Monday, 24 October 2011

Pre-Merdeka Malay Schools in Penang


INTRODUCTION

There were 2 Malay and one religious (Islamic) schools in Penang in Malaya before Independence. I returned to Penang (19-23 October 2011) to try and locate where the schools were and to find out if they still exist today, 54 years post-Merdeka.


Malay schools in Penang 

The 2 Malay schools in Penang are Sekolah Melayu Chowrasta in downtown George Town, and Sekolah Melayu Pulau Pinang in Ayer Itam. Three early Malay doctors attended the Malay schools in Penang. They were Datuk Dr Haji Abdul Aziz bin Omar, Datuk Paduka Dr Abdul Wahab bin Mohd Ariff and Dr Che Lah bin Md Joonos. All three graduated as medical doctors from the King Edward VII Medical College in Singapore.


Sekolah Melayu Chowrasta / Chowrasta Malay School, George Town (established 1878) 

The full story of this school is told in the present day school website:

Sekolah Kebangsaan Melayu Chowrasta adalah nama asal bagi Sekolah Kebangsaan Sri Tanjong. Sekolah Melayu Chowrasta ini ditubuhkan pada tahun 1878 dengan Bahasa Melayu sebagai Bahasa Pengantar pada ketika itu. Ia adalah di antara sekolah Melayu tertua di Pulau Pinang. Tapak asal Sekolah Melayu Chowrasta ini adalah terletak di persimpangan Jalan Transfer dan Jalan Phee Choon (kini tapak Ibupejabat Polis Kontinjen Pulau Pinang – Headquarters).


Di bawah pentadbiran Guru Besar yang dikenali dengan nama Pak Hitam, Sekolah Melayu Chowrasta mula mengorak langkah dalam meneruskan pendidikan pada masa tersebut. Pelajaran yang diajar hanya melibatkan kemahiran membaca, menulis, mengira dan juga sedikit pelajaran mengenai hal ehwal tempatan yang digabungkan dengan pelajaran Ilmu Alam.


Pada tahun 1928, Cikgu Mustafa Arshad (Guru Besar pada ketika itu) telah mula mengharumkan nama Sekolah Melayu Chowrasta dan memperkenalkannya ke seluruh pelusuk negara. Di antara tokoh yang dilahirkan di Sekolah Melayu Chowrasta ini ialah Allahyarham Doktor Aziz Omar (doktor Melayu yang menempah nama di negeri Kelantan), […] – Sekolah Kebangsaan Sri Tanjung: SEJARAH (2009). Retrieved 19 October 2011 from

http://sksritanjung.blogspot.com/2009/05/uppp.html#comments


The original school, Sekolah Melayu Chowrasta, was at the corner of Transfer Road and Phee Choon Road (now Jalan Phee Choon). The present day school is Sekolah Sri Tanjong in Jalan Hatin (former Hutton Lane). The school is across the road from Masjid Jamek Jalan Hatin. This is the only mosque in this road.

Chowrasta is Tamil for a junction or crossroad from 4 roads.

Pasar Chowrasta (Chowrasta market) is in Jalan Penang (former Penang Road).

Pasar Chowrasta, Jalan Penang, Georgetown, Penang

Two early Malay doctors attended Sekolah Melayu Chowrasta in Penang. They were (Datuk Dr Haji) Abdul Aziz bin Omar and (Datuk Paduka Dr) Abdul Wahab bin Mohd Ariff.

Both doctors were born in 1919 and attended the Chowrasta Malay School from 1925 to 1929.
Both Abdul Aziz and Abdul Wahab attended Penang Free School from 1930 to 1937.
Both enrolled into the Medical College in Singapore in 1939.

Their medical studies were disrupted for four years when the Japanese Occupation of Singapore occurred and the Medical College ceased operation on 15 February 1942 till 19 June 1946.

When the war was over, Abdul Wahab and Abdul Aziz resumed medical studies at KE VII in Singapore on 20 June 1946.

Dr Abdul Aziz bin Omar, Dr Abdul Wahab bin Mohd Ariff and Dr Omar bin Din, graduated from the King Edward VII College of Medicine, Singapore with a Licentiate in Medicine and Surgery (L.M.S.) in the Class of December 1949 (Lee 2005: 114). There were 28 graduates in 1949.

