Sunday, February 28, 2010

Penang food - friendly food

Nick Vivion from Lonely Planet, visits Penang, Malaysia and finds it to be one of the best food destinations in the world. From savoury to sweet he reckons Penang is a food paradise of epic proportions.

In Penang, there is no lonely planet; you will not be lonely with street food, as your companion will be around, whether in coffee shop, open stall or under the tree. Rain or shine; sitting in the shop or standing in open air. You will not be lonely in Penang.....He may be a stranger initially, but he will be your friends after a round of street food, cofee(kopi) or teh tarik(pulled tea). That is Penang, strangers become friends at the food table, the Chinese kopitiam((coffee shop)table, or Malay warong(traditional hut), or Mamak stall. Penang food become the topic for introduction, and friends.

That is how Lonely Planet found out.....

Bring along your Lonely Planet to Penang. You will not be alone. Penang is a friendly place, where food is around, there will be friends....

In Penang, with Penang food , you will not be alone.

Welcome to Penang, Selamat Datang.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Macalister Road, Penang

Macalister Road(or Jalan Macalister) was one of the longest road in Penang. It was named after Colonel Norman Macalister, Governor of Penang from 1807 to 1811.

The Chinese called it Tiong-lor̄(中路),which literally means middle road, being the middle road of the 6 roads that once met at Magazine Circus. The 6 roads are Magazine Road(過港仔/頭條路), Dato Kramat Road(柑仔園), Penang Road, Brick Kiln Road(風車路), Gladstone Road(火車路), and Macalister Road. Brick Kiln Road has changed its name to Jalan Gurdwara,the new Malay name is after the Sikh gurdwara(sikh temple)located there. Gladstone Road (火車路)which literally means tram road, is no longer there and was now occupied by Komtar building in 1985 and Prangin Mall in 2000. So now only 5 road left, and Magazine circus also no longer there.

Magazine circus was named after gunpowder depot formerly there, it was called Gơ̄-pha-teng(五葩燈) literally means Five-armed lamps, or Lak-chhe-lor(六叉路)which literally means Six-road junction, or Chheng-ioh keng(銃藥間) which literally means Gunpowder store. Today what remain to Magazine Circus is traffic light junction.

According to Penang traveltips, Macalister Road originally is one of the main road from George Town to Western Road. The road was built in stages, and eventually achieved its full length. For much of the first hundred years of its existence, it was a dirt track out of George Town. It starts at the six-point junction (with Gladstone Road removed, now there's only five points to the junction) in front of present-day Komtar, and ends at Western Road (Jalan Utama)(Tim,2010) .

Macalister Road follows a confusing traffic flow. From Komtar to Anson Road, traffic flows both ways. From Anson Road to Perak Road, it flows one way from Perak Road to Anson Road junction . From Perak Road to Residency Road, it also flow one way from Residency Road to Perak Road junction. From Residency Road to Western Road, it again flows from Western Road to Residency Road junction.

From Komtar to Anson Road, it is a concrete jungle with few trees and built-up area close to the road. It is the food heaven. But after Anson Road, it was apartments and bungalow with tall Angsana trees lining both side of the roads, churches and hospital are around the corner. After Perak Road, it is community area, YMCA, First AOG, Methodist church, Catholic center, and hospital. From Residency Road to Western Road, it is Angsana trees all the way and schools, college, sport, welfare and charity, and finally Chief Minister's residence.

Personally I will divided Macalister Road into 4 parts;
(i) Penang Road to Anson Road junction
(ii) Anson Road to Perak Road
(iii) Perak Road to Residency Road
(iv) Residency Road to Western Road(Jalan Utama)

(i) Penang Road to Anson Road junction

View Larger Map

This is the busiest part of Macalister Road. It started with the Nasi Kandar shop on the left, and an old Indian Muslim mosque on the right. The road was intersected by Lorong Macalister, Lorong Kinta, Lorong Madras, Jalan Zainal Abidin, Lorong Selamat, Jalan Rangoon, Lorong Abu Siti(Sam Seng Hang) on the right, and on the left the road is intersected by New Lane, Jalan Kek Chuan, Lorong Susu,Naning Street and Krian Road.

The Nasi Kandar shop is one of the oldest, unlike the Line Clear at the other end of Penang Road/Upper Penang Road. It is the "black cat" as old Penang used to call it, the craven brand of cigarette advertisement box on top of its shop was the landmark in the old days. Its name is Craven Cafe. Craven Cafe at Jalan Dato Kramat/Penang Road/Macalister Road junction - the original eatery which does a good 'ayam masak merah' and they have opened a more upmarket, hip air-conditioned Craven Cafe in Pulau Tikus which reputedly serves light and airy roti canai. After the shop is a row of shophouses, before you reach the Catholic Church and Heng Ee Primary School. Next is Wisma Central and you arrived at famous New Lane T junction, where the food hawkers night market are there. Cross the New Lane you come to the government clinic and place where the Mamak 2nd hand book stores used to be, in front of King Edward VII Memorial Hospital,at 57, Macalister Road. The place you used to practice your marching and first aid, if you are a member of Red Cross and St John in your school days. It is followed by Pakistan Mosque at the corner of Jalan Kek Chuan. Popular Dim Sum/ Steam Boat shop(Town Steamboat Buffet,火锅之家)at no. 63; Lorong Susu hawker food there are good, especially the Koay Teow Th'ng , ba chang(dumplings), roti canai(Indian pan cake), and durian fruits. The historical Sun Yat Sen Memorial museum , the colonial mansion is along the road and impossible to miss with its life-size sculpture of Dr Sun and his ardent supporters from Penang - Goh Say Eng and Ooi Kim Kheng. Continue with the office of Sin Chew Jit Pou. ... Ah Lim Lam Mee(Birthday noodle) at the corner coffee shop at T junction of Krian Road(Jalan Krian) until the Anson Road junction.

On the right after the mosque, Masjid Jamek Hj Wahab, and row of shophouses , you cross Macalister Lane, and historical St Paul Anglican Church. after the church there are two colonial bungalow, one has converted to seafood restaurant, the bungalow was once the residence of Mr Khoo, ex-teacher of SXI who was a scout master, you need to buy proficiency badges from him if you are a boy scout. Then you cross few roads until 10 storey UMNO building, which was financed by Ministry of Finance Incorporation. Coffee shops with many hawker stalls followed, and opposite Sin Chew office at the corner coffee shop of Lorong Selamat, where the Wan-tan noodle is good with the special delicious wan-tan. There are two hotels located here, Red Rock Hotel (formerly known as Agora Hotel), and Grand Paradise Hotel(N0. 101), opposite Red Rock Hotel.

(ii) Anson Road to Perak Road

View Larger Map

This part connected from the Anson Road junction to junction with 3 roads, Macalister Road, Perak Road, and Barrack Road. Colonel Macalister, will remember Barrack Road, as this is the road where the military camps were. Barrack Road lead to Gaol Road(Prison Road) where the Penang old prison is located.

Macalister Road becomes increasingly greenly beyond the Anson Road junction. Tall Angsana trees (Pterocarpus indicus) lining on both side of Macalister Road. According to Penang traveltips, the trees were planted by Charles Curtis, curator of the Penang Botanic Gardens in the late 19th century.

On the right corner is the old re-branded Ghee Heong located at a colonial bungalow as sale office; then you continue until First Baptist Church, after some bungalows which are clan house and furniture show room, finally the Loh Guan Lye Hospital recently completed new wing is near. Followed by a row of double storey shops but end with the corner lot, which is an old single storey coffee shop.

On the left of the Macalister Road , is a bank at the corner to Anson Road. The next building is a beautiful abandoned bungalow with dilapidated condition, where you will find two durian motif at the entrance of the bungalow. It was once rented to many tennants, it was the residence of lawyer Tan KK,who was once a MPPP councilor,and follower of veteran Lim Kean Siew when he was with MCA. The apartment blocks and old bungalows followed, and you reach the HQ of Penang Gerakan(NO 139). At the end of the road to the Perak Road junction is Sister Char Koay Teow, located at Lam Heng Cafe, No 185, Macalister Road, near the junction with Perak Road.

(iii) Perak Road to Residency Road/Peel Avenue

View Larger Map

The Angsana trees at both rows continued..

This part of Macalister Road is like a community . YMCA(No.211), Methodist Church, First Assembly of God Church, Catholic centre and Island Hospital are located on this stretch. The famous Baobab Tree tree planted by Captain Speedy is at the junction of Residency Road.

The road then split into Residency Road to the General Hospital, and Peel Avenue to Burma Road. Opposite the Baobab Tree is another road, Codington Street which lead to Pulau Tikus, a prime residential area.

(iv) Residency Road to Western Road(Jalan Utama)

This part can sub-divided into:

(a)Residency Road to Sepoy line Road
(b)Sepoy Line Road to Western Road

The final stretch of Macalister Road is also a fast-speed thoroughfare, but runs in oppose direction from the earlier stretch.

