Monday, June 6, 2011

Who is the founder of Penang?

Who actually found Penang?

There was dispute on who actually found Penang, many agreed that historically it was not Captain Francis Light. Who can be classified as Founder of Penang?
Founder, is a person who founds or establishes some institution. Here, the institution is Penang, a political entity of Penang. The founder of Penang, must be the one who established a political institution of Penang, which include a government set up. It cannot be the one who make the Penang island, it was an act of God or geological formation. It cannot be the one who first saw the island, then the founder will be the traders or pirates who passed through the Strait of Malacca. Can it be the one who first put his foot on the earth of the island? He must be the one who landed at the island to obtain water and went for hunting for food in the island for the first time. Recently some said the one who start a village or settlement in the island found Penang, obviously they are not the founder of Penang politically, they may be the first settler in Penang, may be the founder of their village in Penang. They may be Sumatran or Chinese, or even Indian. They were fishermen or farmers; first begin the productive use of resources in Penang. They may be political escapee from their home country, searching for a place to settle, with the intention to return to their home land one day. There was no identification of nation, or any political entity, just a temporary habitat for the settlers. But historically Penang island was under kingdom of Kedah , which was controlled by Siam when Captain Francis Light arrived. Penang was part of Old Kedah, and part of Siam. It may have other names, and not the name of Penang. Whoever settled in the island before Captain Francis Light were the subjects of Old Kedah, the subject of Siam, there was no separate political independent institution.

To a religious person, God is the founder of Penang. The first person who saw the island may be the founder; or the first person who landed in the island; or the first village chief of the island. Whatever the definition of the founder, it is just a narrow definition on specific understanding. But that was not the new modern political institution of Penang. Who found the new modern British Penang?.......

Then who found Penang?
The first mention of Penang by British record was in 1591, by Captain Lancaster, later Sir James Lancaster. In June, Captain Lancaster found a harbor , off Pulau Rimau, to the south of Penang island, the ships anchorage there until August 1591. Captain must had known the island of Penang. But he was not the founder of Penang.
The founder of Penang, must be the one who had politically gained Penang from Old Kedah(its former owner), and systematically planned to develop Penang as a political entity. It may not be a nation; it may be a colony of a country, but a political entity, a political institution. It has a name for the political institution. To Captain Francis Light, who had obtained the island from Kedah, legally (even he may have cheated the sultan on the pretend to protect the Kedah kingdom from Siam), yet it was a legal transfer with treaty, a historical documentary evidence. The document was signed and dated, with a clear intent.

If we checked the history of the island, there was no clear historical written document to reveal any separate political institution, other than it was part of Kedah, and part of Siam. Penang , or at the time Prince of Wales Island was established as British colony of United Kingdom, as separate and independent from Kedah, from Siam. A British Penang, no longer a Kedah’s Penang. The later historical and political events also confirmed the establishment of an independent Prince of Wales Island, later become Penang. The first political institution separate and independent from Kedah , was Prince of Wales Island, a new political institution.

Moreover, the founder of Penang, the name can only be given by the people of Penang, at the historical time....not now....

Captain Francis Light, the founder

Penang was then a new political institution, the first governor of the said new institution was Captain Francis Light. In view of the historical fact as the first, he was known as the “Founder of Penang”.

Captain Francis Light was then the Founder of Penang since 1786, whatever your definition of the word “ Founder”, or whoever you named the founder, Captain Francis Light is the official founder, and the only founder for British Prince of Wales Island of British Indian Company, Penang Island , Penang, Strait Settlement Penang, Japanese occupation Penang, British Malayan Penang, Federation Malayan Penang, Malaysian Penang………and the only official one……..

It was the people at the time; the strait born, the Chinese Peranakan(or Baba Nyonya), the Jawi Peranakan, early Indian workers, early traders, early fishermen, early farmers, and other residents of the British Penang.....who named Captain Francis Light as founder of Penang.

No one can appoint the new founder.....not even the Chief Minister of Penang, who was not even born when Penang(British Penang) was found, historically.

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