Dr Abdul Aziz had previously worked at the Merican Dispensary in Kota Bharu, Kelantan (possibly circa 1949-1953) before setting up his own private practice in the early 1950s, after the war ended. His clinic was the Aziz Dispensary (Morais 1963: 30) in 1856-58 Jalan Pendek, Kota Bharu, Kelantan (Morais 1965: 44). His clinic was beside the Kota Bharu bus station. [More in TEMD]

Dr Abdul Wahab bin Mohd Ariff joined the government service in 1950. He held several posts under the British Malayan, Malaysian and Brunei governments. In 1950-5, Dr Abdul Wahab was Medical Officer (MO) in Penang, Butterworth, Perlis and Kuala Pilah. He brought a lot of changes at Kangar Hospital whilst in Perlis. His efforts were appreciated by the British High Commissioner in Malaya, General Sir Gerald Templer. In 1954, Dr Abdul Wahab was responsible for the eradication of gastroenteritis epidemic in Perlis. [More in TEMD]

Hutton Lane is famous as it once housed the private clinic of Sir Dr Kamil Mohamed Ariff.


Jalan Hatin (Hutton Lane) - Jalan Penang (Penang Road) end
Masjid Jamek Jalan Hatin (Hutton Lane)
Sekolah Kebangsaan Sri Tanjong, Jalan Hatin (Hutton Lane)




Sekolah Melayu Pulau Pinang / Penang Malay School, Kampong Melayu, Ayer Hitam, Penang

I have not managed to follow up what became of this school.

Directions to Air Hitam (formerly Ayer Itam), Penang



(Dr) Che Lah attended the Penang Malay School located in Jalan Kampong Melayu in Ayer Itam where he completed Standard IV. He then attended the Anglo-Chinese School (ACS) in Penang where he completed Standard VII Senior Cambridge at the Annual Government Examination in December 1919.

(Dr) Che Lah entered the King Edward VII College of Medicine in Singapore as a Federated Malay States (FMS) Government Medical Student in June 1923. Dr Che Lah passed the Final Medical Professional Examination in March 1930 and was awarded the Licentiate in Medicine and Surgery college diploma (L.M.S. Singapore, Class of March 1930). The Principal of the College of Medicine at the time was Dr DWG Faris. His name is also present on the board as Pioneer Student at the National University of Singapore Medical Faculty. His rolled paper transcripts still exist but are faded and very brittle but his clothed documents are still safely kept. His medical books can still be found within his house in Cangkat Minden, Penang and some have been donated to the Penang General Hospital.



Religious schools in Penang

The only religious school that I have on record is Madrasah Al-Mashoor, which is now the Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Agama (L) Al Mashoor and the Sekolah Menengah Agama (P) Al Mashoor.


Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Agama (L) Al Mashoor 

This school was started by Syed Sheikh (1867-1934) who became its first headmaster. It moved a few places before this location. The history of Madrasah Al Mashoor & the progress of the modern school today can be read at its present day website.

Malayan Saturday Post, 23 May 1931, Page 25
THE VISIT OF HIS HIGHNESS TENGKU IBRAHIM, THE RAJA OF KELANTAN TO THE ALMASHOOR ISLAMIC SCHOOL, PENANG ON MAY IST, 1931. Tengku Ibrahim who was the Sultan of Kelantan visited the school  on 1 May 1931. Among those present were: Messrs. S. Md. Almihthar, SA Mashur, S Ali Bawazir, SM Elidrus, Dr KM Arif, Mr Nik Abdullah, Dato Bentara Dalam, Tengku Indrapetra, HH Tengku Ibrahim, Tengku Abdullah, Messrs. SM Md Hanif, Nik Mahmood, S Hashim Alsagoff, Shekarai Rawther, Shaik Mahamed, Sini Rawther, Messrs. S Mahmood Rafie, S Hussain and Shaik Abbas Rafie (Principal). Newspaper article link

The boys' hostel is in front of the school and closest to Jalan Air Hitam. The Chung Ling High School is across the road from the boys' hostel. Further up the street from the boys' hostel is another boys' school, the Methodist Boys' School (MBS).

SMKA (L) Al Mashoor, Jalan Air Hitam, Penang
SMKA (L) Al Mashoor boys' hostel, Jalan Air Itam, Penang

Sekolah Menengah Agama (P) Al Mashoor

I could not find this school and I did not have time to find it. I will return to Penang and try to find this school, insyaAllah.

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