @ PDC Bayan Baru.


Use your Barcode Reader (also available on selected mobile phones) to transfer the event details to your mobile devices. Learn more about above QR code at WikiPedia.

WORKSHOP IS LIMITED TO ONLY 50 FIRST REGISTRANTS! Just RM10/participant. REGISTER TODAY!

Penang still leads in Internet Speed!

A not-yet-city of Penang leads in so many ways, despite heavy competitions from other cities and federal territories all these years.

With so much money poured by the federal government on Cyberjaya, Putrajaya and Kuala Lumpur, the local industries and residents of Penang continue to push Penang to leap ahead, to be among others, as the only place in Malaysia that made it to New York Times44 Places to Go in 2009, and as a Top-10 place for expatriates in Asia (just behind Kuala Lumpur at #9, joining Singapore, Kobe, Yokohama, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Macau, Seoul and Taipei)

For many years too, by having among the highest number of industrial entities in Malaysia, Penang gets to be also a leader in terms of average internet broadband speed, at 2.6-Mbps, far ahead of the second ‘fastest’ state, Melaka at slightly under 2-Mbps, followed by Selangor, Perlis and Wilayah Persekutuan (including Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya and Labuan) with speeds of 1.8-Mbps, 1.7-Mbps and 1.5-Mbps respectively.


The gaps have however closing in compared to observation made in 2007 at WoNoJo.com when Penang was more than twice as fast compared to the closest competitors, Selangor, Wilayah Persekutuan and Negeri Sembilan – Clearly there have major upgrades in the smaller states of Melaka and Perlis since then.

For the cities rank, Penang-based ‘cities’ maintains three of the top-10 fastest cities, led by George Town at 13-Mbps. This was a clear slagging for Penang, considering that it has six cities in the the top-10 list back in 2007, specifically being Ayer Itam, Tanjung Tokong and Kepala Batas. Today, Selangor leads with six ‘cities’ including Bangi, Bedong, Semenyih, Seri Kembangan, Kajang and the rest of Selangor towns. Penang-based towns of Bayan Lepas and Prai however made it to the top-10 for upload speed.

This significant leads by Penang is remarkable considering that Penang is normally just number 2, compared to Klang Valley cities of Kuala Lumpur, Shah Alam and Petaling Jaya for various internet access service roll-out, including for high-speed DSL, mobile GPRS/EDGE & 3G, and most recently WiMaX.

PenangFon and MetroFon are no longer in the top-10 fastest ISP list, which has since been overtaken largely by Telekom Malaysia (TM) Berhad’s subsidiary, TM Net Sdn Bhd, followed by UTM, Setia Haruman Technology, NTT MSC Arcnet, TIME Telecommunications, Piradius Net and JARI Communications.

At just 22-Mbps average speed however, Malaysia’s TM is lagging behind companies in Korea, Japan, and other Central and Western Europe countries, with the average fastest speed offered by TOV Sun-like at over 65-Mbps.


At just about 1.5-Mbps average for Malaysia, we’re still far behind other Asian countries including the closest neighbor Singapore with average internet speed of nearly 7-Mbps, about twice the average speed in Asia (boosted by Japan & Korea) of 3.6-Mbps.

Still, various services offered in Penang by 3G mobile providers of Maxis and TM Celcom is subpar and require significant improvements before average home and non-business users can really enjoy the high-speed internet experience. And other broadband players (all 16 or more of them) should continue to boost service reliability and customer service quality in order to help Malaysia become a developed nation and a knowledge-driven society by the year 2020, as visioned by former Prime Minister, Tun Dr Mahathir bin Mohammad.

BTW, can’t wait for DiGi’s 3G to arrive in Penang! Because….


This is how a broadband ‘fair usage quota’ should be: 50 GB!

Unlike the two greedy, incompetence Maxis & Celcom which only offers a ‘ciput’ 3-GB and 5-GB per month broadband experience respectively, after which they will blast you to dinasour’s age at well below 100-Kbps — after some extensive ‘congak’ a heavy internet user can easily exhaust 5GB of transfer limitation in just ONE DAY, or about 7 days of normal web-surfing (at just eight hours per day).