Residency Road to Sepoy line Road

View Larger Map

The traffic flow however is now in opposite direction, you cannot drive to St George's Girls School. Need to drive to Residency Road and passing Sekolah Menengah Jalan Residensi, it can also lead to Maternity Hospital on the right, and General Hospital on the left. Go straight to Jalan Utama at the traffic junction just opposite Governor's residency, go straight and after Penang Sport Club, turn right back to Macalister Road.

The famous top girl school in Penang, St George's Girls School is on the left,if we continue our journey and disregard the opposite traffic flow. Taiwanese charitable Tzu Chi Buddhist Temple and Disted College are on the right. This is the greenly part of Penang with the Angsana trees at both side of the road. But traffic flow is heavy.

Sepoy Lines Road to Western Road(Jalan Utama)

View Larger Map

The official residence of the Penang Chief Minister, Sri Teratai, is located here, The Che Hoon Khor, St Christopher International Primary School , the cricket ground, are also found along this stretch. Penang Medical College which prepared students to universities in Ireland medical colleges are along Sepoy Lines Road just opposite from the cricket ground. This stretch that joined Western Road will lead to Botanical Garden, but remember the traffic is opposite flow, and you need to go by Sepoy Line Road to Western Road(Jalan Utama).

Colonel Norman Macalister

Colonel Norman Macalister, who was the governor general of Prince of Wales. He was from Clachaig House, Scotland; who died in August 1810 when his ship "The Ocean" was lost at sea. His father was Ranald Macalister from Skye, where he possessed Farm of Skirrinish. He is the factor on the Macdonald estate of Troternish. He married Anne, daughter of Alexander Macdonald of Kingsburgh and widow of Lauchian Mackinnon of Corrychatachan, with issues. Norman Macalister is one of 11 issues, the 6th son.

Capt Norman Macalister was posted to Prince of Wales in early 1800s. In 1805,he was the Commander of the Artillery. He made inventory of useful timber of Penang,part of the company's exercise to identify the potential naval timber and secure suitable woods for masts and spars to replace supplies from the lost American colonies. During 1805-1807, it was recorded in The Government Gazette that Capt Norman Macalister was the Commandant and "4th" in the list of council members under the newly appointed governor,Philip Dundas,who had arrived at the newly created Presidency of the British East India Company in September 1805. The status of Penang with Province Wellesley was in equal footing with Calcutta, Madras, and Bombay.

Philip Dundas created a "red-light district" to control disease without having to discourage business. But 2 years later, Dundas died of ill health, a consequence of unsanitary condition of the territory. He 'so seriously indisposed as to be incapable of attending his duty' that he was taken on board HMS " Belliqueux" , a 64 gun 3rd rated ship of the line of The Royal Navy and , dying on 8-4-1807, he was buried in Penang.

Five days later, on 13-4-1807, Henry Shepherd Pearson took up his post as Acting Governor; Norman Macasliter, now a Colonel was appointed and sworn in as Governor on 17-10-1807.

Macalister Road was named after him during his tenure as Governor of Penang. He also completed the brick structure of the star shaped Fort Cornwallis on the north-east coast of Penang, with Indian convict labor in 1810. The fort is originally built with nibong palm trunk,with no permanent structure by Capt Francis Light. The fort cover area of 417.6 sq. ft. or 38.80 sm. It was named after late 18th century Governor General of Bengal, British India, Chales Cornwallis, 1st Marquess Cornwallis. It is the largest standing fort in Malaysia. In 1804, the Indian convict labour had started rebuilt of the fort with brick and stones during Colonel RT Farquhar's term as governor of Penang. The fort was completed in Macalister's term.

Macalister was succeed on 24-3-1810 by Chales Andrew Bruce.

Macalister taking leaves, set sail for home on the East India Company ship "Ocean" in August 1810. Nothing more had ever heard from the ship, Macalister was assumed lost at sea. He left two daughters,said to have been illegitimate;

(i) Frances Bying, married her cousin, Angus Macalister, laird of Ballinakill,with issues
(ii) Flora, married Keith Macalister, of Inistrynick

His successor's tenure was short lived. He died and a reported issued from the fort dated 28-12-1810 appointed William Edward Phillip as the new governor.


1. There is also Macalister Road in Singapore, near Singapore General Hospital. Who is the Macalister, the street name after?.
2. Macalister & Co, Singapore was found by two Scots, Alexander McAlister and James Parker Niven in 1857. Is Alexander McAlister the eldest son of Ronald and Anne Macalister?
3. John Macalister was appointed as assistant collector of customs and land revenues at Malacca, in 1808.
4. George Hugh K. MacAlister was the Professor of Clinical Medicine at King Edward VII College of Medicine, Singapore from 1918 to 1929

Related & reference articles:

1. Clan MacAlister,
2. MacAlister of Glenbarr and Cour and Others,
3. Macalisters in Britain's Colonial Past, by Robert M. McAllister,
4. The Mamak booksellers of Macalister Road, Penang,
5. Why building at Macalister Road owned by Ministry of Finance Incorporated still named Menara Umno Pulau Pinang?,
6. Norman Macalister,
7. 中路 (MacAlister Road), 杜忠全,
8. Glenbarr Abbey & MacAlister Clan Centre, Kintyre, Scotland,
9. Macalister Road,
10. Macalister Road,

Friday, February 26, 2010

Penang state government performance

Citizen journalist Jimmy Leow asked people on the streets what they think of Penang state government's performance for 2009. In the scale of 1 to 10, how do you rate their performance?

Another KPI for the state government. How do you rate the state government for 2009? What are the effective KPI for state governance?

A state government (provincial government) is the government of a subnational entity in a federal forms of government, which shares political power with the federal or national government. A state government may have some level of political autonomy, or be subject to the direct control of the federal government. This relationship may be defined by a constitution.

A performance indicator or key performance indicator (KPI) is a measure of performance.Such measures are commonly used to help an organization define and evaluate how successful it is, typically in terms of making progress towards its long-term organizational goals. KPIs can be specified by answering the question, "What is really important to different stakeholders?". KPI is a business concept found by Kaplan by using balanced score cards. KPIs are frequently used to "value" difficult to measure activities such as the benefits of leadership development, engagement, service, and satisfaction. KPIs are typically tied to an organization's strategy using concepts or techniques such as the Balanced Scorecard.

Performance measurement of the state government by KPI?

KPI is only a quantitative measurement or even qualitative measurement are actually using figure for measurement. It is subject to manipulation once the KPI are given. It is not new as performance measurement, but the American are able to conceptualized it as sell as corporate strategy products. It is actually a goal orientated performance measurement, which traditionally are quantitative measurement, KPI introduced some measurement for non-quantitative activities or performance. The best performance measurement for the state government is the state people, are the people happy with the state government. The performance measurement is not measure from no of demonstrations, or baseless feedback from a small population. It is the feedback of all population , at least the majority under democracy.

Generally the following factors should considered the KPI areas in Penang state.

1. Security
2. Heritage
3. Environment
4. Social & culture
5. Tourism
6. Industry
7. Investment
8. Welfare
9. Education
10. Infrastructure

Penang state government being ruled by opposition party,which is different from federal government. It faced critical financial constraints to handle development program. The main revenue for a state is from land and assessment from their municipality. Penang people may pay tax, the money will go to federal government. If the federal government intentionally without or restrict the allocation of federal fund, the state government is actually going under extreme constraints. Penang has no land masses to receive timber concession revenue, mining revenue, alienation of land etc. The land development in Penang ,especially island is limited, the sources for Penang's revenue is actually limited. We basically based on tourism, commerce and industry. Unlike Singapore which is an independent island state, with autonomy on finance matter, and strong investment arm to generate income oversea. Penang has no full autonomy on finance as state government, and has no investment arm oversea to generate income for the state. The only resources is the people of Penang, a service based & high tech industry to generate income for the state.

With all these constraints, it is not fair to compare Penang with other states, where there are oil revenue, timber revenue, and land conversion, and a ready source of federal fund to generate income. A constraint budget will depend heavily on cost cutting, and responsible accountability for expenditure. It is not a easy state to manage, where the expectation of Penang is high. Most of the critical success factors for KPI require federal fund,if the fund is not coming or restricted; it is difficult to fully to implement the development of the projects to achieve the KPI goals.

Federal fund are flow into the representatives appointed by federal government or may be a form of shadow cabinet, especially tourism, heritage management; the implementation also subject to the constraints of federal policies. One of an example was the unfair treatment on heritage city status, Malacca received more allocation than Penang. So Penang may have been marginalized, all Penang people have been marginalized, not only the specific group. The spirit of democracy is after election, the federal government will treated all people as equal, all states as equal; no marginalization of the state or people who voted for opposition during the election.

Penang state government need to source for alternative revenue source; and to survive under the constraint environment. The state government have to work extra hard; to be cost conscious. The state need the support of the people to go through.

Any meaningful performance measurement must take these factors into consideration for a fair review. Under this extreme constrains, our KPIs will need to be adapted to the constraint state environment.

