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Speakers' Square, The Esplanade, George Town, Penang

Speakers' Square at The Esplanade, George Town

The Speakers' Square at the Padang within George Town's Esplanade is an open-air public speaking area. It is Malaysia's first public speakers' corner, and was opened in 2010 to epitomise the commitment by the Democratic Action Party-led Penang state government towards freedom of expression.

It covers the northern part of the Padang just south of the Millennium Monument.

History

Inspired by Hyde Park in London, the Speakers' Square, the first of its kind in Malaysia, was opened to the public in 2010 by the Chief Minister of Penang, Lim Guan Eng. Launched just two years after the opposition alliance consisting of the Democratic Action Party (DAP), People's Justice Party (PKR) and Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS)[1] was voted into power in Penang, it reflects the new Penang state government's commitment towards free speech in Penang.

The northern part of the Padang was selected as the Speakers' Square, as there is a stage facing the Padang at the spot and it is a distance away from vehicular traffic.

Tan Seng Hai became the first speaker to speak at the Speakers' Square. He used his speech to announce his online petition on the proposed Penang International Convention Centre.

Since then, the Speakers' Square has been serving as a focal point for demonstrations by parties supporting and opposing the Democratic Action Party-led Penang state government, as well as by Penang's vocal non-governmental organisations (NGOs).

Restrictions

Members of the public are allowed to speak at the Speakers' Corner between 1800 hours and 2200 hours every Wednesday and Sunday. Speakers are not allowed to use loudspeakers, megaphones and any other sound amplifiers.

Those wishing to speak at the Speakers' Square shall do it at their own risk. The Penang state government and the Penang Island City Council are not responsible for any prosecution or legal action taken by the Royal Malaysian Police.

Note

  1. PAS turned against the coalition in 2015, leaving the DAP and the PKR as the current ruling parties in Penang.

References

  1. http://www.penang-traveltips.com/speakers-square.htm
  2. http://anilnetto.com/democracy/first-speakers-step-up-at-speakers-square/
  3. http://limguaneng.com/index.php/2010/05/04/launching-of-the-first-speakers-corner-in-malaysia/
  4. http://www.thesundaily.my/node/146742
  5. http://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2010/05/05/speak-up-literally-at-penangs-speakers-square/

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