Thursday, 25 December 2008

Heritage: George Town's city status proclamation

I had meant to post this item only on 1 Jan 2009 on the 52nd anniversary of the city status but the happy news yesterday prompts me to bring forward the post. As reported by The Malaysian Insider yesterday and The Star today, the Penang government will be celebrating George Town's City Day in a week's time. The City of George Town ... that's the pride of Penang. Although the celebration will be on a small scale, it will be significant to show those fellas in Kuala Lumpur that George Town is the country's first city and no amount of political posturings, manouevrings and attempts to re-write history can remove this fact from us.

If you go to the Penang Museum, you'll still be able to see a photograph of the original proclamation by Queen Elizabeth II. Last September, I had a lot of trouble locating it in the museum because the frame was lost among all the exhibits. Eventually, I found it hanging on a wall together with another photograph showing the petition made by the municipal councillors to the Queen. I would recommend to the Penang Museum that this exhibit be given the appropriate pride of place. Please relocate this exhibit downstairs so that it would be the first item to greet visitors when they step into the museum.

Here is her proclamation of City status for George Town:

ELIZABETH THE SECOND BY THE GRACE OF GOD Of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and of Our other Realms and Territories Queen Head of the Commonwealth Defender of the Faith To all to whom these Presents shall come Greeting Whereas the inhabitants of the Municipality of George Town in the Federation of Malaya are a body corporate by the name and style of The Municipal Councillors of George Town And Whereas We being desirous on the occasion of the hundredth anniversary of the Straits Settlement Act which inspired the growth of local government by the inhabitants of George Town to bestow a mark of Our Royal favour upon them by raising the said Municipality of George Town to the rank of a City Now Therefore Know Ye that We of Our especial grace and favour and mere motion Do by this Our Royal Charter will ordain constitute declare and appoint that the said Municipality of George Town shall on the first day of Kanmuary in the year of Our Lord One thousand nine hundred and fifty-seven and for ever thereafter be a City and shall be called and styled THE CITY OF GEORGE TOWN instead of the Municipality of George Town and shall thenceforth have all such rank liberties privileges and immunities as are incident to a City And We do further declare and direct that the Municipal Councillors of George Town shall thenceforth be one body corporate by the name and style of THE CITY COUNCIL OF GEORGE TOWN will all such powers and privileges as they would have had as the Municipal Councillors of George Town and as if they had been incorporated by the name of the City Council of George Town And Further Know Ye that W trusting in the discretin fidelity and care of Our trusty and well beloved Sir Donald Charles macGillivray Knight Commander of Our Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George Member of Our Most Excellent Order of the British Empire Our High Commissioner for the Federation of Malaya Do give and grant by the tenor of these Presents unto him the said Sir Donal Charles MacGillivray full power in Our name to declare and make known Our Plesure herein In Witness whereof We have caused thse Our Letters to be made Patent Witness Ourself at Westminster the twentieth day of December in the fifth year of Our Reign

By Warrant under The Queen's Sign Manual

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