Old Penang: Maxwell Road


Reader Grandma sends us her recollection of how well public transport was organised around Maxwell Road (next to present-day Prangin Mall).


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I lived in Maxwell Road which is parallel to Prangin Road until the demolition to make way for Komtar.

The Municipal bus from Weld Quay passed through this part on its way to Bagan Jermal.

On Maxwell/Prangin Road were Penang’s bus shuttle hubs – the green bus that served the Ayer Itam route, the yellow bus that served the Jelutong (and further) route, the blue (Hin Co.) bus that served the Tanjung Bungah route.

On one end of Maxwell Road near the Great World Park was the trishaw ‘stand’ and on the other end nearer to the ‘Sia Buey’ (Prangin Market) was the bullock cart ‘stand’. (Yes, in those days, bullock carts were used for goods transport).

It was so organised back then and I suppose the concept could still be used today.

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I know exactly what grandma means and I fully agree that the buses were well organised then. I’m sure most seniors living in Penang then can readily remember the bustling bus station there. Great World Park is the place to go when you want some entertainment. Just like the New World Park in December when you will have the annual fair like the current Pesta in S.Nibong. It was much grander when foreign countries would exhibit their products. Those were the happy happy days when you don’t have so much stress in our daily lives especially the traffic jams.


… and the bad smell from the drain…


I also fully support sPICE. We need to diversify. 1980s was Mass production, and now we are in the High End Fabrication era. sPICE will help boost part time jobs too for our youngsters, Will also develop our service industries rather than just manufacturing. Note that in every country that I have go to International trade fairs – Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok, Taipei, Hong Kong, Shanghai – Its all the same story. When an international expo is on, thousands of visitors will be there, obviously it will create some traffic congestion. But in Penang, be it Relau or Green Lane… Read more »

Bayan Baru Girl

Sam G You hit the right note. I stressed b4 that youngsters nowadays need pocket money. We just can’t depend on parents who themselves already got squeezed by inflation barang naik situations. With developments like SPICE etc there are JOBS (Anil still not able to grab this idea becoz he’s already has a decent earning job, while many of us still huntin high & low !). We need JOBs to earn a living – to buy food, clothes, and clubbing in modest ways ! Time has changed. Many still stick to past-year mindset. In short, without JOBS to create clean… Read more »


You can be a cheap foreign worker in China when all resources in Malaysia are grabbed and exhausted by both BN and PR governments.

Fengshui will rotate every ten years, your generation should blame your parents for voting BN and your son will blame for you for voting PR.


sPICE need to learn from Persada in Johor Bahru, to avoid the failure. http://www.siapamoyanganda.com/persidangan/Persada-JB.JPG My JB friend told me that when Persada was first set up about 7 years ago, Johor Corp was so gung-ho to tell the world (even on Singapore radio) that it can cannibalize the MICE activities in Singapore (namely from Suntec and Singapore Expo), and can hold international concerts and trade events while offering good stay at its Puteri Paciifc hotel nearby. Today there is nothing international about the events held in Persada. It is so under-utilized, only local furniture fair or IT show every fortnight.… Read more »

What a laugh

Johore competing with Singapore for MICE. That’s another laugh. Do you seriously think people want to hold conferences in a crime ridden town?

Karam S

the more old photos show up on Anil’s blog, the more people get to know who has screwd up Penang for many many years….

Bayan Baru Boy

Yes, sPICE will be the new icon which in 30 years time people will recall present day like some did with Maxwell Road. if you live in Bayan Baru, you will appreciate the park atmosphere sPICE will bring to us. No more jogging around PIA like we do these days ! We can sweat it out in the greenery park of the future ! Actually, who cares where the so-called RM50 million will go to. My grandfather is now in the 70’s, and the presence of sPICE will give some refreshing scenes to him before he calls it the day… Read more »


I don’t care for RM50 million and extra 1500 units IF I were a LGE’s crony.


nkkhoo in Johor can enlighten us why and how Johor Corp is losing billions of ringgit when oil palm and KFC are cash cows? Why was (the) Tan Sri sacked? Good to learn about events in Johor to freshen up this blog that is too Penang-focused.


What? Waiting to be fed like a baby?

Do do your own investigative reports as Anil Netto did for Penang and lodge a report with MACC if you have any evidence to prove corruption in the Dana Johor.

What a laugh

That’s a laugh coming from you nkkhoo. You had been shamelessly using Anil’s blog to promote your own whom obviously no one bothered to visit.


Why you mention corruption? You got proof? Please enlighten us. Hope to hear from you about the Iskandar development.

Ah Khoo should share his Johor stories with us. If Johor is not jajah like Penang, surely the psyche and mentality of the people are different. Some juicy news from Johor will make Anil’s blog more interesting!


And why shouldn’t this blog be “so Penang-focused”? Isn’t it about encouraging ideas on how to improve Penang’s transport system? My reflection on the old system is if its concept could be re-adopted. I hope we do not stray – let Johore deals with its own mess. We certainly cannot bring Penang back to its once glorious days but we can make it a very, very livable place – not for us Gen X – for them, the Gen Y.


So, can i say Penang had been messed up by BN/Gerakan for all this while???

Sometimes i do wonder what did Penang’s people do for the past 2 decades??? Dont tell me they were all zombies ???