And perhaps, if DiGi’s lucky, and can really be good at what it does (innovate and lead, unlike other Malaysian telcos), it can even perhaps trounce the big brother government-linked TM’s offering of Streamyx DSL – notice the turtle?

BTW, it’s also worth to note that P1’s WiMaX offerings will also bring fresh air (and hope) for average broadband users offering speed of up to 2.4Mbps downlink and 500Kbps uplink, with varied ‘fair’ usage threshold between 5GB, 20GB or 40GB for Home packages (RM49-199/month) and unlimited usage for Office packages (RM159-339/month).

George Town (Penang) needs revival

By LOOI SUE-CHERN

A LIVEABLE, safe, exciting and attractive city is what George Town needs to become after its recognition as a Unesco heritage site.

Socio-economic and Environmental Research Institute (SERI) Penang fellow Dr Goh Ban Lee said the international acknowledgement was good for George Town, which had been on the decline since the 1960s, to lure locals and tourists back to the city.

“George Town needs to be an engine of growth, a place to raise families, safe, economically attractive, fun and equipped with basic facilities.

“Having people performing traditional trades like cobbling would not be enough to promote George Town as a Unesco heritage site. It needs to be recognised and popularised as a city,” he said on Thursday.

Dr Goh, a former Penang Municipal councillor, was delivering his lecture entitled George Town — From a Forgotten City to a Global One,in the Georgetown Lecture Series 2009 organised by Global Leadership Consultants Sdn Bhd with the cooperation of Georgetown College and HELP University College.

Penang, Dr Goh said, is a blessed state with advantages, and George Town is located within short travel distances from hills, the sea and beaches.

“It is a relatively old city already internationally known with diverse ethnicity that are shown through our built environment, festivals and food.

“The city and the state is located in a booming region where English is not a foreign language,” he said.

However, Penang in reality, he continued, is still struggling with problems like poor public transportation, bad facilities for pedestrians, non-compliance issues, expensive housing, dying city centre, poor management culture, lack of excitement, inconsiderate Penangites and politics.

“Politics always comes first and we have Penangites who do not care that they are obstructing traffic when they order cendol at roadside stalls from their cars.

“We have dirty drains, hawker stalls on pavements, litterbugs, errant motorists and others. With such mentality, a city will not be a nice place to live regardless how efficient the local authorities are,” he said.

Stressing on good governance as the way to lead George Town into a global city, Dr Goh said the state and federal governments, the Penang Muncipal Council (MPPP), civil society and Penangites all have their roles to play.

He said getting George Town a city status like Ipoh and Kuala Lumpur was not important as it was already made a city by the British on Jan 1, 1957.

“Most of the recognised cities in the country obtained the recognition because of political reasons.

“George Town is already the first city in the country and Penang is the first state to have a fully-elected local council in 1956 and first mayor in December 1957. We were also first to have elected people’s representatives in government in 1857,” he said.

The lecture series held at Georgetown College on Beach Street was to provide the public with the chance to listen to professionals, academicians and others speak on urban heritage and its many related issues.

SOURCE: The Star – George Town needs revival

Go away, Go safe, Go celebrate!

It’s coming to our shore… Mark the dates: 21st – 20th of February 2009. Catch up with more gossips at Project Gossip blogspot.

What Hot in Penang This Week (11-17 JAN 2009)

100 Employees In Penang May Lose Jobs
Bernama, Malaysia – 17 Jan 2009
PENANG, Jan 16 (Bernama) — Penang is feeling the impact of the global economic meltdown, with the state government expecting about 100 employees in various …
16-01-2009: Penang has no intention of boycotting US goods The Edge Daily
16-01-2009: MNCs in Penang pledge not to lay off workers The Edge Daily
We Don’t Practise Double Standards – Guan Eng Bernama
all 5 news articles »
‘Penang won’t boycott American goods’
New Straits Times, Malaysia – 17 Jan 2009
GEORGE TOWN: Penang will not boycott goods from the United States over its support of the Israeli incursion into the Gaza Strip, Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng …
16-01-2009: Tenaga allocates RM81m to upgrade cables in Penang
The Edge Daily, Malaysia – 17 Jan 2009
Tenaga is also working with the state government’s investment arm Penang Development Corporation (PDC) to put up a RM100 million transmission main intake …
RM100m Power Boost for Batu Kawan Industries istockAnalyst.com (press release)
all 2 news articles »
Activist Makes Forum Political
Bernama, Malaysia – 17 Jan 2009
PENANG, Jan 16 (Bernama) — Penang Umno today slammed political activist, Hishammudin Rais, for misusing a forum on Israeli atrocities in Palestine on Jan …

