The 19th century St George’s Church, the oldest Anglican church in Southeast Asia, is seeking funds from the government and multinational corporations to build a mini museum, a souvenir shop and a drinks stall to cater to foreign tourists who flock there in large numbers.
“We received up to 10,000 visitors from 80 countries in the past 10 months, which is a good development for the tourism industry,” its priest, Charles
Samuel, told Bernama today.
The tourists had come from the United Arab Emirates, Turkey, Nigeria, Ukraine, Singapore, Australia, Indonesia and India, he added.
The church in Lebuh Farquhar, built in 1816, boasts neo-Palladian architecture. It was restored under a National Heritage Department project costing RM1.8 million under the Ninth Malaysia Plan.
“The church has also sent a letter to the Heritage Department for allocation to build the mini museum, souvenir shop and drinks stall, which we hope will be
approved,” Samuel said.
He said the profit from the sale of the souvenirs could be spent to not only preserve the church but also conduct studies and research.
Samuel also expressed his happiness that Canada’s Governor-General David Lloyd Johnston took time off during his four-day working visit to Malaysia and Penang to visit the church.
“He spent about 30 minutes touring the church, attended prayers and also mingled with the staff,” he said.
He said Johnston was impressed with the federal government’s efforts to rehabilitate the church as part of the country’s heritage.
“As the building is situated in a world heritage area, conservation of the church is necessary as it is an identity of Penang,” he added.