People in various countries around the world recently destroyed statues of white colonists and slave-owners in light of the Black Lives Matter movement. Penang is no exception.
The statue of Francis Light, a prominent British explorer who colonized Penang in 1786, was found splashed with red paint on Tuesday morning. The statue, which has been in George Town since 1936, has already been cleaned by this morning, although there are still some traces of the paint.
A staff who worked at Fort Cornwallis, the historical fort where the statue is located, told reporters that it appeared fine on Monday evening.
“I was here until Monday about 7pm and it was fine. We came the next day and found it splashed with red paint,” he said.
George Town police chief Soffian Santong said a police report was lodged about the vandalized statue yesterday.
“We received a report on the statue being vandalized and defaced with red paint,” he told the press.
The case has been classified under Section 427 of the Penal Code, which covers mischievous acts. If found guilty, the perpetrators could face a fine of more than RM25 (US$6) or up to five years’ jail.
At the moment, the perpetrator has not been identified. A Twitter user only known as Antifa M appears to have uploaded the first photos of the defaced statue on social media two days ago.
“Alas! In 2020, the statue of the colonizer and slave-owner named Francis Light in Penang meets the same fate as fellow monuments all over the world,” the tweet read. It gained around 1,000 retweets.
Another user, @AmrilsAvarices, commented: “He (Francis Light) tricked the king to transfer all the power to him, stole all our land resources, yet we erected a statue to honor this guy. Hmmm.”
“We have our own local heroes to remind us of history. We don’t need statues of white colonists,” Twitter user @AustiEnby chimed in.
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