What is Penang Doing Right?

May 2023 FEATURE
main image

Compiled by Iylia De Silva

Penang leaves a lasting impression on all who visit, captivating tourists and locals with its stunning natural beauty and diverse cultural heritage. To uncover what makes this island so exceptional, we turned to the people who know it best - Penangites and our social media followers. Here are comments by those who are fortunate enough to experience its magic.

1.      Penang is definitely doing something right in preserving and promoting its unique heritage and culture, not only to other states in Malaysia but on a global level. It has become one of several icons that represents Malaysia when it comes to tourism, and Penang really is the hub for the best local delicacies, treats and varieties for tourists. I do hope that the quality and prices maintain reasonable, not just to please us locals, but to show that you don't have to pay a hefty price for good food. – Darren Low, Postgraduate Researcher

2.      Penang is doing right by allowing civil society to speak up, letting activism flourish. The "voice of the people" is not silenced. Penang is also doing right by trying to be fair to all, regardless of race and religion, despite the scepticism it receives. – Imran Hilmy, Journalist

3.      Preserving heritage with a modern twist – through street art portraying local life, art centres showcasing local talent and the redevelopment of heritage buildings. - Kuhen Gopal, Law Lecturer

4.      I think nature is very accessible in Penang. We have many hiking and cycling routes despite being a city. Penang is still very beautiful and has put in effort in conserving heritage and preserving culture. We have not “lost our connection to the past” despite the process of modernisation. – Benice Malini, Mental Health Practitioner

5.      It is unifying the different races toward a common goal: To progress with reason and not greed. – Kevin Theseira, Operations Manager

6.      Even though there are some controversies and discussions over the years, the safeguarding and development of Penang's cultural heritage is one of the best in Malaysia: government agencies are aware of its value, and there are many opportunities for different cultural communities to showcase their uniqueness. Penang also has good conditions to promote the development of cultural and creative industries. – Lim Sok Swan, Political Assistant

7.      Personally, Penang is a state that still embodies what makes us Malaysians. While Penang continues to develop, we are still preserving our heritage, culture, food and the arts, keeping us in touch with our roots. – Derick Tan, Undergraduate Student

8.      The state has successfully preserved and celebrated its rich culinary heritage, offering a wide array of delicious street food and traditional dishes that attract tourists and locals alike, contributing to its reputation as a food haven in Southeast Asia. – Arunen, Student

9.      Penang is moving in the right direction in many of its Penang2030 aspirations. Hoping that the state will have a more encompassing vision involving a wider geography of south Kedah and north Perak in its approaches to business and environment. Although state boundaries limit many implementations, the win-win scenarios across borders make this a better option for our future. After all, business and environment flow across boundaries. – Zulfigar Yasin, Marine Biologist