If Penang failed because short of federal fund or unfair allocation, federal government also failed the KPIs for not fairly allocated the fund to the states.

Most Trust person in Penang?

Trust person is people you can depend or reliance on the integrity, strength, ability, surety, etc., of a person or thing; confidence.

Singapore trust the judicial people, Taiwanese trust religion leaders, Hong kong people trust social community leaders, Malaysian trust sport personality and the people involved in medical and science. The survey was conducted by Reader Digest Asia. Please take note that in Hong Kong and Taiwan, politician ranked at the bottom. For Malaysia and Singapore, no politician is included in the survey, may be our political environment and society is still not open and transparent on politic,risky to include politician as it may face legal complication.


Do you know who Thai trusted the most? Conducted in October 2009, the survey found Dr. Pornthip Rojanasunan to be the most trusted individual in all of Thailand while Doctors were the most trusted group.

Who is the most trust person in Malaysia?
The first time ever, Reader Digest have conducted a nationwide survey asking people to rate 50 influential Malaysian personalities on their trustworthiness on a scale of one (“Not trusted at all”) to ten (“Trust completely”). The most trust person in Malaysia is our squash queen, Nicol David, who is from Penang. Most of the top 10 are either sport personality, or entertainment(actor and actress), and creative personality(shoe design, cartoon, cookery).

The Top 5 are:

1. Nicol David(from Penang),squash champion and currently rank NO 1 in the world
2. Dr Jemilah Mahmood, founder and former president of MERCY Malaysia,
3. Lee Chong Wei(from Penang),shuttler and currently ranked no 1 in the world
4. LAT,cartoonist
5. Jimmy Choo(from Penang),international shoemaker

Malaysia most trusted occupation(大馬最受信賴行業名單):

4.醫務人員(Medical Personnel)

Out of top 10 occupation, none is politician. In Hong Kong and Taiwan, their state leaders ranked at the bottom. How about our state leaders, will they faced the same fate?. Malaysia ranked 56th in Worldwide Corruption Perceptions ranking 2009 by Transparency International, Singapore ranked 3rd, Hong Kong ranked 12th, Taiwan ranked 37th. We are behind even Taiwan, and Hong Kong despite ranking of 12th still ranked their Chief Executive as bottom 4th. Are we bold to select politician as top 10?

Who is the most trust in Penang? Obviously will be Nicol David, Lee Chong Wei, Jimmy Choo as top 3 based on Malaysian ranking. But will they remain the top three if the survey is conducted in Penang alone?. Will the politician in the top 10 of Penang most trust person survey? We need to take into consideration of heavy politic games in Penang and Malaysia taken by the politician.

How about the Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng, former Prime Minister Tun Abdullah, or opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, or Ex Chief Minister Tan Sri Koh Tzu Koon?. Franly speaking

I will not select politician for top ranking, unless they are transparent, integrity and trust person. But can you see anyone? ......

Monday, February 22, 2010

Penang Hill & funicular railway

Penang Hill’s iconic funicular train will make its final run on 21-2-2010 after 87 years, leaving residents with only fond memories of the famous attraction. It will be replaced by a RM63mil upgraded system, which is expected to be ready in seven months. The Penang Hill Raiway was the icon of the Penang state, it is sad to say farewell to the train, and while waiting for the new system to be ready. We can only go there by jeep or hike up to Penang Hill. The tram or car was the only way to go up Penang Hill in the old days, unless you want to hike up via Moongate at Waterfall Road, other routes are not popular. It will be packed during the holidays, especially Chinese New Year. It is the place to escape from the hot climate in the Georgetown. It was always exciting to take the tram , which slowly climb up the hill, the changes of the climate, the pitcher plants along the railway tracks, and the monkeys; are interesting journey for the city boy. The view from the hill top is another attraction. In the 60s,70s and even 80s, Penang Hill was the must for most tourists.

I take the opportunity to post this blog to know some history of the funicular railway. Some articles said there are only 3 funicular railway in the world, which is wrong; as there are many funicular railway around the world. But Penang Hill Railway is one of the early funicular railway,and the only one of its kind in Southeast Asia. Personally I have opportunity to visit Hong Kong, Penang, Sydney, Salzburg funicular railway station and took the funicular train/car in Hong Kong, Penang and Sydney. Due to short of time during the trip to Salzburg, I did not try the funicular train there. Hong Kong funicular railway is the most successful; Penang funicular railway has the most problem recently.

What is funicular railway?

A funicular, also known as a funicular railway, incline, inclined railway, inclined plane, or cliff railway, is a cable railway in which a cable attached to a pair of tram-like vehicles on rails moves them up and down a steep slope, the ascending and descending vehicles counter balancing each other. The word is from the Latin funiculus, a diminutive of funis, "rope".

The basic principle of funicular operation is that two cars are permanently attached to each other by a cable, which runs through a pulley at the top of the incline. Counterbalancing of the two cars, with one ascending and one descending the slope minimizes the energy needed to lift the ascending car. Winching is normally done by an electric drive working on the pulley. Sheave wheels guide the cable to and from the drive mechanism and the incline cars.

The inclined lift

The inclined lift or inclined elevator is a special version of the funicular, since it has only one car carrying payload riding up and down the slope. The car is either winched up to the station on the top of the incline where the cable is collected on a winch drum, or the single car is balanced by a counterweight and operated the same way as a funicular with two cars. The steepest funicular in the world is the incline lift Katoomba Scenic Railway in Australia. It is in the Blue Mountains at Scenic World near Katoomba, Australia. Its centre supports multiple tourist attractions such as the Skyway and Cableway. The railway is on the old mining track and is 52 degrees (122%) at its steepest point. Scenic World claims that this is the steepest funicular in the world.

Reisszug, Austria 1515

The oldest funicular is the Reisszug, a private line providing goods access to Hohensalzburg Castle at Salzburg in Austria. It was first documented in 1515 by Cardinal Matthäus Lang, who became Archbishop of Salzburg. The line originally used wooden rails and a hemp haulage rope, and was operated by human or animal power. Today steel rails, steel cables and an electric motor have taken over, but the line still follows the same route through the castle's fortifications

Hong Kong Peak Tram 1888

Hong Kong's Peak Tram was one of the first funicular in Asia, opened in 1888, maximum grade 48%, 1.4 km, and is still daily transport for many people today.

Penang Hill Railway 1923

The only funicular railway in Malaysia is Penang Hill Railway, Penang Hill,Penang. The Penang Hill Railway is a two section funicular railway which climbs Penang Hill from Air Itam, near George Town on the island of Penang in Malaysia. The total journey takes about half an hour, with passengers changing cars at the mid-point station. The train may stop at other intermediate stations upon request. Work on the inclined railway began in 1897 but took 26 years to complete, with its first coaches made of wood and steel. But actual construction of the railway took place between 1906 to 1923, at a cost of 1.5 million Straits dollars.

The first attempt to build hill railway was in 1898 and completed in 1906, which was a 2 cars system, with one section to cover the entire journey to the hill top. It faced with technical problem. The second attempt was in 1920 with two independent sections, designed by Arnold R. Johnson, senior district engineer of the Federated Malay States Railways. The project was under his supervision,with many Asians involved in the project, from the labourers and technicians who physically constructed it to the Municipal Commissioners and public who watched and debated every stage of its development. Work began in 1920 and was completed in 1923. The two-section solution proved extremely successful. The railway was opened to the public on October 21, 1923. New cars were provided in 1977(Khoo Salma Nasution, 2010)

The old coaches
Old coach of Penang Hill Railway, used 1923-1977.
2nd generation used 1977-2010

The lower section of the funicular has the following technical parameters:

* Length: 907 metres
* Height: 319 metres
* Maximum Steepness: 50.5%
* Cars: 2
* Capacity: 80 passengers per car
* Configuration: Single track with passing loop
* Journey time: 11 minutes
* Maximum speed: 1.4 metres per second
* Track gauge: 1 metre
* Traction: Electricity

The upper section of the funicular has the following technical parameters:

* Length: 1313 metres
* Height: 367 metres
* Maximum Steepness: 51.3%
* Cars: 2
* Capacity: 80 passengers per car
* Configuration: Single track with passing loop
* Journey time: 13 minutes
* Maximum speed: 1.8 metres per second
* Track gauge: 1 metre
* Traction: Electricity

Proposed new railway
The two-section system will be abolished by realigning the track to create a single system. The train-changing at the Middle Station will be done away with. The existing rails, cables and original machinery will be removed and replaced. The present four passenger carriages will be replaced with two larger carriages.

Penang Hill, Penang

Francis Light is the first to plot a pack-horse track from the Botanic Gardens waterfall to Penang Hill. A lot of bungalows were built on the hill for private use during the 19th and the 20th century. Before the funicular railway is in service, people had to sit in a sedan chair carried by 6 bearers to travel up the Penang Hill. It costs 46 cents per trip.

The 2007 metres long railway was launched in 1923 and four modern Swiss-made coaches replaced the old one in 1979.

