The Cemeteries of Penang, Malaysia

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Burial Registers for Batu Lanchang Cemetery, 1948-2013
1. Batu Lanchang Chinese Cemetery—
This United Hokkien Cemetery is the oldest continuously-run cemetery in Penang. It dates from 1805, and is full. A caretaker of the cemetery has 4 burial books in his possession, which record the burials from 1948 until January of 2013. This cemetery is famous for an early burial of the first Capitan China of Penang, named Koh Lay Huan, 1787-1826. There is an open building on the property, which, I am told, will one day be renovated into a columbarium.

Gravestone for Tan Ewe Chin With Full Genealogical Information - Mt. Erskine Cemetery
2. Mount Erskine Chinese Cemetery—
This is another United Hokkien Cemetery, which dates from 1842. It is full and overgrown, and many of the stones are too weathered to be readable.

3. Batu Gantong Chinese Cemetery—Dating from 1886, this is the third United Hokkien Cemetery. It is located at the end of the Batu Gantong Road, Pulau Tikus, Georgetown, Penang, and an office is located on the property.

4. Paya Terubong Chinese Cemetery—This fourth United Hokkien cemetery occupies a large area of Paya Terubong from the Penang Hill until the main road. Established in 1941, it is still receiving burials and is in the process of adding a very large columbarium complex on the property. An office is currently located on the property.

5. Teluk Bahang Chinese Cemetery—This fifth United Hokkien Cemetery is located near Penang National Park, on the northwestern part of the Island, and dates from 1965. An office is also located on this property.

Note: The above five cemeteries are managed under the auspices of the United Hokkien Cemetery Association, which has an office at 161 Jalan Batu Gantong, Penang. They are open from 9:00 to 4:30 every day of the week, and in 1990, they published an anniversary book which celebrated their 200th anniversary. Their e-mail is and their phone number is 04-826 1967. Mr. Pak is the manager of this office, which holds all of the records for the five cemeteries, except for the more current books which are held by the caretakers at each cemetery.

6. The Sin Kang Khoo Clan Cemetery—Located in Farlim, Penang, this cemetery is for deceased male members of the Khoo clan, their wives, and unmarried Khoo women. It is located on a site of 17 acres, much of which is on a quite steep hill. This cemetery, the land of which was purchased in 1920, has separate sections for single and double stones. The Khoo Kongsi has an office in Cannon Square, Penang, which holds the burial records of this cemetery from 1923, and clan registration forms, which contain much genealogical information for its members. A person by the name of June will make a search based upon a name and death date. Her phone number is 04-261 4609.

7. Cheah Sek Tong Private Cemetery—This is a cemetery for the Cheah clan in the Mt. Erskine area of Penang. It is located behind the Mt. Erskine Hokkien Cemetery. The land was acquired in 1901 and is comprised of 30 acres.

8. Mount Erskine Cantonese Cemetery—Located to the north of the United Hokkien Cemetery on the same road is this Cantonese Cemetery, which is divided into sections. One of the sections located closest to Gottlieb Road is the Teochew Clan Association graveyard, which is associated with the Teochew Clan office on Chulia Street, Penang. This Cantonese cemetery is very old and very large and overgrown most of the year. The office for this cemetery, the Kwangtung and Tengchow Association, is located in Georgetown at 50 Lebuh Penang.

9. Sungai Nibong Private Chinese Cemetery—This cemetery is located in an area that is named after the Nibong River. There is no recognizable entrance, so getting into the cemetery can be difficult Once in a rather isolated area with rubber trees on the property, it is now mostly surrounded by tall buildings, and all of the trees have been cut down; therefore it is difficult for persons who have been there before to locate the graves of their ancestors, without these landmark trees. In 2013, we noticed that numbers had been attached to each gravestone; therefore, there must be a list. We were told that the keeper of the list only shows up on “Tomb Sweeping” day.

10. Sepuluh Kongsi Cemetery—This is a Chinese Sepuluh Kongsi Cemetery located in the Sungai Ara, across from the Sungai Ara Army Camp, Penang. It is so named, because all Chinese clans can be buried in it. Once located out of town, it is now hemmed in by residential housing on two sides. There is another Supuluh Kongsi Cemetery in Relau, Penang.

11. Blissful Memorial Park—This Chinese cemetery it located in Sungai Lembu, Bukit Mertajam, and is on the mainland of Penang. Founded in 2004, it is a privately managed cemetery and garden mausoleum with a Guinness World Book record for its large gateway arch at the entrance. An office for this cemetery is located in Georgetown at 24 Nanning Street, with a telephone number of +60 4-228-2233.