Malaysia Star
They stretched their dollars for a good cause
Malaysia Star, Malaysia – 17 Jan 2009
As leader of the Penang-based Hai San Secret Society during the tin mining era of 1800-1900 in British Malaya, the Chinese towkay was a renowned millionaire …
Gerakan: Put up road signs immediately
The Sun Daily, Malaysia – 17 Jan 2009
PENANG (Jan 16, 2009): Penang Gerakan wants the state government to immediately put up multi-lingual road signs in Georgetown, especially at the heritage …
AirAsia lobbies Penang for LCCT
New Straits Times, Malaysia – 14 Jan 2009
By Marina Emmanuelmarinae@nst.com.my PENANG: Low-cost carrier AirAsia Bhd is looking at Penang as a potential hub for a low-cost carrier terminal (LCCT). …
MAIPP Dismisses Claim Najib Failed On Promise
Bernama, Malaysia – 17 Jan 2009
BUTTERWORTH, Jan 16 (Bernama) — The Penang Islamic Affairs Council (MAIPP) today dismissed a claim in a political organ that Deputy Prime Minister Datuk …
Permatang Pauh’s mosques, suraus to get RM4.18mil next week Malaysia Star
all 2 news articles »
Penang’s new growth engine — Tourism
The Malaysian Insider, Malaysia – 15 Jan 2009
By Lee Wei Lian KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 15 — With economic prospects looking gloomier by the day, Penang chief minister Lim Guan Eng has turned to tourism to be …
15-01-2009: No point having majestic building if services in shambles The Edge Daily
Guan Eng warns subversive civil servants The Sun Daily
MPSP Given Two Months To Buck Up Bernama
Sun2Surf
all 8 news articles »
16-01-2009: A landslide victory for PAS in KT?
The Edge Daily, Malaysia – 17 Jan 2009
For the 2008 general election, I told him there was so much electricity in the air in Penang, it feels like DAP could actually win the state. …

Penang gets 10 free lawyers to defend suit on multi-lingual roadsigns
The Sun Daily, Malaysia – 14 Jan 2009
GEORGE TOWN (Jan 14, 2009) : The Penang government has appointed 10 lawyers, headed by Karpal Singh, to defend it against a legal attempt by a Pahang-based …
Penang Engages 10 Lawyers To Defend Suit Over Road Signs Bernama
all 4 news articles »
28000 porn discs seized
New Straits Times, Malaysia – 17 Jan 2009
GEORGE TOWN: Penang police seized almost 28000 pornographic and more than 320000 pirated optical discs worth about RM2.1 million last year. …
Famous Australian football club coming to Penang
New Straits Times, Malaysia – 13 Jan 2009
Malaysia will get a huge tourism publicity boost when the famous Carlton Football Club officials and players make a three-day leisure visit to Penang from …
‘Ditch polystyrene boxes on Thaipusam’
New Straits Times, Malaysia – 17 Jan 2009
GEORGE TOWN: The Consumers’ Association of Penang yesterday called on the public to stop using polystyrene containers, especially during Thaipusam, …
Metro Watch
Malaysia Star, Malaysia – 15 Jan 2009
For details, contact Penang NUTP chairman Lim Ming Tzong at 019-4806723. The second animal in the Chinese horoscope, the Cow, will ‘moo’ into Midlands Park …
‘Many still forget to buckle up’
Malaysia Star, Malaysia – 15 Jan 2009
It was organised by the university’s Security Depart-ment and Penang Road Safety Department (JKJR). The officials handed out leaflets and car stickers at …
Tenaga plans RM200 mil investment in Penang
The Nut Graph, Malaysia – 15 Jan 2009
PENANG, 15 Jan 2009: Tenaga Nasional Berhad (Tenaga) plans to invest about RM200 million to upgrade electricty supply to Penang to meet the power needs of …
Stop-Work Order Can Only Make Things Worse – IEM
Bernama, Malaysia – 17 Jan 2009
Its Penang chairman Lim Kok Khong said the project sites should instead be monitored even more closely, especially its temporary facilities. …
14-01-2009: Penang activates employment and retraining scheme
The Edge Daily, Malaysia – 14 Jan 2009
by Regina William GEORGE TOWN: The Penang state government has activated the employment and retraining mechanism with an initial allocation of RM10 million …
No govt funds for open house New Straits Times
14-01-2009: No funds for Penang CNY bash The Edge Daily
all 3 news articles »
Johara, Kim Clinch Gold For Penang
Bernama, Malaysia – 13 Jan 2009
PETALING JAYA, Jan 13 (Bernama) — The pair of Johara Johari and Kim Eun Jung knocked down 2469 pinfalls in the women’s doubles event to give Penang their …