Penang Hill is a hill resort comprising a group of peaks, the major hill system of Penang, Malaysia. It is 6 kilometres (3.7 mi) from the city centre of George Town, and stands out prominently from the lowlands as a hilly and forested area. Penang Hill is also known by the Malay name Bukit Bendera, which refers to Flagstaff Hill, the most developed peak.

Penang Hill is mainly hilly granitic mass. The hill system is higher towards the northern part with its highest point at Western Hill, at an elevation of 833 m (2,723 ft) above sea level. Other than Western Hill, there are a number of peaks in the region, such as Bukit Laksamana, Tiger Hill, Flagstaff Hill and Government Hill. Flagstaff Hill is 735 m (2,450 ft) above sea level. A number of small rivers and streams originate from the region. Sungai Pinang is the largest of the rivers, and it starts from a number of tributaries in the area.

Penang Hill is definitely a tourist attraction, if it can be make like Victoria Peak of Hong Kong. We do not need to copy exactly from Hong Kong, but it show that a small hill resort can be as successful,and a funicular railway can also be a strong attraction, as in Victoria Peak. It is a lesson for Penang state tourism authority to learn, and Penang Hill can be revived to a tourist attraction again..... but please retain the heritage value of the train and railway...

Related articles

1.List of funicular railways,
2. THE PENANG HILL RAILWAY(2010), by Khoo Salma Nasution, Penang Heritage Trust,

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Penang water usage

Penangites use an average 285 litres of water each daily in 2008, the highest compared with people in other states, Penang is the NO 1 state for water consumption. The other top water states in 2008 are Johor (207 litres), Selangor (234), Kedah (236), Negeri Sembilan (239) and Malacca (268). The standard fixed by the United Nations (UN) is 165 litres per person daily. Penang consumption exceeded UN standard by 120 litres, the excess is only short by 45 litres from UN standard per person daily. This revealed that some of Penang people have used twice the UN standard, the water consumption for 2 people, twice the required consumption per person. The other 120 litres are all wasted.

If you use simple calculation:

Population 1,578,000( est in 2009)
Consumption per person 285 per litre
Total water consumption daily 449,730,000 litres
UN Standard 165 per litre 260,370,000 litres
Wastage per day 189,360,000 litres

The water we have wasted and can be saved is 189,360,000 litres per day, imagine how much water you can saved per year!......

Penang Chief Miniter, as Chairman of Penang Water Supply Corporation, said although the state did not experience water shortage, Penangites should use water with care due to the hot spell sweeping across the country. "Penang is facing a big problem as there is a lot of water wastage," he said. Will the Penang people be proud to be NO 1 water consumption and wastage in Malaysia?... I am not proud of that record, I rather go for the NO 1 water conservation state in Malaysia.

The lowest water tariff

Lim said the high water usage by Penangites could be due to the tariff of 31 sen per cubic metre, the lowest compared with the other states. Penang's water tariff is also the lowest in the country at 31 sen per cubic metre. Johor, which is currently facing water shortage, has the highest rate at 98 sen for the first 35 cubic metres for domestic supply. Some said our water tariff is one of the lowest in the world.

Penang people should be thankful to the state for providing us the cheap water rate, and not to take opportunity to waste water because the water is cheap. However, if we continue waste our water resources, if the water authority have to raise the water tariff to reduce water wastage, Penang people must not blame the state government, because we did not value the cheap water supplies we have in the state.


Penang water supply has come a long way since 1804, the first water supply was from the waterfall in Botanical Garden. The waterfall is still flowing today, thanks to the rich catchment area surrounding the waterfall. But the water from waterfall now is not sufficient for Penang population. The state sourced the water supply mainly from Kedah, the Sungai Muda. We must not take things for granted, as the clean water in the state was the effort of many who had contributed to state water supply, and today we can enjoy the low water tariff. Let us know some of the history.....

1804- Capt FRANCIS Light commissioned the development of the first simple water supply and distribution system in the Settlement of Penang Island (then known as the Prince of Wales Island). It was the first of its kind in the country and was able to cater for the need of the 10,000 odd population on the Island. Convict labour was to construct an aqueduct of brick to transport clear stream water from the hills to town. Earthen pipes were laid under the streets and water taken from them through tin pipes to homes.

Water was sourced from the waterfall in the Penang Botanic Garden and supplied via a long brick aqueduct to the town. Earthenware pipes were laid through the streets as distribution pipes to the individual houses.

1877 - The bricks in the aqueduct were often dislodged and the aqueduct was eventually replaced with a cast iron main in 1877. This cast iron main is on record as the first water main in Malaysia and traces of it can still be found in the Penang water supply network.

1892 - ALTHOUGH water was abundant and generally of a good quality, there were insufficient pressure and the water in rainy weather was charged with sand and silt. Hence, there was a need to construct a reservoir to store and supply clean water, when the river water by passed after heavy rain. The Waterfall Reservoir- the first reservoir in Settlement of Penang Island was constructed and completed in 1894. Another reservoir in Air Itam was built in 1914 for the same purpose.

1900 - UNIVERSAL Water metering system was introduced in Penang. By early 1900s, water was no longer delivered untreated directly from the source to homes. Water began to be treated before distribution. This came about as a result of an International movement in developed nations that required the treatment of drinking water to prevent the outbreak of water-borne diseases such as chorela, typhoid, and dysentery. As a British colony, Malaya and the Borneo territories, Malaysia now, benefited from this development in water supply. It paved the way for water treatment engineers to design and construct filtration and water treatment plants. Initially, slow sand filters, which were inexpensive and easy to build, were adopted. They were
later replaced with modern rapid gravity filtration plants.

1919 - A WATER Department within the George Town City Council was established, headed by a Municipal Water Engineer, Mr.J. D. Fettes. In the 1920's, a notable achievement by the department was the development of water resources on the north side of the Island, where a 7km pipelines was built inside a tunnel. A 600mm diameter pipelines brought water from the streams of the Batu Ferringi Valley to a service reservoir in Tanjung Bungah, known as Guillemard Reservoir.

1929 - PENANG’S first water treatment plant at Air Itam commenced its operations.

1962 - PENANG'S first dam, the Air Itam Dam, was officially opened by the (then) Governor of Penang, TYT Y.M.Raja Tun Uda Al-Haj bin Raja Muhammad.

1973 - ON JANUARY 1,1973, Pihak Berkuasa Air Pulau Pinang (PBA), a state statutory authority was established. The role of authority was to supply treated water within the State of Penang (both the island and the mainland). Prior to PBA's establishment, water supply on the island was under the jurisdiction of the George Town City Council whilst the Public Works Department (JKR) supplied water on the mainland. THE MUDA River Water Scheme was initiated, with its Phase I consisting of the construction of a barrange at Bumbung Lima, a pumping station at Lahar Tiang, a treatment plant at Sungai Dua and a submarine pipeline to Penang which was completed at the costs of RM42 million. The Scheme was subsequently augmented under Phase 2A with a further expenditure of RM 12 million to increase supply to 2504.57 million litres a day.

1985 - PENANG'S second dam, the Mengkuang Dam was officially opened by the (then) Yang Di Pertua Negeri Pulau Pinang, TYT Tun Datuk Dr Haji Awang bin Hassan on December 14, 1985. Located on the mainland, the dam has a catchment area of 3.9sq km and a gross storage capacity of 23.6 billion litres ( almost 10 times the capacity of the Air Itam Dam).

1999 - PBA WAS CORPORATISED into Perbadanan Bekalan Air Pulau Pinang Sdn Bhd, (PBAPP)a private limited company established under the Companies Act 1965, and wholly owned by the State Government of Pulau Pinang through its investment arm, State Secetary Penang. PBAPP was granted on operating licence pursuant to Section 16 of the Water Supply Enactment 1988 to operate as the water supplier in the State of Penang. Under Section 4 (2) of the Penang Water Authority (successor Company) Enactment 198, selected immovable property including buildings, reservoirs, treatment plants and all superstructures and infrastructure directly related to operations of PBAPP was transferred from PBA to PBAPP. However, immovable property which were deemed strategic in nature and of national interest(including dams, recreation areas, catchment lands, canals and water mains), remained under the purview of the State Government.

2002 - On April 18, 2002 PBA Holdings Bhd made its debut on the Bursa Malaysia Main Board with a 40 sen premium over its initial public offer(IPO) price of RM1.30. PBA Holdings Bhd was the most heavily traded counter for that day.

PENANG'S third dam, the Teluk Bahang Dam, was completed as scheduled at a cost of RM135 million. It was launched by the Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia,YAB Dato' Seri Abdullah bin Haji Ahmad Badawi on November 26, 1999. The capacity of the Teluk Bahang Dam, at 19.24 billion litres, is approximately 8 times that of the Air Itam Dam. The key benefits of the latest dam include increasing in-state water storage capacity, providing strategic storage for emergency use (especially during the dry season ) and the creation of a new green recreational area for the people and tourists in Teluk Bahang.