12. Jewish Cemetery—This cemetery is the only one established for the Jewish community in Penang. The land was purchased in 1805, but the existing stones range from 1835 to 1978, although there was one additional grave placed in the cemetery in 2011, which marked the passing of the last ethnic Jew on the island. There are 107 graves, and the cemetery is located on Zainal Abidin Road, between Burma and MacAlister. At one time, the records for this cemetery were kept by the caretakers who lived on the property; however, in July of 2013, I was told by the present caretaker that the records had been sent to Australia. The website connected with this cemetery has a tab entitled “Register of Burials.” but when one clicks on it, a message appears, “To be added; check back soon.”

13. Kelawai Road Catholic Cemetery—This lovely cemetery, located off Kelawai Road in Pulau Tikus, is attached to the Roman Catholic Church “Immaculate Conception,” in Penang. Most of its deceased parishioners are buried here. For more information, see another Wiki article, entitled “Immaculate Conception Roman Catholic Church and the Kelawai Road Cemetery, Penang, Malaysia.”

14. Old Protestant Cemetery and the Adjacent Catholic Cemetery—This Protestant cemetery, the oldest cemetery in Penang, sustained heavy bombings in December 1941. It was originally created to bury the early administrators, European traders, and missionaries who arrived following the establishment of the British Colony by Captain Francis Light in 1786. Also buried there are some of the early Governors who succumbed to tropical diseases, some 12 Chinese persons, some early German merchants and their relatives, and one Armenian. The most famous grave is that of Sis Francis Light, who died in 1794.

Once called the Northam Road Cemetery, it is located in a group of Frangipani trees and is quite impressive, though very congested in some parts, and vacant, due to bombings, in other parts. The first burial was of HDD Cunningham in 1789, and the last burial was of Cornelia Josephine Van Someren in 1892. Thereafter, deceased persons were buried in the Western Road Cemetery. Altogether, there are about 500 graves, but 25% of them are unidentifiable. Some photos of these stones have been uploaded to the Find-A-Grave website. In addition, a listing of the stones has been published in the book entitled, The Christian Cemeteries of Penang and Perak by Alan Harfield, 1987.

15. Western Road Christian Cemetery—This cemetery, located on Jalan Utama in Penang, dates from the mid-1880s. The earliest grave is that of Walter Miller, who died in 1886. Unlike the Old Protestant Cemetery which took a hit by the Japanese in December 1941, this cemetery has been untouched and is in good shape. Generally speaking, the oldest graves are near the front entrance, with the more recent ones towards the back, and the Protestants take up the central and right hand sides, and the Catholics on the left. Although most of the graves are of Chinese Christians, with some Indian Christians, a recording of the European graves from this cemetery was taken and published in September 1998. You can find a copy of this document in the World Heritage Center in Penang and also in the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah. Photos of some of the graves have also been uploaded to the website, “Find-a-Grave.” Most of the writing on the stones is English. Two of the gravestones and an introduction to this cemetery may be found in Alan Harfield’s book, The Christian Cemeteries of Penang and Perak. He states (1987) that burial registers exist for this cemetery, dating from 1926.

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16. Batu Lanchang Hindu Cemetery—
This cemetery, the largest Hindu cemetery in Penang, is located off Batu Lanchang Lane, just behind Island Park. It is managed by the Hindu Endowment Board at the Komtar Building, Level 30. Their phone number is 04-650 5215. Spaces in this cemetery are leased for thirty years, and when the leases are renewed, the memorials are not disturbed; however, if the leases are not renewed, the plots are used for subsequent burials.

17. Perak Road Malay Cemetery—This is the largest Muslim cemetery in Penang. Burials are done one on top of another, about 10 feet deep for the first grave, so that subsequent deceased family members can be buried in the same grave.

18. Pokok Setpo Muslim Cemetery—This is an old Malay cemetery occupying about an acre in Air Itam, locted at the end of Jalan Shaik Madar, a country lane off Thean Teik Road.

19. Dawoodi Bohra Islamic Cemetery—This is a forty-plus grave cemetery for the small Indian Muslim community in Penang. It is located on Perak Road, across the road from Masjid Wan Chik Ariffin.

20. Japanese Cemetery—This cemetery is located at Lintang P Ramlee, an off road of Jalan P Ramlee. Set up in 1893, it has a total of 56 gravestones, and is the final resting place for the Japanese immigrants of Penang. All of the tombstones were erected before WWII.

Submitted October 31, 2013