Penang Govt Will Emphasise Thrift, Says Lim
Bernama, Malaysia – 13 Jan 2009
PENANG, Jan 13 (Bernama) — The Penang government will not provide allocations to associations to organise activities, including certain festivities, …
Penang poised to gain more investments Business Times – Malaysia
Penang Seeks RM500-million Aid From Federal Govt Bernama
all 8 news articles »

Malaysia Star
OCBC gives Penang branch a new look
Malaysia Star, Malaysia – 13 Jan 2009
OCBC Bank (Malaysia) Bhd recently unveiled the new look to their Beach Street branch in Penang — the first of its branches in the northern region to sport …
16-01-2009: Just one good package will do, says Razaleigh
The Edge Daily, Malaysia – 17 Jan 2009
Meanwhile, Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng told the conference that as the state was not expecting large investments this year, it would focus on certain …

Malaysia Star
Sweet, confusing Penang island
Malaysia Star, Malaysia – 9 Jan 2009
No sooner was it said than done, my wife and I were motoring up the highway, past Ipoh, and heading for Penang bridge, and the seven ringgit toll. …
Eun Jung and Johara strike gold for Penang
New Straits Times, Malaysia – 13 Jan 2009
The Penang pair were second and 25 pins behind leaders Cheryl Cheong-Sharon Koh of Kuala Lumpur after five games, but Johara and Eun Jung then shot a …

Voice of America
Prabakaran no more in Vanni
Asian Tribune, Thailand – 17 Jan 2009
They speculated that he might be either in some coastal area in between Kerala and Tamil Nadu, or else in Penang, Malaysia. When asked why Malaysia, …
‘Don’t forget Sri Lanka, other conflicts’ Malaysia Star
Save Sri Lankan Tamils from Genocides – Deputy Premier in … TamilEelamNews.com
all 1,105 news articles »
Serving up prosperity delights
Malaysia Star, Malaysia – 15 Jan 2009
By HELEN ONG ALTHOUGH the Four Seasons Tea House in Jalan Terengganu, Penang, began (and indeed is still referred to) as a tea house which served food, …
Chinese neighbours join in Ponggal festivities
Malaysia Star, Malaysia – 15 Jan 2009
By K.KASTURI DEWI OCTOGENARIAN M. Karuppiah and his family who own cattle at Kampung Buah Pala in Bukit Gelugor, Penang, celebrated Mattu Ponggal yesterday …
New kidney dialysis centre for the poor
Malaysia Star, Malaysia – 15 Jan 2009
During his presentation on kidney care, NFK (Penang branch) chairman Dr Ong Yoke Meng identified diabetes as the main cause of kidney failure. …
No Further Action Against 3000 NS Dodgers
Bernama, Malaysia – 15 Jan 2009
PENANG, Jan 15 (Bernama) — The National Service Training Programme (PLKN) Department has decided not to take any action against about 3000 dodgers who …

