Sunday, July 5, 2009

Penang War Museum - Bukit Maung

The war museum is a monument to the mistake made by the British in thinking that the enemy would attack from the sea, and thus they constructed the bunkers and enforcement with cannons aimed to the sea. As it turn out, the Japanese invaded by land, coming down the Peninsula, and rendering the preparation moot.

The British defense consisted of light machineguns and Bofors anti-aircraft on Bukit Batu Maung, or more correctly, Bukit Punjab. The guns are aimed at protecting the Butterworth airfield. There are several pillboxes built to protect the island from sea landings. The entire complex covers an area of 20 acres. The British Royal Engineers and a work force comprising of local labourers blasted and dug into Bukit Punjab to create a fort.

As it turned out, on December 16, the British evacuated when the Japanese started bombing the island and seized many ships and boats in the harbour the day before. The Japanese came ashore at dawn of the following day. They arrived on small boats and seized the island without losing a single soldier. They were surprised that the British did not even destroy the radio station in Penang before evacuating, so they used it to broadcast their propaganda to Malaya and Singapore.

From under Japanese Occupation, the Batu Maung Fort was used to protect Japanese shipping from Allied attack. After ww2, it was abandoned. Another 60 years would have passed before the Penang Government decided to restore the complex and turn it into the Penang War Museum.

As you explore this museum, you get to see the pill boxes, tunnels, observation tower, lock up and even cook house used by the British soldiers. If you are keen to rediscover how it was during the Second World War, then you should pay a visit to the War Relic Museum. Otherwise, it may not be worth the while to allow the mosquitoes in this place to feast on you. And by the way, bring insect repellant!

For more info: The Penang War Museum
Lot 1350 Mukim 12, Merah Barat Daya, Batu Maung, 11960 Penang
Tel: 016-421 3606 / 604-391 0067 • Fax: 604-644 8015
Opened seven days a week (including public holidays), from 9:00am to 7:00pm.
Entrance fee is RM15 for adults and RM7.50 for children.


  1. Paid a visit to the museum with my family 2 years ago and it was a relaxing afternoon affair. The museum could do with additional exhibits given the authentic setting. I do hope the curator will take the initiative to contact people in the MHG or WW2 enthuasiast to improve the museum further. The climb up through the ammo bunker should not be missed

  2. Agree with you. The Museum does need to improve with a lot more exhibits. It feels more like an abandoned fort at the moment.

  3. apa kabar semua semoga sehat selalu tuan , puan , rokhman ....

    1. Helo Rokhman, Hope the info is correct on Penang War Museum. Do share some interesting info about the museum with us.