The trams of Penang


This is a piece on the trams of Penang that I wrote as a guest blogger for The Guardian:

Georgetown, Penang. Photograph taken on the 27...
Image via Wikipedia

George Town on the island of Penang in Malaysia used to have a viable tram system in the early

20th century. It was part of a fairly integrated and efficient transport system.

But then the trams faded away in this British ‘Crown Colony’, with the advent of buses and private motor vehicles, at about the same time some of the tram systems in Europe disappeared.

After independence in 1957, the Penang city council operated a fairly efficient bus network. But the bus service suffered in the 1990s after services were privatised.

More and more people turned to private vehicles, as Malaysia encouraged a national car industry, churning out Proton models. Cars crowded the city’s narrow streets, navigating past rickshaw cyclists (the successors of the manual rickshaw pullers) as motorcyclists on Hondas weaved their way past slow-moving traffic. Full article here. Full article in The Guardian here.

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Donat Anthony Theseira

Trams can certainly work very well in a place like Penang. They were working very well in old Penang until well after the second world war and until some wise guy decided to take them out.
Trolly buses after the trams also worked very well as far as I can remember until the system was privitised to a group of half baked cronies and as a result that system also geound to a halt in next to no time. After the next GE we shall have the opportunity get rid of the ‘rubbish’ and put things right once more.


Certain part of the Inner City can run the tram transport system which will create heritage / tourism value to Heritage Penang. Imagine hopping into antique trams and enjoying the ride and scenes of old world charm Penang. For the other commuters, proper road designation / traffic dispersal can be worked out for orderly commuting and road sharing. If the slowing and easy bechas can still run on our heavy-traffic Penang Road, why can’t a tram? Tram system need not be an expensive affair. It is also eco-friendly and easy / cheap to maintain ( too bad for those looking… Read more »


Here we are again, we expect DAP/Lim Guan Eng/PR to put things right in 2 years’ time…

Absurdities !!!

We expect the moment PR seized Penang, a miracle happened and all the traffic woes gone ???

Yes, let us bin MCA and MIC in the next GE so that they can join their brother, Gerakan in the dump site forever…

Hidup Reformasi !!!

p/s Yang, why is tram obsolete? Melbourne city has tram…, can enlighten please. TQ! ,

Gerakan K

Why you run amok when nobody touch your supreme idol LGE ???


Simple, because you talk nonsense.


Roads in Penang are too narrow for tram. If you have tram it take a lot of space and cause more congestion. Comparing current mode of transportation, tram indeed is not suitable. Tram in Melbourne are being ply at certain route mainly for tourism purpose. It is good if we can also emulate in Penang.


Tram should not be considered as a trash. It was useful then but under the present circumstances it has become obsolete It is at least part of our legacy which we should treasure.

But for something like 52 years of corruptible and an incompetent government under UMNO and their weaklings like Gerakan, MCA & MIC, these certainly are trash that should be put away and the rubbish dump is the right place for it.


Traffic in Penang has gone from bad to worse, sad to say LGE’s promise to improve it in GE 12 has not been fulfilled , guess he should learn from our PM to do a walkabout , better still if he just drives around the island himself without any outriders he MAY understand the situation but , like father n son who criticise others for not walking the talk , they are doing the same thing…… I hope someone can get into his head this suggestion

Gerakan K

Tram again ???

Nowadays tram = trash