Penang’s First

It’s time for Penangites to be proud of its history on being many of the firsts in Malaysia, and some in South East Asia too…

  • Religion – 1734+
  1. Masjid Jamek Batu Uban is possibly the oldest mosque in Penang and the oldest surviving mosque in Malaysia if present claims on the structure to have been built as early as in 1734 are verified. The builder was named to be Laksamana/Nakhoda Intan Nam Tunku Patis Batang or also known as Haji Mohammad Salleh a seafarer from Acheh, Northern Sumatera (now part of Indonesia). This will make it much older than the more popular Kapitan Keling Mosque (also in Penang – 1801) and Kampung Laut Mosque (in Tumpat, Kelantan – 1730s, but moved from its original site to Kampung Nilam Puri in 1960s). If such claims are proven to be correct, the history taught in Malaysian school books all these past few decades would have to be changed, specifically on the part that claims that British Sir Francis Light established the first civilized settlement on the island of Penang which might turn out to be 42 years later.
  2. St George ‘s Anglican Church on Farquhar Street, established in 1816, is the oldest Anglican Church in South East Asia and the only building from Penang that was declared one of the 50 National Treasures by the Malaysian Government.

  • British Outpost (1786)
    First in the then Malaya and South East Asia
  • Public/Governance Services – 1807+
    1. The Royal Malaysian Police was established when King George III awarded Penang a ‘Charter of Justice’ in 1807 to form the police force and the Court of Justice.
    2. The Municipal Council of Penang Island (Majlis Perbandaran Pulau Pinang), is the successor of the Municipal Council of George Town, which was established in 1857 as Malaysia’s first local authority.
    3. George Town, the state capital of Penang, became a city by a royal charter granted by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II on 1 January 1957, becoming the first town in the Federation of Malaya to become a city.
    4. Covering 738 km², the Seberang Perai Municipal Council (Majlis Perbandaran Seberang Perai) is the largest local authority in Malaysia.
    5. The 2,562-hectare Penang National Park in Teluk Bahang gazetted in 2003 is the world’s smallest national park
  • Education (Schools) – 1816+
    1. Penang Free School founded by Rev. Sparke Hutchings in 1816, is the first and oldest English School in South East Asia.
    2. The Sekolah Kebangsaan Gelugor in Penang founded in 1826 is the first Malay school to be established in Malaysia.
    3. The St Xavier’s Institution established in 1852, is the first school established in Malaysia to be administered and fully owned by the La Salle Brothers.
    4. Convent Light Street or the Convent of the Holy Infant Jesus, a girls’ school established by a French Sisters’ Mission in 1852, is the oldest girls’ school in South East Asia.
    5. Chung Hwa Confucian School founded by Cheong Fatt Tze in 1904, was one of the oldest formal Chinese Schools established in South-east Asia as a result of influence by the educational reforms in China in early 1900s. Mandarin is the school’s medium of instruction.
  • Media – 1837+
    1. The country’s first newspaper made its appearance in Penang in 1805 – the Prince of Wales Island Gazette. This was followed by the Penang Gazette, first published in 1837.
    2. Malaysia’s oldest Chinese newspaper still in circulation today, Kwong Wah Yit Poh or Kwong Wah Daily (光华日报) was founded on 20 December 1910 by Dr. Sun Yat-Sen in Penang.
  • Entertainment/Sports – 1864+
    1. The Penang Turf Club, established in 1864, is Malaysia’s oldest horse racing and equestrian centre.
    2. The Penang Players Music and Drama Society, the oldest English amateur theatre group in Malaysia, was founded in the early 1950s by a group of expatriates residing in Penang.
  • Finance/Banking – 1875+
    1. Standard Chartered Bank, the oldest bank in Malaysia, opened its doors in 1875.
    2. Hong Kong & Shanghai Banking Corporation (now known as HSBC) and UK-based Royal Bank of Scotland (then ABN AMRO) also opened among their earliest branches in Penang, in 1885 and 1888 respectively.