For those who enjoy history as well as beautiful architecture, one of the most important places to visit in Penang is the State Assembly Building. This building is called Dewan Undangan Negeri Pulau Pinang in Malay, so you should expect to hear it referred to by that name as well. The building is situated among many other popular tourist attractions in Malaysia, specifically in the center of Georgetown (also written as George Town).
The State Assembly Building is a white building that was originally built during the beginning of the 19th century before being renovated in 1874. The architecture is in an Anglo-Indian style and it offers an overall well-maintained and groomed appearance. For an eye-catching feature, don’t forget to take a glance at the orange roof. When you first glance at the State Assembly Building, you will find that it truly shows European influences in places to visit in Malaysia as it resembles a Greek Temple due to the white colonnades, or columns.
Today, the State Assembly Building continues to be the site of most major decisions for the area. In the past, the building has served as the Magistrate’s Courts and Recorder’s Courts, as well as a building for the Central Police Station. It actually housed the Police Court, so the building was the site of all criminal court cases. As of 1890, there was a new administrative block added to the building, allowing it to also serve as the immigration office. As the name of the building implies, today it is the Penang State Assembly, making it an important site within the state and even the country.
Since you cannot enter the State Assembly Building, it helps to include it as one of many things to do in Malaysia within a given day. Consider exploring the rest of Georgetown on the same day. You can easily take a self-guided walking tour to visit the State Assembly Building as well as the immigration department, Islamic Council Building, ABN-Amro Bank Building, India House, George Town Dispensary, Wisma Kastam (Malayan Railway Building), and other tourist attractions in the same afternoon.
As a governmental structure, the State Assembly Building is one of the things to do in Penang that you must view from outside as civilians and visitors are not allowed to enter the building itself. As such, you do not have to worry about paying an admission fee or arriving when the building is closed. The building is along Light Street, close to Farquhar Street. Pictures from the outside of the building are allowed, but remember that this is not really a tourist building so you will see a lot of the people who work there.
During your visit, keep in mind that the State Assembly Building is in constant use and an important piece of governmental processes throughout Penang. As such, you should do your best to prevent disruptions to the peace while there. By remaining respectful, you will encourage the community to continue allowing visitors so others have the chance to appreciate the architecture and history of the building. The people who work here and those in the area take pride in keeping the building clean and appreciate tourists that do the same.