Malay commercial activities in George Town

GEORGE TOWN'S historic Malay enclave, dominated by the majestic Kapitan Keling and Acheen Street mosques, remains a bustling commercial area. Historically, the area around Jalan Masjid Kapitan Keling, Acheen Street and Chulia Street comprised a diverse mix of Malay and Chinese traders, which is still evident today.

The Malay enclave is the place to visit for jewellery, skilled goldsmiths, money changers, and religious paraphernalia and texts (reflecting the area’s historical importance as a mini Jeddah and step-off point for South-East Asian Muslims en route to Mecca to perform the haj).

Viewed from the outside, few of the low-rise shop houses hint at much commercial success, and this is testament to the modesty of many Malay traders who shun visible displays of wealth. The austerity of Penang’s Malay businessmen is legendary and a shining example is Habib Jewels (pictured below). Its illustrious story started from a humble shop along Jalan Masjid Kapitan Keling, which is still operational today.

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