21 OKTOBER 2023

G Hotel


Salam Sejahtera

Salam Malaysia Madani

Terlebih dahulu, saya ingin merakamkan sekalung penghargaan kepada pihak Perbadanan Bukit Bendera kerana menjemput saya ke Majlis Makan Malam Gala 100 Tahun Funikular Bukit Bendera Pulau Pinang pada hari yang berbahagia ini.

Malam ini, saya berbesar hati dapat berada di sini bersama dengan semua tetamu kehormat bagi meraikan satu majlis yang sangat istimewa dengan menghayati kepentingan sejarah yang sangat berharga dan warisan yang bernilai bagi menyambut Sambutan Ulang Tahun ke-100 Funikular Bukit Bendera yang merupakan simbol ikonik warisan dan keindahan alam semula jadi Pulau Pinang.

Funikular Bukit Bendera ini telah memainkan peranan penting bagi sejarah negeri kita dalam menghubungkan beberapa generasi rakyat Pulau Pinang dan pengunjung dengan keindahan alam di Bukit Bendera.

Tuan Yang Terutama Tun dan Toh Puan,

Saya mohon izin untuk meneruskan ucapan dalam Bahasa Inggeris.

Today's celebration is intended to recap the dedication and hard work of the funicular railway contributors and the funicular design engineer, A. R. Johnson, who was seconded by the Federated Malay States Railways to build the funicular railway after the initial attempt failed.

The first attempt was in 1905 with the use of the Pelton water wheel. An old newspaper article described that, when the car was about to take off and the signal to start was given, the Bengali guard saluted, a cock crew loudly on the station roof, the water power was turned on with a gentle hissing noise, but NOTHING HAPPENED!

Subsequently, under A. R. Johnson’s leadership, and using 1,200 workers from the Chinese and Tamil communities, Southeast Asia's first funicular railway, which is also one of the world's steepest was constructed at a cost of $1.57 million Straits Dollars.

According to A. R. Johnson, “The hill railway was no longer a joke but had become a well-behaved institution.” Mr. Johnson also stated that no one is in a better position to understand the difficulties that the first builders had to face.

It is only when one takes the time to look around and take in, as it were, the construction with its immense viaducts over boulders and gorges, that we can appreciate the massive walls of the tunnel, which was one of the steepest in the world.

The railway was later described as “one of the best in the world if not the best railway” by Sir Laurence Nunns Guillemard, Governor of the Straits Settlements, during the official opening of the Penang Hill Railway.

Furthermore, many renowned individuals in Penang were part of this remarkable inauguration history. They could be your parents, grandparents, or great-grandparents. You can view the list at the exhibition outside this banquet hall.

Tuan Yang Terutama Tun, Toh Puan, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Tonight, we are celebrating a century of wonder, a century of memories, and a century of progress which is a reflection on the transformative journey of the Penang Hill Railway.

Exactly 100 years ago, on October 21, 1923, the Penang Hill Railway made its maiden journey, marking a ground-breaking moment in our state's history. With its introduction, the railway brought not only ease of access to Penang Hill but also opened up the doors to a world of beautiful nature and panoramic vistas.

As we celebrate the hill railway’s centenary, we are reminded of the extraordinary vision and engineering prowess that brought this marvel to life. The railway is a symbol of human achievement, showcasing what is possible when we combine our talents and resources.

The hill railway has been more than just a mode of transportation, but an experience for visitors, residents and community, having served more than 48 million visitors to Penang Hill. It has been a testament to our commitment to preserving our natural heritage, ensuring that generations to come will still have the privilege of witnessing the beauty of Penang Hill.

Tuan Yang Terutama Tun, Toh Puan, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Over the years, the State Government and PHC have taken the initiative for the continuous enhancement of infrastructure and amenities on the hill.

This is carried out through harmonious alignment with conservation efforts, and unwavering commitment to safety and reliability through slope stabilisation and maintenance works, and the formulation of the forward planning Penang Hill Summit Area Concept Master Plan.

On the same note, with the recognition of Penang Hill and its surrounding areas as a UNESCO Penang Hill Biosphere Reserve, we must shoulder our responsibility to safeguard the Penang Hill ecosystem, its unique biodiversity and historical heritage.

I am also delighted to share with you that there are new projects in the pipeline that will further elevate the Penang Hill experience for all, without jeopardising its status as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.

Among the notable projects include the ongoing Upper Station, the upcoming projects such as the redevelopment of Cliff Café (Astaka), the creation of a second gallery (after the Gallery@Edgecliff), that is, the Gallery@Gatehouse with immersive reality technology, and the redevelopment of Coolie Line (Phase 6 development).

Looking forward, the much-anticipated development of the Penang Hill Cable Car project which will complement the existing funicular railway will also bring additional benefits to the surrounding areas and more economic activities, besides being another iconic tourist attraction for Penang.

Tuan Yang Terutama Tun, Toh Puan, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Tonight's gala dinner is not just a celebration of the past, but also an opportunity to look forward to the future. We are committed to enhancing the Penang Hill experience, making it more accessible, enjoyable, and sustainable for everyone.

Bersama-sama kita memastikan Bukit Bendera kekal sebagai permata negeri Pulau Pinang untuk selamanya.

Terima kasih. Thank you.

Pejabat Ketua Menteri Pulau Pinang Tingkat 28, KOMTAR, 10502, George Town, Pulau Pinang