Water Supply

Most of Penang Island water comes from the mainland from Sungai Muda in Kedah. Penang is dependent on other states for water and has no control over development activities in other states – The bulk (About 80 %) of Penang's treated water are obtained from the Muda and Kulim river catchments both of which are located in Kedah. As such, Penang cannot control activities outside its borders, even when such activities can adversely affect water resources. This is not a very comforting and secure situation. Penang needs to ensure the future security of water resources. Currently, it is depending too much on other states and it has no control over activities in neighbouring states. Currently, the State’s water resources are being threatened by indiscriminate development of catchment areas (within and outside Penang State); reduced rainfall amounts in recent years, water pollution, increasing demand, conflicting land uses, and fragmented management(ref:letter to Chief Minister, Water Watch Penang, 2008).

Dams in Penang

Penang state have 3 main dams, Air Itam, Mengkuang, Teluk Pahang.

1.Air Itam Dam
Air Itam Dam was the first dam built in Penang. It is located 700 feet above sea level in the water catchment area surrounded by Penang Hill and Paya Terubong, at Air Itam just behind Kek Lok Si temple. The Ayer Itam Dam was the first major engineering project to be undertaken by the City Council of George Town after the independence of Malaya. It cost M$15 million, and construction took place between 1958 and 1962. It could hold 2.6 billion litres of water. The dam was officially opened by the former Governor, Raja Tun Uda Al-Haj bin Raja Muhamad on 8 December 1962.

2. Mengkuang Dam
Mengkuang Dam is only dam in Province Wellesley, Penang state, and open in 1985. It is located outside Bukit Mertajam town on the way to Penanti. The dam is located in the Mengkuang Valley north of Bukit Mertajam on the mainland. It was officially opened by the former Governor, Dr. Tun Awang Hassan in 1985. The gross storage capacity of 23.639 billion litres ( almost 10 times the capacity of the Air Itam Dam)

3. Teluk Pahang Dam

Teluk Bahang Dam is the largest dam on Penang Island. It was built to provide an alternative source of water supply to the Ayer Itam Dam and the Botanic Gardens Waterfall. It is located on the southern part of Teluk Bahang. The Teluk Bahang Dam was completed in 1999. The Teluk Bahang Dam is often used as the venue for international dragon boat races. The capacity of the Teluk Bahang Dam, at 19.24 billion litres, is approximately 8 times that of the Air Itam Dam.

The other smaller dams are Bukit Panchor Dam( situated in Nibong Tebal, Seberang Perai Selatan.), Berapit Dam(situated near Berapit, Bukit Mertajam), Cherok Tok Kun Dam (situated in Bukit Mertajam, Seberang Perai Tengah it is less than 23 km from Butterworth town).

On water level at three dams in the state, he said Air Itam Dam was at 84 percent capacity and capable of supplying water for 100 days.

Mengkuang Dam was at 95 percent capacity capable of supplying water for 166 days and Teluk Bahang at 86 percent capacity capable of supplying water for 276 days.

However, the water supply from Muda River and Penang's three dams namely the Air Itam, Teluk Bahang and Mengkuang were enough to last from 100 to 276 days, even without a rainfall over the next few months.

The Chief Minister, Lim GE said "Penangites need not worry as water supply in the state is still adequate to meet daily needs,".

Penang Reservoirs

1. The Guillemard Reservoir, also known as the Penang Reservoir

Guillemard Reservoir is a reservoir built on a hillside in Vale of Tempe, Penang, 246 feet above sea level. Now officially known as Kolam Air Guillemard, it was named after Sir Laurence Guillemard, who was the Governor of the Crown Colony of the Straits Settlements from 1920 to 1927. The reservoir comprises two equal size ponds with two cupolas. Due to its shape like a pair of spectacles, the Guillemard Reservoir became known in Hokkien as "Bak Knia Tee", meaning Spectacle Pond. They were designed in the Art Deco style, and constructed in 1929. The waterworks engineer heading the project was J.D. Fettes, whose name is immortalised in Fettes Park. The Guillemard Reservoir (both South and North) has a storage capacity of 34,452 cu.m.

2. Bukit Dumbar Reservoir

Bukit Dumbar is a man-made hill built over an underground reservoir. It is located in Jelutong, or rather, at the border of Jelutong and Gelugor. Since the 1960's, Bukit Dumbar also doubles as a recreational park. The Bukit Dumbar Reservoir comprises three separate
reservoirs, each with a capacity ranging from more than 36,000 cu.m. to more than 45,000 cu.m. It caters for the population within the South area of Penang Island.

3. Waterfall Reservoir

Waterfall Reservoir is Penang's first reservoir. The oval-shaped reservoir of the Penang Waterfall was constructed in the gardens in 1892 by British engineer James MacRitchie, who was also responsible for the MacRitchie Reservoir in Singapore, built in 1894. The Penang reservoir was reconstructed in 1950. Today, only a small proportion of the Penang water supply comes from the waterfall reservoir — approximately 10–15% of the population obtain their water from here, while most of the island's water supply comes from Sungai Muda, on the border of Penang and Kedah.

4. Air Itam Reservoir

Near the round about leading to Penang Hill, at the hill off Air Itam Road. The first water treatment plant in 1929.

Water Saving Tips

Please follow these 33 tips to save money, protect our environment and use a critical resource responsibly, now and in the future.
1. Avoid using a hose as far as possible.
2. Wash your car or motorcycle less often. Wipe dirt off with a damp cloth instead.
3. When you need to wash your car or motorcycle with water, try using a bucket and a piece of cloth or sponge.
4. When you cannot avoid using a hose, install a turn-off nozzle on the end of the hose to adjust the water flow and turn the water off and on.
5. Replace all hoses which are leaking immediately.
6. Water your plants with a watering can.
7. Water from your fish tank and water which is used to clean food can be re-cycled to water plants.
8. Water your plants at the roots, not the leaves or flowers.
9. Water your plants in the morning or evening, when there is less evaporation.
10. Clean your porch and driveway with a broom and dust pan.
11. When cleaning your home, mop the floor instead of splashing water.
12. Never leave the tap running.
13. Turn the tap off when soaping, brushing your teeth or shaving. Only turn it on when rinsing your hands or face.
14. When bathing, turn off the tap when soaping your body or applying shampoo. Better still, take shorter showers.
15. When bathing your children or pets, only fill the tub with as much water as needed.
16. Make sure all taps are shut properly after use.
17. Teach your children to shut taps properly.
18. Fill your sink to wash and rinse food.
19. Fill your sink to wash your dishes and cutleries.
20. Use a microwave oven to defrost frozen food instead of running water. You can also de-frost food “naturally” by leaving it outside the refrigerator for awhile.
21. Do not leave the water running when washing clothes by hand. Fill buckets for washing and rinsing.
22. If you can afford it, a new energy-efficient washing machine can save water, and cut down on your water and electricity bills.
23. When using a washing machine, try to wash only when there is a full load.
24. If you have to use your washing machine with a smaller load, set a lower water level as required.
25. Pre-soak dirty clothes with stubborn stains before washing to avoid repeated washings.
26. If your clothes are not so dirty, set a shorter washing cycle.
27. The latest “dual flush” toilet systems can save up to 10 litres per flush compared to older systems. Usually a half flush (3-4 litres) will do the job.
28. Don’t use the toilet to flush tissues or rubbish. Put it in the rubbish bin.
29. Check your toilet system for leaks. Pour some food dye into the tank and leave it for 15 minutes. If the water in the bowl is coloured, repair or replace the flush system.
30. Install aerators on all your faucets to reduce water flow.
31. Check all your taps and pipes for leaks regularly.
32. Repair all leaks immediately. If a tap is leaking at one drop per second, it will leak 10,218 litres per year.
33. Please call 04-509 6 509 to report leaks at roadside mains or pipes.


Even Penang do not need to worry of water shortage. Penang people, being the NO 1 consumption of water, need to take the tips from Penang Water Supply Corporation, and Water Watch Penang, to save water commencing from today. Penang may be the NO1 consumption of water, but did Penang become the NO 1 productive consumption of water. We hope that the Penang Water Supply Corporation, do not need to implement a forced rationing of piped water supply in Penang, or increase the water tariffs, to compel Penangites to reduce excessive water consumption.

We, Penang people should take our responsibility and initiative , to start saving water, to ensure that there will not be any water shortage and wastage in Penang.

This is one of the ways to love Penang. Be thankful for what we have today, cheap rate and abundant supply of water.

We start from TODAY. Penang boleh.....

Related articles/websites:

1. Water Watch Penang (WWP) ,
2. Penang Water Supply Corporation,
4. Penang considering water rationing to reduce water consumption(2010), by Regina William , The Edge, Thursday, 18 February 2010;
5. Botanical Garden Waterfall,
6. Help save the dams(2008),
7. Water & Environment in Penang;

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Penang Communication: State affairs

Communication is a process of transferring information from one entity to another, it may be interpersonal, or between organizations, it may be from one person to masses. Communication is commonly defined as "the imparting or interchange of thoughts, opinions, or information by speech, writing, or signs". Although there is such a thing as one-way communication, communication can be perceived better as a two-way process in which there is an exchange and progression of thoughts, feelings or ideas (energy) towards a mutually accepted goal or direction (information).(source: wikipedia)

Politician required mass media to communicate to their supporters; especially opposition government need to have communication channels to communicate their policies to the people. In a hostile communication environment when all mass media are controlled by the rival ruling party, a smart strategy is required.

