GEORGE TOWN: Vandalism has reared its ugly head again, raising the ire of a representative of the travel trade sector.
On Monday, the statue of Penang founder Sir Francis Light was found to have been splashed with red paint.
Vergis Mathews, chairman of the Penang chapter of the Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents, said statues and other fixtures such as road signs should not be made use of to vent expressions of political disagreement.
A police report has been lodged and investigations are under way and Penang Island City Council workers have since cleaned the statue.
Vergis said the statue is of historical significance and is a state heritage, adding that vandalism must not be condoned.
Light set up Penang as the first settlement for the British Empire in Malaya in 1786. The British went on to rule Malaya for 171 years.
The statue of Light was originally located at the Penang Museum on Farquhar Street but it was subsequently moved to Fort Cornwallis.
Vergis expressed suspicion that the perpetrator had presumed that the founder of Penang was a slave owner, although there are no records to indicate such.
He urged the police to quickly track down the offender and ensure a deterrent penalty is imposed.
He said similar incidents have been recorded in India.
“Such statues are a reflection of history and more importantly, they are tourism landmarks.”
“We need attractions like this (to woo tourists),” he added.
Vergis also urged police to double patrols around historical landmarks to prevent a recurrence of such incidents, as this was not the first time Light’s statue had been vandalised.
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Francis Light statue vandalised
Akhirnya pada tahun 2020, tugu penjajah dan pemilik hamba bernama Francis Light di Pulau Pinang, Malaysia menemui nasib yang sama dengan tugu-tugu lain seumpamanya di seluruh dunia. pic.twitter.com/vRkleKpLI5— AntifaM (@AntifaM3)
July 1, 2020
Akhirnya pada tahun 2020, tugu penjajah dan pemilik hamba bernama Francis Light di Pulau Pinang, Malaysia menemui nasib yang sama dengan tugu-tugu lain seumpamanya di seluruh dunia. pic.twitter.com/vRkleKpLI5