Pe­warisan dis­ap­pointed with event or­gan­is­ers

New Straits Times - - News / Nation -

KUALA LUMPUR: The Pe­nang Malay Her­itage and His­tor­i­cal So­ci­ety (Pe­warisan) has ex­pressed its dis­ap­point­ment with the or­gan­is­ers of the Ge­orge Town Fes­ti­val, say­ing the Malays were not ap­pro­pri­ately rep­re­sented at the event.

Pe­warisan pres­i­dent Prof Datuk Dr Ah­mad Mu­rad Mer­i­can said since the event’s in­cep­tion in 2010, it had failed to recog­nise the Malays as the found­ing com­mu­nity of Pe­nang and Tan­jong.

“Ge­orge Town has a his­tory of the Malays, not only in the ‘Malay town’ of Le­buh Acheh/Ar­me­nian and in ar­eas where Malays once plied their trade,” he said yes­ter­day.

He said the ab­sence of

Malays at the fes­ti­val was a false por­trayal of mul­ti­cul­tur­al­ism.

“We agree that Pe­nang and Ge­orge

Town are cos- mopoli­tan.

But the histo- ry and her­itage of the Malay com­mu­nity have not been por­trayed as such.”

He said in pre­vi­ous years, the or­gan­is­ers had in­cluded sto­ries from eth­nic groups like the Chi­nese, Per­anakan, Hokkien, In­dian Mus­lims and Eurasians, but seemed to have for­got­ten about the Malays.

He said the fes­ti­val glo­ri­fied the ge­neal­ogy of Fran­cis Light, the founder of the Bri­tish colony of Pe­nang.

“The or­gan­is­ers con­tinue to marginalise the cos­mopoli­tanism in Pe­nang be­fore the ar­rival of the Bri­tish — the cos­mopoli­tanism that lends names of places on the is­land, and the ear­lier his­tory of Ge­orge Town.”

He said the or­gan­is­ers should re­fer to oral and writ­ten sources on the his­tory of Malays in Pe­nang.

“They must cre­ate the aes­thet­ics for the me­mory of how Pe­nang be­gan. There will be no mean­ing to the fes­ti­val if the found­ing Malay com­mu­nity is not rep­re­sented.”

Prof Datuk Dr Ah­mad Mu­rad Mer­i­can

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