The internet technology make non-traditional communication channels, like youtube, facebook, blogs, available for controlled communication environment. The opposition or people in controlled environment are able to covey their message to the masses. This is strategic advantage to the communication environment. We do not need to depend on newspaper, Radio, TV, to communicate to desired masses.

Recently there are many controversial issues in state politic, they may have hidden political agenda to topple the state government. The state government need to have official communication policies and strategies to counter the attack on the state government and Chief Minister. Other than through the websites and personal blogs of the Chief Minister; there must be close dialogue with the people, the two way communication and even one way communication will help.

As a C.A.T. government, the element of transparent and disclosure is critical to enable the people from the Penang state to understand the government.

To avoid communication noise or pollution, there must be a spokesman on state policy matter,where the official communication from the state government, not all state exco can disclose or communication on state matter, unless approval is granted by the relevant authority. This is to avoid conflict or wrong information given.

It will be better an arrangement for the Chief Minister to communicate with people once a month, through the Chief Minister meeting with the reporters from mass media, this will enable the people from the state to understand the state policies, plans, events, performance, and conflicts solution rightly disclose to the people. This will avoid the interested parties to use baseless ground to create unnecessary commotion or conflict with the state government. The information on monthly dialogue with the reporters can be transmit to the people by other non-traditional mass media, e.g. state government official web sites, local newspapers, youtubes, Chief Minister and state assemblyman's personal blogs etc

An open communication environment will be created for the Penang state. The malicious local press will not able to take advantage of the innocent people to spread political rumors to spoil the image of state government.

Any defamation on state government should be legally attended to until the culprits is charged in court, to avoid further damage to the state government, and opportunity to create riot or threats to otherwise peaceful people.

The frequent communication to the police is also encourage, this is to create awareness of the police on the state affair; it is also provide a clear recorded documentary evidence, if any interested party is to defame the state government using baseless ground. The police has no excuse not to take action when they know the actual situation of state affair. Police need to be fair and unbiased, otherwise the respect from the people will be missing.

The monthly dialogue by the Chief Minister can have invited guests, other than the reporters. Many people from different background will like to know the state affair.

Hoping that will at least reduce the misunderstanding and avoid unnecessary commotion.

The Penang people need a stable political environment that is constructive and positive. We do not like any communication noise. We do not like the Chief Minister and the state government to be attack unnecessary. The state government is elected by the people, he need to serve all people, not only small group of people. He is the representative of the majority people who voted him, any attack on the Chief Minister senselessly and personally is an attack to the Penang people. There is always a proper channel for the grievance. A respect of democracy is the using of proper channel for conveying the complaints, feedback and views. Any waste of time by state government to tackle baseless accusation, is the waste of people's money, and state government's time.

This will annoy the silence majority. Please do not annoy the majority who are not politically linked, they are clear on the current situation. They may able to act anytime ....they want peace and the right environment for investment and tourism, not to take care of just a small group of people. The street environment need to be clean, we cannot allow hawkers in anywhere of the state; our river need to be clean, the beach need to be clean,for the benefit of the international tourists; the heritage need to be conserved; they do no want corruption; they want transparency, they want public order and secured environment ....there are so much work need to be done, why rock the boat?.... the Penang people want the state government to work for the people, for the benefits of the people; not to waste time to tackle on the baseless accusation.

The opposition need to be constructive and communicate their opposing views with solid base for the benefit of the people, the alternative view of the state policies or the weaknesses of the policies and their implementation. Not malice personality attack. You cannot accuse a person is a communist, without giving evidences to indicate or support your accusation that he is a communist. That is baseless, you need to provide the reason and support with incidents that when he act like a communist.

Please communicate with each others,and be professionally as matured politician....after all we have been independence since 1957, a model for a developing nations. We do not expected our politician to behave unethically. There is always a state assembly for you as representative of people to express your opposing views. Not necessary to hide behind and create unstable environment for political benefit for own self.

Please keep Penang politic clean ..... we are democratic country...for the Penang people, please remember the names of the people who are opportunists, create unnecessary chaotic situation; remember them and their master in the next election, as they have waste our tax money.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Animal Farm in Penang politic

The Penang politic recently was very dramatic, almost like the Perak state before the downfall of the opposition state government. The Political scene is like an animal farm, where all types of political animals are out to show off their acting skills to their master.

We have CAT who are doing their best to catch RAT, and other pests; we have BAT who suddenly come out without any reason or logic. There was business BAT who are trying to be the hero to impress his animal kingdom, or the master hidden behind. May be the kingdom's election is coming and they are trying to impress, and reveal to other animals their acting skills....

There are stray cats in the street, who have forgotten where his support come from. He has forgot the purpose of become a politician, for serving people or for serving self. May be he want to be a lonely cat, he cannot work with other cat in the kingdom of cat. He will soon be a lonely street cat. They have lost their political direction.

There are cat who are very self centered, like Garfield, an arrogant cat. He may look like he is the only righteous cat in the world, sometime he over shadow the owner. May be he is the owner's representative or spokesman.

The ducks, who always tell the world, they want to change the animal farm to be more democratic, more clean,more better. They did not select their leaders property, just to make up the numbers during the animal council election. But the Tsunami changed the political climate of animal farm, resulted in many ducks elected to the animal council. Some of the opportunists also elected to animal council. Many of these opportunist ducks have become frogs, rats, bats and not fulfilling their promise to the people and their potential to shake the animal farm. They failed the mandate of the animals who elected them. The duck community can't even control their duck siblings, how are they going to change the animal farm? they are still continuing their making noise, but the sound become weaker each day. If they are not careful, they will soon face the same fate as ostrich, who did not select their candidates properly. May be duck community should learn from the Singapore animal farm,how they select their candidates.

Frogs are still waiting for their jump, to show off their skills of jumping from the water.....

The Deer, strong animal who can run fast, may be small in number, but big in Kelantan and Kedah. They are playing their role well in the state; but recently their siblings is planning to have dialogue with the phoenix.

The Ostrich is still hiding their head in the desert sand, and wonder why they lost the last election. They are no longer talking about serving the people. They are acting like an opposition, some even did not appear in the kingdom, and hibernate. Serving people can be in the role as opposition, that is the role which they never learn from the opposition, they only learn the tactic of attacking the ruling government. Even you lost the election, you still can serve the people, if you really want to become a politician.

Crow is the bird that move around Penang, an indication of dirty places, as dirty as the politic of animal farm. They only make annoying sound when they want food. They are hiding at the tree top or hanging wire, and ready to attack the cat whenever they have chance, or on order from the crows of other states. They are good in attacking stray cats. The crows are blind to their color, they want to be like phoenix, and dreaming of become phoenix one day. Some did it, others are excited that there are possibilities, they even invited their crow siblings form India to explore on the opportunity. Suddenly you see many Indian crows enter animal farm and disappeared. They are working in Nasi Kandar restaurants all over the animal farm. They have start their big mouth, making too much sound pollution in the animal politic.

The BAT are still around, in the animal community. They may befriend crows, phoenix, and sparrow; and come out from nowhere.....

The Phoenix, the king of the bird family. You cannot touch their feathers, they are sensitive to all stimulus. They are the privileged, with their beautiful color. The envy of the animal kingdom. But the problem is they are not able to feed for themselves. Whenever they are not happy,they will show off their color, that they are the king of this animal kingdom, they deserve the best treatment. Otherwise all the phoenix will gather and show off their color in front of animal court.... I wonder is phoenix a real bird?.....

The Pandas had lost their seat in animal council long long time ago. There was once one pandas who work very hard, but lost the election. This year the voice of ang ku kui is weaker now. But he is still very localized politician. The pandas in the national level is very chaotic,as dirty as Sungei Pinang(Penang River), so the pandas in the state is still in dilemma. Other than occasionally on the issue of Penang port, the pandas will still happy to eat their bamboo shoots quietly. May be since the ostrich had lost completely in the animal council, the return of their day seems bright. The pandas is protected species as they are once the founder of animal farm. They are still dreaming of their founding days with the Phoenix and the lions. But some young phoenix now are denying the fact and history of animal farm, this make their chances of coming back to animal council slim.

Sparrow is a small bird, waiting for some food left over by the other animals. They do not have a seat in the animal council; but is fighting for a seat, and hoping one day they will achieve their dream. But they may be used by some animals, to disturb the ecological balance of the animal farm, they are waiting for their chances. Please don't look down at their size, they are waiting to become big.... one day.....

The Cows are now very close to the CAT; they have make history in former city council election, may be they are waiting for another history, the coming city council election when Penang island become a city. Some old cows become businessmen, and are very close to the phoenix.

