Friday, May 8, 2009

Tan Sri Wong Pow Nee

(photo taken in the museum)

Hakka food and a Gallery for a politician, what a strange combination. It is Hakka Connexion, at NO.3, Jalan Bawasah, 10050 Penang. It is a Hakka restaurant and a mini museum in memory of Tan Sri Wong Pow Nee(For the hakka restaurant, please refer to my post with title Jalan Bawasah on 9-5-2009).

Tan Sri Michael Wong Pow Nee(1911-2002), the first Chief Minister of Penang(from 1957-1969). Tan Sri was a Hakka from Jiaying Hakka(嘉應客)which was later renamed Meixian Hakka(梅县客).His family was settled in Balik Pulau, Penang, and later moved to Bukit Mertajam. Father is John Wong Ee Chin and mother is Foo Nyuke Yin. John Wong moved to Bukit Mertajam from Balik Pulau, and become a timber merchant, later supplied wooden sleepers for BM/Kedah railway track, and later a housing developer.Tan Sri Wong Pow Nee was born on 7-10-1911 at 118, Straight Street, Bukit Mertajam,Penang, Strait Settlement, and passed away on 31-8-2002. He passed away on Merdeka Day(Independent Day of Malaysia).

Studied Chinese for 3 years in Jit Sin Primary School, Market Street, Bukit Mertajam
Educated in English at ACS Primary School,Bukit Mertajam
1926- St Xavier's Institution, Penang. He was active in Boy Scout Movement.
1932- passed Cambridge School Certificate at St Xavier's Institution
1933- graduate from St Xavier's Institution,
1935 - clerk in Sin Ban Guan Bus Company, which serviced Butterworth, Bukit Mertajam & Kulim
1938- He was the first choir master in the church choir, St Ann Catholic Church Bukit Mertajam under Father Laurent.
1938- The church bought the land for Kim Sen School and the second church
1941- WW2 broke out, Japanese occupied the church land

Wong Pow Nee accompanied the Catholic father to Kedah on missionary work during school holidays.

1937 to1941- St Mary Primary School, Permatang Tinggi, Simpang Empat
1941- Attend teacher training class in Penang
1945 to 1957 - Kim Sen Primary School, Bukit Mertajam

1953- Member of Bukit Mertajam Town Council
1955- Re-elected for another two years
1957- Appointed as the first Chief Minister of Penang on 31-8-1957 the date of independence from British.
1959- Reapponted as the Chief minister of Penang for 2nd term(5 years) after won the state seat
1964- Reappointed as the Chief Minister of Penang for the 3rd term(5 years); after he won the Bukit Mertajam state seat for the state assembly.
1969- Lost in the election in Bukit Mertajam

He was the one who read the Proclaimation of Independence on 31-8-2009 at Explanade,Penang. He was also in committee members of Cobbold Committee in 1962 which paved the way for the formation of Malaysia.

The second Chief Minister for Penang was Tun Lim Chong Eu, who took over from Tan Sri Wong Pow Nee.

The late Tan Sri Wong Pow Nee, I remember him as a boy scout, a great boy scout who become the first Chief Minister of Penang, he was strong supporter of boy scout movement. I once attended a scout function at his Chief Minister official residence. The 1st Malaysian Jamboree was in Penang in 1966 at Jublee Camp,Teluk Pahang. It was a great success. Once a scout, always a scout. That is the late Tan Sri Wong Pow Nee.(note: another boy scout is the former Prime Minister, Tun Abdullah Badawi, who is from BM High School and MBS)

If readers when to know more about the life of Tan Sri Wong Pow Nee, please visit the web site of his son, Mr Peter Wong Tet Phin,


  1. Eh, just dropping by and say hi. Tot this post would be about the hakka restaurant his son has opened up in Penang?!

  2. Thanks, Lai Ying.

    The hakka restaurant was posted on 9-5-2009, under title, Jalan Bawasah.