Tanjung Tokong (English Translation: Temple Bay) is a suburb of George Town in Penang, Malaysia, bordering Gurney Drive and Tanjung Bungah. Penang's first modern shopping mall, Island Plaza, is located here. The state's first megamall, Gurney Plaza is also located here. Tanjung Tokong was one of the areas afflicted by the 2004 tsunami disaster.
The place is currently seeing a major transformation with the land reclamation off the northern shore for a massive land development by E&O Development. A new township of bungalows, and terrace houses together with modern marinas and commercial complex will be built on the reclaimed land.
Famous people in Tanjung Tokong include the former Penang State executive councillor, Khoo Kay Poh and the former chairman of MCA (Penang Branch), Dr Sak Cheng Lum.
The former Chief Minister Koh Tsu Koon was from Tanjung Bungah, not, Tanjung Tokong.
Land ownership and development
The Resident's Association of Tanjong Tokong currently represents the majority of the people in this residential area. Today the association is working towards finding a solution to the destruction of the village, particularly on the original site at the back road which has a history which dates back to 200 years. The people here hope that the redevelopment of the village would follow the guidelines for conservation of traditional heritage villages although the village has not been categorized as one and is zoned for demolition.
In 1974, the development of the area was transferred to the Urban Development Authority (UDA) which constructed low cost high rise flats for the residents. Since this kind of high rise gives the impression that these people were squatters, the Resident’s association has repeatedly rejected further construction of high rise flats and instead have proposed a model Malay village to be designed and the older area facing the back road to be preserved as a heritage village, similar to Kampung Seronok. They want their history and identity to be preserved through a sustainable development of built heritage.
Residents here reject the idea that they were squatters and have expressed concern that land reclaimed for housing in Tanjong Tokong has been converted into an upmarket seafront residential enclave.
In 1749, the area now called Tanjong Tokong, formerly known as Teluk Tikus by Malays, was opened by Tok Guru Haji Hassan Fusanah, a religious teacher of Jawi Peranakan origin who came from Madura. He also founded the Batu Uban mosque, an area earlier founded by a pioneer Dato' Nahkoda Intan Mohd Salleh. One of the earliest landing sites of Hadramis and Acehnese is Batu Uban another area undergoing rapid urban development. In this sense, the history of Batu Uban is linked to Tanjong Tokong.
Around the same time Gelugor, where Universiti Sains Malaysia is now located, was founded by Dato' Jannatul with the permission and blessings of Sultan Aziz Ishak Mohd Jiwa. The gravestone of Dato' Jannatul remains outside the Minden gates of Universiti Sains Malaysia.
The tombstone of Tok Guru Hassan is sited at the Tanjong Tokong cemetery. Malays who settled here around this time were Kedah Malays, fleeing atrocities of the Thai in Kedah. Since this settlement was pre-colonial on the water's edge, there was no attempt to procure titles. The first mosque, Masjid Tuan Guru is opened Tuan Guru Hj. Hassan Fusanah. Datuk Ellyas Omar, the former Mayor of Kuala Lumpur is descended from this family.
In around 1820, the area here pushed by rapid urban development of the Eastern seafront of the island at Gurney Drive, Kelawai and other fishing areas of kampung gigi air, more Malay fishermen settle at Kampung Tanjong Tokong. The Eastern seafront where Malay fishing villages were formerly located, becomes the most prestigious area of housing for Hokkien Chinese kapitans, taipans and the Kedah royalty.
Areas of Bagan Jermal adjacent to Tanjong Tokong are developed by Chinese entrepreneurs. A Taoist seaside temple is constructed at Tanjong Tokong. Wealthy Malays move out of Tanjong Tokong, Bagan Jermal and Pantai Molek as more Chinese merchants buy land in this area. Malays become a cultural minority. The only Malays who continue to live here are fishermen, labourers, teachers and vendors. Features of a coastal Malay community remain-mosque, school, fishing boats, fishermen's rest huts and wharfs. Fishermen from Kedah begin to settle at Tanjung Bungah and Batu Feringghi and the local Malay population moves Northwards to the Northeast Coast at Batu Feringghi. All along the Northeast and Southeast Coasts, Malay fishing villages, kampung gigi air are the landmarks of an island populated before the coming of Captain Francis Light in 1786.
In 1871, it was estimated that there were 61, 797 people on the island, out of which 70 per cent were Malays and 10 per cent Tamil Muslims. Of these Malay Muslims, 322 were Arab of Hadrami origin.Of these Malays, more than 80 per cent were coastal dwellers.
In 1903, Europeans begin to develop an interest in the Northeast Coast and formed the Penang Swimming Club in 1903. Missionaries develop missions on coastal and hill tracks of Tanjung Bungah. Seaside bungalows are built along the Northeast Coast. In 1921, Hafiz Ghulam Sarwar, the first Sunni Muslim to translate the Qur'an into English, gives a special mention to Tanjung Tokong and Tanjung Bungah in "The Word of God and the Wonders of Science" published in The Muslim 1929 (13-14). He describes turtles laying eggs on the shores.
In 1941, The Japanese bomb George Town, Tanjong Tokong and other coastal areas on the island. Japanese occupation and surrender in 1945 created a surge in Chinese residents from George Town moving into this area, at first to protect their families from atrocities and after the occupation to establish retail businesses.
Residents of Tanjong Tokong offered temporary occupation license.
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