The new animal that say they are the only one who really love the animal farm. They are new, and no previous record to show they love the animal farm. They are small, but seems to move with confident. They are very friendly with the frogs, may be they are living in the river together, they are tempting the frogs to join them. May be they are dreaming of taking over from ostrich.... They are the river snake, may be....dangerous tools for hidden hand in the animal farm. They are waiting lazily in the swamp and to strike whenever any animal is not alert. The river snake can eat frog also lah.....

Even this is tiger year, there is not many tiger in the state. But there is an old Jelutong tiger, this year is his year. He is more active in court fight, he is also training his clubs to be like him. Two clubs are waiting to take over his place one day, more tiger roars may be heard in the coming years. They will frighten the rat, bat, crows away?

The lion clubs are a quite one, as the lion king had been defeated in Shell River. This type of animal is not local animal, only tiger is local animal. I wonder why members of animal farm named him lion, as he did not roar as lion, not even now. They should have named the community tiger, but now it is too late, otherwise they will breach the copy right of Jelutong tiger. Sooner or later, the lion clubs will join the tigers and learn the real roar....

Just pray that in the tiger year, these political animals will not make Penang politic as dirty and chaotic as their street and their traffic.

Gong Xi Fa Cai, all the members of animal kingdom...make Penang clean....

Friday, February 12, 2010

Penang Police

The first police force was established in Penang.

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. The Malaysian police is going to celebrate the 203 anniversary on 25-3-2010.

Early Penang
On August 11, 1786, Francis Light came to Penang and named the island as Prince of Wales Island. The population in Penang at that time was small and Malay fishermen made up most of the population. Three years later, the population increased to 10,000 peoples as more immigrants came to Penang. Francis Light found the need to set up a police force to safeguard the security in Penang. He pleaded his case to his superiors in India but it was not well received.

Later, his superiors promoted him to the rank of Superintendent and was instructed to work alone. The public order was handled by the East Indian Companies and its military arms.

The first prison in Penang was Fort Cornwallis. Francis Light landed in Penang in 1786, he first built the fort with nibong palm; 3 years later in 1789 he rebuilt the fort with the import convict labor. He built the fort with bricks with the same star shaped layout and size. The country's first gurdwara(sikh temple) was housed, for Sikh paramilitary personnel stationed in Penang. It was the military and administration base for the British East India Company. The first prison was there. The Fort Cornwallis was reported used until around 1811. The Sikh paramilitary personnel may be unofficially Penang first police(they are not actually but a military force of soldiers).

In 1787, several riots occurred in Penang. Several European sailors were involved and 2 Siamese were killed. Francis Light wrote a letter to the Governor of General East Indian Company, Sir Lord Cornwallis in India to form new laws and form a single police force in the island but the case was also rejected.

1792 Kapitan
However, with his wisdom, in 1792, Francis Light appointed a community leader, named "Capitan" for each race, Malay, Chinese and Chulia (people from South India). They act as a magistrate in small cases. Certain cases will be carried forward to the Superintendent. Each Capitan is in charge to govern some districts, facilitated with 5 "peons". These peons could be regarded as maiden police constables similar to today lower rank police officers.

Their tasks and responsibilities of the police at that time included a variety of administration control such as water supply, registration of births, fire prevention and jail duties. However, their primary designated job function is executor of the law.

However, the Europeans became increasingly arrogant as they were independent from the local laws. In 1793, when a European got involved in a murder case, Francis Light cannot act because he had no authority to act against the Europeans. He sent another appeal to the English East India Company Director to form an official single police force but to no avail. On October 21, 1794, he passed away and replaced by Major Forbes Ross Macdonald in 1796. Later, Col. Arthur Wellesley stopped at Penang during his journey to Manila. He noted the matters in connection with the safety of Penang and urged the Crown to appoint a magistrate.

1794 First Magistrate

Mr Manington arrived as the first magistrate in 1794, just after the death of Francis Light;

1800 First Judge

On April 19, 1800, Sir George Leith arrived in Penang to hold the new position as Lieutenant-General. Four months later, John Dicken was appointed as the first Judge or Hakim in Malay language.

1804 Governor appointed & 1805 Council Hall established

In early 1804, Sir William Farquhar arrived in Penang to replace Sir George Leith as the Lieutenant-General. However, the police force at the time was still weak. In the year 1805, all Penang administration was reshuffled again and the island status was enhanced. A Governor was appointed and Council Hall was established.

1807 - First Police Force was formed by Charter

On March 25, 1807, a "Charter" was accepted. Hereby Penang was able to form a Court Of Justice and form a better police force based on the Charter of Justice. The Malay called the police, "mata-mata". Mata is the Malay word with the meaning for eyes. May be the police at that time are the eyes for the colonial government. The early Chinese called police "po-le(taken directly from the English word, police)" or "ma-ta(as called by the Malay, but with one word)".

First Police Force & Police Station

Police force of Penang only formed in 1807 when King George III awarded Penang "Charter of Justice" to form police force and the Court of Justice.

We do no know where was the first police station; the police camp may be at Sepoy Lines Road,near the General Hospital with other military forces? or is it at Chowrasta line, Penang Road in 1811? Penang Prison was built in 1849.

The earlier record of central police station was at the current Immigration office building, built in 1890. Both buildings, Immigration office(police station) and state assembly building(police court) were part of the police complex. Today, the police station is reduced to a small building facing Beach Street with staff quarter behind it.

Note: Police justice, or Police magistrate, a judge of a police court(minor court to try person bought before it by police).

Prior to 1807,the police function to keep public order was handled by East Indian Company,and their military army.

1811 - Chowrusta Lines

The first convict prison was a place called Chowrusta Lines located at Penang Road(believed is located at today's Chowrasta Market). However as the convicts from India was increasing, the Chowusta Lines was found to be too small. Another larger jail was erected on the opposite side of the Chowusta Lines(believed to be today's Penang Police headquarter).

1824 The Anglo-Dutch Treaty

The Anglo-Dutch Treaty of 1824 resulted in British given up Bencoolen of Sumatra, but took over Malacca from Dutch. In 1825, the convicts from Bencoolen were transported and added to the existing convicts in Penang. The Jail in Penang Road was not able to cater for the need.

1826 Strait Settlement Police

British East India Company control of Singapore in 1819 changed the history of Malaya. Singapore Police was established on the same year, 1819. The island progressed rapidly and Malacca and Penang were left behind. The development also involved the police force. In 1826, the three British colonies in Malaya were united with Penang as the administration centre. In 1830, the Straits Settlements administrations were reduced to residents and were placed under the Bengal Resident when Robert Fullerton became the Resident. Each province is governed by a Deputy Resident.

1832- capital of Strait Settlement moved from Penang to Singapore

1832, the Straits Settlements were united,this time the administration was headed by a Governor. The administration centre changed to Singapore. The Deputy Residents were appointed as Resident Counselors.

In 1832, the capital of strait settlement moved from Penang to Singapore, all prison administration was under control from Singapore. In 1833, slavery was abolished. The fresh convicts were still sent from Penang to Malacca in 1840(This provided support that the Penang prison was not large for incoming convicts, the excess convicts were sent to Malacca, the new Penang prison was built after the 1840. After 1860, no more convict jail in Penang. Penang Prison was built in 1849.

1872 - Police Force Ordinance 1871 was implemented

The power exchange of Straits Settlements from India to the British Government in the year 1867, though important to the history of Malaya, did not affect the constitution of Straits Settlements Police Forces immediately. Four years later, Police Force Ordinance 1871 were amended. This ordinance was operative in 1872 and used until the arrival of the Japanese. With effect, all police forces in the Straits settlements were under the control of a chief police headquarted in Singapore. Penang and Malacca were led by a Superintendent who act as the Chief Police officer.

The police in Singapore,Penang and Malacca was under the Chief Police of Strait Settlement in Singapore. The first Police Chief of Strait Settlement was Colonel Samuel Dunlop,who later become Acting Lieutenant Governor of Penang from 1884-1885. Dunlop Road in Penang was named after him.

1872 Captain Speedy or Capt Tristram Charles Sawyer Speedy(b 1836 - d 1911)
Captain Speedy, Superintendent of Police, Penang, arrived in Penang by the steam mailer T and resumed his duty relieving Captain Berger, of HM 10th Regiment, who proceed to Hong Kong by the same mail to rejoin his regiment. Mr R.W.Maxwell who had been Acting Assistant Superintendent of Police in Penang, will go to Singapore as Acting Superintendent of Police, Singapore(The Straits Times, 27 April 1872, Page 4). He resigned in 1873 to raise and command a body of Indian troops to restore order in Larut, a Malayan mining district, for the Mentri (Chief Minister) Ngah Ibrahim. In 1874 after Pangkor Treaty 1874, Capt Speedy was appointed assistant British resident of Larut and established and named Malaysia’s oldest town, ‘Thaipeng’, meaning ‘Heavenly Peace’. He remained there until 1877.

