25September2020

Agenda Daily

Penang not promoting Muslim tourist spots - Jahara

Muslim places of interest are missing from state-issued tourist guidebooks in the World Heritage Site.

Penang Opposition Leader Jahara Hamid (BN-Telok Ayer Tawar) said this followed the state government’s “glorification” of colonial relics by local tourism authorities.

Jahara, who is a four-term assembly member, said the lack of recognition of Muslim tourist attractions was a disservice to George Town’s Muslim founding fathers.

“George Town was founded by Muslims first but there is no recognition by the authorities to show the real history.

“Thanks to gentrification (process of renewal and rebuilding) after the repeal of rent control regulations, Malays and Muslims are somewhat non-existent in the city.

“They just continue to glorify former colonial powers and their interests,” she said during the 2017 State Budget debate at the Legislative Assembly today, citing a George Town tourist brochure that gave prominence to non-Muslim attractions.

She said the famed Syed Al-Attas Mansion, known for its Malay heritage, had been closed down.

“There is one brochure that focuses on the Sun Yat Sen Memorial Centre. The Islamic Heritage Centre is closed.

“I feel the Muslim members of the assembly should wield their influence to review Muslim glory in George Town.”

State executive councillor Abdul Malik Abul Kassim (PKR-Batu Maung) interjected, saying George Town had many Muslim attractions.

He said the Penang Hajj Gallery in Acheen Street was a good example of a Muslim place of interest that received widespread interest.

“As for the Syed Al-Attas Mansion, the building is not safe to be occupied any more as it is infested with termites. Many are working hard to restore the building as we speak.

“Penang also created the country’s first-ever Muslim Travel Guide, which is now available in Dubai and many Middle-East countries,” Malik said.

Roslan Saidin (Umno-Pinang Tunggal) butted in however, saying Muslim travel guides, too, had aired their grouses to him over the lack of Muslim places of interest in George Town.

“Many Muslim tour guides have come to me to complain that there is a lot of pressure from the Penang Government,” Saidin claimed, before being interrupted by Malik.

Malik demanded that Saidin retract the statement as the accusation was not true.

“That is a wild accusation. Show proof or retract!” Malik charged in an intense shouting match with Saidin.

The heated exchange however came to an abrupt end when Speaker Law Choo Kiang (PKR-Bukit Tambun) demanded that both sit down and allow Jahara to continue with her debate.-17/11/2016

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