By the way, i think SPICE is a good idea, not all orang penang are against it. People in Bayan Lepas welcome it !!!

Andrew I

There was a program about zombies on Nat Geo the other day. I could have sworn I saw Gherkin in it.


Yes I remember the roundabout very well. Simpang Lima as it was also fondly called. Where the Bus Interchange is – used to be the 2nd hand book shops in Teik Soon St, which then moved to McAlister Road then now to Chowrasta Market Where MAS/FireFly office is now, there used to be a Fire Station. next to it was one of the better Records shop. Ngee Fah Gramaphone. Problem is that in the early 1980s the advent of cetak rompak music destroyed the entire gramaphone and Ori music industry in Malaysia. Also destroyed many of the classic movie halls… Read more »

Pain Truth

Before the white elephant Komtar came along, there used to be a roundabout at the junction of where Datuk Kramat Road, Bricklin Road, ( the one end of ) Penang Road, Magazine Road and Maxwell Road met.

Between Maxwell Road and Magazine Road was a lively hawkers food court.

The Yellow Bus owned by Boon Siew, The Green Bus and Hin’s Blue Bus served us well in those days.


Anil, I just posted a memory recall illustration of Goh Pha Teng of the 60’s.
Hope it can help, even if not 100% accurate.

Plain Truth


You are right. It was Gladstone Road and not Maxwell Road that was at the Magazine cirlce. Almost at the end of Gladstone Road ( Magazine Circle end ), was a clinic that I used to go to when I was sick.


There was another small roundabout where Sia Buey (Prangin Market)/Carnarvon Street (coffin street)/Prangin Road/Maxwell Road/McNair Street/Gladstone Road met. My family used to refer to Carnarvon Street as ‘coffin street’ because of the many coffin shops and funeral parlours there. Every other day, there would be a funeral procession passing through Maxwell Raod on its way to Mt Erskine cemetery or through Gladstone Road to Batu Gantung cemetery. Yes, some roads like Gladstone had been wiped off or renamed. Gladstone was Britain’s prime minister during the late 1800s’. As a true Penangite and proud of its history, I still use the… Read more »

Aranda Del Rio

I thought Maxwell Road has been renamed by BN to discard the any notion of being jajah?


To Grandmas & Grandpas of Heritage Penang :

Let’s revive the glory days of Penang and chase way the remnants of past ghosts of gerak-geri administration that have left us with unpleasant scenes that need to be revived now !



Do you believe DAP politikus can bring back the old Penang glory days?

DAP is even worst than Gerakan. What they have done for Penang public transport for the past three and a half years?

LGE only wants big projects like Mahathir …. He think he can be remembered like Lim Chong Eu in future for a few monuments in Penang…


What is so great about Dr Lim Chong Ewe?

If not because of Lim Guan Eng/DAP/Pakatan, Komtar is a sore thumb now,

Therefore Penang people are very grateful to Mr Lim Guan Eng !!!

Ah Khoo, are you from Johore? If yes, please help your state head to solve the crimes in Johore, the most notorious town in this boleh… land !!!

Nazri Aziz Bukhari

Saya sokong Incik Kee 100%! Johor really is in a terrible mess, do not believe, walk the city and see for yourself. I feel very unsafe walking the streets of Johor. The snatch thieves, burglaries, drugs addcitions, all adds up to the already horrible horrible situation in Johor. Johor must definitely do something to solve its horrendous crime rates! Can the UMNO led Barang Naik Government do it? MCA is about to be wiped out, and the internal bickerings in UMNO makes the State Government totally ignore this aspect of the State that is bringing infamy to Johor, worldwide! Do… Read more »


Johor government spent millions covering up the smelly Segget canal along Jln Wong Ah Fook in the City Centre. Now the place is infested with rodents (as big as cat) underneath. Less than 10 years later the government is planning to open up the canal again. Flip Flop or keeping the cronied contractors in business?


Grandma loves rock n roll, too.

Dedicate this Beatles classic to Grandmas & Grandpas of heritage Penang !


yes, even Paul McCartney now a Grandpa (although this grandpa is getting married again !). So if Paul can still sing n rock, i am sure many heritage area aunties & uncles can also rock in thier own ways (like hua hee tai style). Who knows old heritage with or without RapidPenang but with Tuk-Tuk (not the pirates which Anil used to associate with) can make travel plasantly wonderful ! Heritage Penang is there. No need land reclaimation. If birds like heritage Penang to build nests, surely young Penangites would love to have set thir love nests here, why not… Read more »


Grandma rocks !
Grandma and myself will start getting Anil to steer us to improve Public Transport. Wanna join the bandwagon eg for RapidPenang to lower monthly pass ?

Aranda Del Rio

Anil can reminiscing while listening to this song:


Good scenery on the video. A good song too by the under-rated Aussie band. I used to listen to Aussie radio at Butterworth. Sure miss those Aussie fellows.


I joined you so that when I come back to penang again I can have joyful rides !

I agree that the monthly pass of RM75/mth is too much for regular folks who don’t earnmuch in this barang naik period. We are not high income nation until 2020; so to heed Najib’s transformasi lautan biru strategi, the monthly pass should be revised/transformed to a more reasonable rate of RM50/mth.

I sokong Grandma, PETER LAI. if you sokong us, pls put thumbs up lah.