Major John Frederick Adolphus McNair (b 1828-d 1910)
Major John Frederick Adolphus McNair (b 1828-d 1910)was the first Comptroller of Indian Convicts from 1857 to 1873. Capt McNair wrote a book with the title “Prisoners their own warders” assisted by W.D.Bayliss, it was published in 1899. It provide a chapter on Penang. But no mention of Penang Jail in the book. Capt Mc Nair was credited for building of many public building in the strait settlement period. One of it was the Istana Singapore,the oldest part of the Empress Place Building , St Andrews Cathedral and Tao Nan School, all in Singapore. In 1872, he was appointed as the first head of JKR or Jabatan Kerja Raya or Public Work Department ( In 1875, he was appointed as Chief Commissioner for the Pacification of Larut in Perak. In 1881-1884, he was the acting resident councillor of Penang, but appointed Resident Councillor in 1884 but it was reported he resigned due to illness in the same year. The McNair Street in Penang was named after him.

Note: Major McNair and Colonel Samuel Dunlop were the member of British team in the Treaty of Pangkor 1874 ; and later both of them also in the Commission of Pacification of Larut in 1875. Captain Speedy was the Commander of Indian Troop for Ngah Ibrahim. The three people were historical figures at Pangkor Treaty in 1874.

So before 1872, police force in Penang was still not strong.

1890 - The central police station was built

The central police station was at the corner of Beach Street/Light Street. It was built in 1890. Both buildings, the central police station(the current Immigration office) and Police Court(the current state assembly building) were part of the police complex.

Light Street(po-le-khau)

Light street is also called po-le-khau(Police 口),which literally means entrance to the police court. The local Chinese called judge as po-le-chu in Hockkien dialect. Po-le is the polluted term for English word police, there was a police court at Light Street. In the early Penang, the military from East India Company is the only uniform unit which function as army as well as police. There was no separation of duty between army and police. They are called po-le or police by the local. Some of the top military leader like Capt Francis Light act as judge in the police court. The local used the term po-le-chu for judge,which literally mean the master or leader of the police. Light Street is called po-le-khau,literally means entrance to the police court, as there was a police court at the beginning of Light Street, the current state assembly building. The central police station was at the current Immigration office building(built in 1890). Both buildings, Immigration office and state assembly building were part of the police complex.

Note: Police justice, or Police magistrate, a judge of a police court(minor court to try person bought before it by police).

Malayan Union Police

By year end 1945 and early 1946, the British side tried to set up a constitution of "Malayan Union" that has been planned in London. Although there were violent oppositions for this plan considered as efforts exchange Malay states position to a country home, this plan discharged at 1 April 1946. In accordance with this development, on the same date name "Civil Affairs Police Force, Malay Peninsula" was converted to Malayan Union Police Force. Staff, policy and organisation it make follow-up from what were founded under CAPE(Civil Affair Police Force) found by HB Longworthy appointed as Police Chief and his deputy is DP MacNamara.

Independence Malaya 31-8-1957-Malayan police& Malaysian Police

A new police for the new nation known as Federation Of Malayan Police. Penang police become part of the new police force. Tan Sri Sir Claude Fenner (1958 - 1966) was the first Chief Police Officer. It was granted the Royal status on 24-7-1958 by DYMM Seri Paduka Baginda Yang di-Pertuan Agong, Almarhum Tuanku Abdul Rahman Ibni Almarhum Tuanku Muhamad. The police force is known as "Royal Federation Of Malayan Police". Almost a year after Independence Day, on July 24, 1958, the King of Malaysia, Tuanku Abdul Rahman Ibni Almarhum Tuanku Muhamad, bestowed the title Royal to the Malayan Federations Police Force. In 1963, the Royal Federation of Malayan Police (RFMP), the North Borneo Armed Constabulary and the Sarawak Constabulary were merged to form the Royal Malaysian Police or PDRM(Polis DiRaja Malaysia).

Penang Jail or Penang Gaol(1849)

Located at Gaol Road or Jalan Penjara, occupied at triangular site bordered by Dato Kramat Road/Jalan Utama; and the side and entrance with Gaol Road. This is a civil jail, but some convicts without command or lines were accepted into it.

Early Police Station in Penang
The first police station - Fort Cornwallis

In 1881, there was one contingent of Sikh Police stationed in the compound of Fort Cornwallis, Penang.

Brick Kiln Road Police Station, 1800
Location unknown, is it near Magazine Depot?

Hutton Lane Police Station 1880

The historic Hutton Lane Police Station built in 1880 . This Police Station is among the earliest police stations built in Penang after the Charter of Justice was introduced in Penang on 25 March 1807. It was also the duty of the Police Force to put out fires then. The police station is no longer there, anyone knew the location?

Carnarvon Street Police station

The police station, with prison. There may be the first prison in Penang attached to police station; which had been demolished. The Penang police station in Penang Road also have prison facility,which was convict prison. Prison was divided into two types, convict prison and local civil prison. 1860 was the year where there was no more penal convict prison. It was reported that there was a local jail in Acheen Street(as per map 1803), I believed that the local prison mentioned was the Carnarvon Street police station's prison. The police station may be built between 1841-1849, prior to 1849 when Penang Prison was built. The prison may had demolished in the 70s. The police station however still remained.

Light Street Police Station, 1883
Location not known, is it the location of the high court?

Beach Street Police Station 1890

The current Immigration office building(built in 1890) was the central police station in 1890. Both buildings, Immigration office and state assembly building( formerly Police Court) were part of the police complex. Today, the police station is reduced only to a small building facing Beach Street with staff quarter behind it. It is just beside Standard Chartered Bank.

Patani Road Police Station - the headquarter of Strait Settlement Police(1927)

In 1927, the headquarters of the Straits Settlements Police was built in Patani Road, Penang. It was located at the corner lot of Patani Road and Dato Kramat Road. A building was also allocated to the Police Sikh contingent personnel to be used as a Gurdwara Sahib.

Pitt Street police station 1929

An old police station was at the end lot of shop house row, near Kuan Yin Temple. The police station had closed. The year of the establishment of the police station was not known.

Penang State Police Headquarter, Penang Road 1937

The Police Headquarters along Penang Road is an Art Deco style building built just before the Second World War in 1937. It was formerly the detective headquarter, Chinese mansion, and out door pharmacy. The front portion and part of section at Phee Choon Street were damaged by the bombing during the WW2(Japanese Occupation), and was subsequently repaired. The Police Headquarters covers a whole block bordered by Penang Road, Dickens Streets, Transfer Road and Phee Choon Road.

This police station also have prison facility for penal coolies, which was initially at the place where the Chowrasta Market was located. It later was moved to current premise.

The Royal Malaysia Police Force today is the primary policing authority of the Malaysian government. It is empowered by law to fulfill the police mission, which is specified under sec. 3 (3) of the Police Act 1967, as follows:

“ The Force, shall subject to the provisions of this Act be employed in and throughout the Federation (including the territorial waters thereof) for the maintenance of law and order, the preservation of the peace and security of the Federation, the prevention and detection of crime, the apprehension and prosecution of offenders and the collection of security intelligence”.

Related articles

1. History of the Royal Malaysian Police,
2. Penang, Malaysia: Digging Into Our History
3. My earlier blog article on Friday, May 15, 2009; Penang Prison(槟城四坎店监狱)
4. Royal Malaysian Police,

Penang's First

Recently there are many organizations, and even countries, want to become the first, the largest, the highest, and all the first in anything. I do not know what is the justification behind it, is it because of nationalism, personal pride, or .....

Some of the first required large financial commitment, other require time and human labour, and wasting the time of students to achieve their first. Is it worth it?

There is no competition for the 1st to donate to Haiti Earthquake, the largest donation country for Haiti earthquake; the cleanest country, the NO 1 in integrity, human right protection, democratic, corruption-free, etc... which is more meaningful.

Penang's first are historical; not purposely created to be first.

Penang had many first, here are the list download from Wikipedia:-

# Penang became the first British outpost in the then Malaya and South East Asia in 1786.
# 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.
# 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.
# Penang Free School founded by Rev. Sparke Hutchings in 1816, is the first and oldest English School in South East Asia.
# 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.
# 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.
# 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.
# 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.
# 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.
# The Penang Turf Club, established in 1864, is Malaysia's oldest horse racing and equestrian centre.
# Standard Chartered Bank, the oldest bank in Malaysia, opened its doors in 1875.
# In 1905 Penang completed its first hydroelectric scheme.
# in 1906 Penang's first electric tramway made its appearance.
# 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.
# 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.
# 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.
# Penang's water rates/tariffs are amongst the lowest in Malaysia (the other being Kelantan).
# Covering 738 km², the Seberang Perai Municipal Council (Majlis Perbandaran Seberang Perai) is the largest local authority in Malaysia.
# The 2,562-hectare Penang National Park in Teluk Bahang gazetted in 2003 is the world’s smallest national park.

These first are the past happenings of historical Penang, a genuine effort of the old Penang people; the heritage assets left for Penang today. It was the accumulation of old wisdom and creativity of Penang's past.