Penang Chinese Town Hall is an organisation created by the Chinese merchant-class in Penang to look after their interest. It was founded in 1880-81. Until then, the role of looking after the needs of the Chinese in Penang was played by the Kong Hock Keong Temple, better known as the Kuan Yin Teng.
The Penang Riots of 1867 and the Larut Wars from 1860 to 1874 pointed to the failure of the Kong Hock Keong in its role as mediator looking after both the spiritual as well as secular affairs of the community. The founding of the Penang Chinese Town Hall enabled the Kong Hock Keong to continue in its role as guardian of the community's spiritual affairs, while a group of merchants, pillars of the local society, assumed that as guardian of the non-spiritual needs.
Another view of the Penang Chinese Town Hall (24 February, 2007)
The largest single donor to the establishment of the Chinese Town Hall was Kapitan Cina Chung Keng Kwee, one of the few Chinese the British felt at ease to deal with. He put forth 600 Imperial Yuan to its establishment. He took on the role as the first president of the Chinese Town Hall, from 1881 to 1883. (The aforementioned date however does not agree with the organisation's constitution, which stated an established year of 1875; the matter is at the moment still under further research).
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