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27 January 2023

Badan Warisan Malaysia deplores Penang Island City Hall’s (MBPP) approval to instruct the demolition of the Rex Cinema at Jalan Burma in Georgetown, Penang. This is despite the Mayor of City Council of Penang Island saying that flaws in the 2030 draft Penang Island local plan will be rectified, as reported in the media on 5 January 2023.

This 84 year-old Art Deco cinema possesses architectural, social, cultural and heritage significance not only for Penangites but for all Malaysians. It is imperative that we conserve and protect Rex Cinema for future generations to enjoy.

Preserving only the facade will not be enough. The Rex Cinema was built with significant interior Art Deco features and details, and these should be maintained. Art Deco architecture is much appreciated and celebrated all over the world.

Badan Warisan Malaysia strongly supports the heritage and conservation groups in Penang, and their great efforts made to preserve the historic heritage environment of Georgetown, Penang.

The recent demolition of Clove Hall residence, which is in proximity to Rex Cinema, is another irreplaceable loss of a historic piece of architecture of the island.

We wish and encourage MBPP to be more supportive and sensitive to preserve and protect Georgetown’s rich built heritage, including buildings and sites beyond the UNESCO protected boundaries. It is this unique heritage that makes Penang one of the most significant places to visit in Malaysia.

Cities in Malaysia like Penang and Malacca that have many buildings and neighbourhoods of heritage value, must take the lead in preservation, conservation and other environmental matters. These cities must balance the old with the new and cannot always take the easy route to development. Local Authorities must be proactive in these matters.

Lim Wei-Ling, President

& Badan Warisan Malaysia Council 2023

BWM Talk Series: East Indiaman: The World of Francis Light by Rose Gan

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Organized by Badan Warisan Malaysia.

Live Webinar Details

Date: Wednesday, 3 November 2021
Time: 5:00 PM (Kuala Lumpur, GMT+8)
Topic: East Indiaman: The World of Francis Light
Venue: Virtual – Zoom Webinar
Free Admission


KL-based author Rose Gan, accompanied by her daughter, Zoe, as the moderator for this talk, will speak about her newly released book entitled ‘Dragon’. This book is the first volume in the Penang Chronicles, which tells the story of Captain Francis Light and his partner, as well as the backstory of the British settlement of Penang. This new series of historical fiction features real historical characters and events from 18th-century Malaysia, India, Indonesia, Thailand and Britain.

Before Stamford Raffles of Singapore fame, before Rajah Brooke of Borneo fame, there was Captain Francis Light, the 18th-century trailblazer in the Malay Archipelago. From humble origins in Suffolk, England, Light struggled against the social prejudices of his day. His subsequent adventures as a naval officer and country ship captain took him from India to Sumatra, the Straits of Malacca to Siam, through shipwreck, sea battles, pirate raids and tropical disease. But Light’s most difficult challenge was his ultimate dream: to establish a British port in the Indies on behalf of the East India Company.

Want to find out who his partner was? Register and participate in our webinar to find out many more fascinating details in Rose’s book!


British by birth, Rose Gan studied Ancient and Medieval History with Latin and Greek at University of Birmingham. Gan first arrived in Kuala Lumpur in 1978 and has been living and working between both UK and Southeast Asia ever since. Married to a Malaysian, and formerly a teacher of History, Latin and Classics, Gan was also Vice Chair for Museums of the Indonesian Heritage Society, a guide and docent in Museum National Indonesia, Jakarta, and Muzium Negara and the Textile Museum in KL. In addition to lecturing to cultural associations, Gan has been actively involved with museum publications in Malaysia and Indonesia, both as a writer and editor.