Wednesday, August 21, 2013



I wonder if my hometown Kota Baru in Kelantan can beat Penang...

Penang's firsts 

  • Penang became the first British outpost in the then Malaya and Southeast 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 Southeast Asia. But the very first school was a Malay-language school begun by Father Antonio Garnault in 1786 which is known today as St. Xavier's Institution.

  • 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.

  • 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 Southeast Asia.

  • Chung Hwa Confucian School founded by Cheong Fatt Tze in 1904, is 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 (华日报) was founded on 20 December 1910 by Dr. Sun Yat-Sen in Penang.

  • St. Nicholas' Home Penang,a social outreach ministry under the Anglican Church founded in 1926, is first charitable organisation serving the needs of the blind and visually impaired community of Malaysia. St. Nicholas' Home also started the first blind school in Malaysia.

  • 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. (For further discussion on the disputed city status, refer Municipal Council of Penang Island.)

  • George Town together with Malacca Town are the first cities in Malaysia to be granted the UNESCO World Heritage Site status.

  • Penang's water rates/tariffs are amongst the lowest in Malaysia (the other being Kelantan).

  • Covering 738 km2 (285 sq mi), the Seberang Perai Municipal Council (Majlis Perbandaran Seberang Perai) is the largest local authority in Malaysia.

  • The 2,562-hectare (6,330-acre) Penang National Park in Teluk Bahang gazetted in 2003 is the world’s smallest national park.

  • Penang Botanic Gardens, established in 1884, is the first botanic gardens in Malaysia.

  • Phor Tay High School, founded in 1940, is the first Buddhist school in Malaysia.

  • Diocese of Penang, together with Archdiocese of Kuala Lumpur in 1955 is the first Catholic diocese to have a local bishop at helm.

  • College General is the only Catholic seminary in Peninsular Malaysia founded in 1665 in Ayutthya, Thailand and then relocated to Penang in 1808.

  • Penang Island is the only island in Malaysia to be connected to the mainland through land transport when the Penang Bridge was completed in 1985.

  • The Penang Ferry Service is the oldest ferry services in Malaysia, connecting George Town on Penang island to Butterworth in Seberang Perai.

  • The Penang Hill Railway, opened in 1923, is the first funicular hill railway in Malaysia.

  • George Town Dispensary is the earliest dispensary in the then Malaya. It was opened in 1895.

  • Penang is the first state in Malaysia to launch the "No Plastic Bag Day" campaign.

  • Penang Butterfly Farm, established in 1986, is the world's first butterfly and insect sanctuary to be set up in the tropical world.

  • Federation School for the Deaf, is the first deaf school in Federation of Malaya in April 1954.

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