Friday, September 11, 2009


Relau(湖内)or Oh-lai, which in Chinese literally means "within the lake". But I cannot find any lake in Relau, except the lake near the Lakeview Tower, Tingkat Bukit Jambul. Now the lake has been developed into a park. The source of water to the lake is from Bukit Jambul or Jambul Hill, where frequently there are car owners using the water upstream to wash their car, and at the same time pollute the lake water downstream. This may be the lake the Chinese named the place oh-lai(within the lake).

The name Relau in Malay is "quarry". There used to be quarry operating near Taman Alor Vista, at the end of Lebuh Relau. There is also a river named Sungai Relau or Relau River.

Bukit Relau is a permanent forest reserve, about 69 hectares, at the hill near Jalan Tun Sardon. It was gazetted in 6-1-1911. It is hope that the forest reserve will not be damaged by illegal clearing, and Forest Department will keep close monitor on the reserve.

The town Relau is used to be a small village town outside Georgetown,Penang island. It was mainly agricultural based, there were estate and villages. But today Relau has become modern residential area with high rising apartment and condominium. It is no longer a small village town.

It is located within the North East district or Daerah Timur Laut (东北县)of Penang state. It is within the state constituency of Paya Terubong and Parliament seat of Bukit Glugor(which included Kg Pisang, Paya Terubong, Thean Teik, Kg Melayu, Relau, Sg Gelugor, Bukit Gelugor). The post code however is under Bayan Lepas. It is under MPPP(Majlis Perbandaran Pulau Pinang)or Municipal Council of Penang Island.

There is a weekly night market every Monday, at the road in front of Pusat Pertanian Relau.

PISA (Penang International Sport Arena(槟城湖内国际室内体育馆), Taman Awam Metropolitan Relau(湖內人民公園), Sek Keb Seri Relau, Sek Jenis Kebangsaan (Cina) Min Sin(明新学校), Relau Tua Pek kong Temple(1896), Relau Villa(1930), Relau Rumah Charis(湖內恩惠爱老院)are all located at Relau.

The boundary of Relau town is not clear. Noted some said PISA is actually at Bayan Baru, but the Chinese name for PISA(湖内国际室内体育馆), clearly indicated that Relau(湖内)is its location, is that any difference? between official administrative Relau, and Relau in the heart of local people, or historical Relau of the bygone years?......The web sites of state government, MPPP, Pejabat Daerah & Tanah Timur Laut, are of no help to provide information. It is sad and pity for a Heritage city.....where is Relau?. Relau should be the area bordered by Paya Terubong(垄尾/壟尾), Bukit Jambul(武吉占姆), Sg Ara(新港) and Bayan Baru(峇央峇魯).

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Jalan Paya Terubong( 垄尾路) - The road is from Air Itam town to Jalan Tun Dr Awang, Relau. This is only part of the road in Relau.

Jalan Tun Dr Awang - The road between Jalan Sultan Azlan Shah round about(Bukit Jambul/Bayan Point) and the two road meet again at round about at the entrance of Bayan Lepas International Airport. The road is named after a former governor of Penang from 1981-1989(5th governor), Tun Awang Hassan(1910-1998).

Jalan Dato Ismail Hashim(Jalan Relau/Jalan Sg Ara) - The road is long , located from the place where Jalan Tun Dr Awang diverse at PISA, and connected to Jalan Bayan Lepas, old Bayan Lepas town.It end just at the T junction of the town, in front of the Bayan Lepas Police Station. The road may be named after Dato Haji Ismail Hashim from Kedah. It was formerly known as Jalan Relau and Jalan Sg Ara, named after the village town, which had disappeared.

Note: If you want to know how the old Relau old village town looked like in the past, visit Bayan Lepas or Teluk Kumbar old town.

Dato Haji Ismail Hashim(1933-1966)

Dato' Haji Ismail bin Hashim was born on 16 April 1933 in Jerlun, Kedah. He received his early education at the Malay School Kedawang, Langkawi up to standard three and continued his education at the Malay School Air Hitam, Kubang Pasu in 1942. In 1947, he furthered his studies at the Maktab Mahmud Alor Star.

The late, Dato' Ismail b. Hashim was well known at the Tilawah Al-Quran Council either at national or international level. His melodious voice while reciting the holy Al-Quran not only mesmerized the local Muslim society but also internationally. Ever since the first musabaqah Al-Quran recital was held in 1956, the late Dato' Ismail was the first and only qari champion who had won nine times at national level and eight times at international level.

He was the only national contestant who had achieved the highest ranking in the musabaqah Al-Quran competition. He was also the first Malay whose Al-Quran recital was broadcasted live on the Sudan television and radio while he was visiting the nation in 1966 and later in Egypt in 1976. He retired from the post of Inspector of Kedah Religious Schools in 1988, had was honoured by the Government of Thailand to recite the Al-Quran before the Maulidur Rasul Council which was held in Bangkok in 1963.

Dato' Ismail b. Hashim passed away on 7 August 1966 due to heart problems at the age of 64.

Note: Jalan Kampong Relau is not at Relau, but at Bukit Jambul, it is located between Jalan Sultan Azlan Shah and Jalan Tun Dr Awang

Taman Awam Metropolitan Relau(湖內人民公園)

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Lebuh Relau(Relau Street)

The view of Lebuh Relau

Another view of Lebuh Relau near the T junction

The T junction

The new terrace house and the children playground

Jalan Fettes(Fettes Road) , Relau(a short cut to Sg Ara)

The road according to Goggle map is Jalan Fettes, but we cannot found any road sign there. Jalan Fettes(if this is the name) can lead to Relau Rumah Charis(湖内恩惠爱老院), an old folks home.It is also considered by some as a short cut to Sg Ara, avoiding the narrow traffic junction. Jalan Fettes end with Jalan Dato Ismail Hashim(Jalan Relau), it is a circular road, going through some villages and vegetable farms, but the area is now under development for residential houses.

The said Jalan Fettes is under post code 11900 Bayan Lepas. There is also a road named Jalan Fettes( 水池路) at Tanjong Tokong connected to Jalan Tanjong Tokong under post code 10470 Georgetown). Jalan Fettes is named after J.D.Fettes, the engineer of the Guillemard reservoir built in 1929. I wonder why there are two roads named after him and the road in Relau not named after a new name, when other existing colonial roads were changed to other names?.

The route lead to interior of Chinese village

The land is waiting for development

The view of the Relau apartment and condominium from the village road(Jalan Fettes)

The view of Chinese village

The farm, after harvest or .....

Vegetable farm, land reported sold for housing development

The road beside a Chinese village

The side view

Relau Rumah Charis(湖内恩惠爱老院)

The road to Jalan Paya Terubong

At the Jalan Paya Terubong junction

The Relau town & traffic light junction

Jalan Paya Terubong, Jalan Dato Ismail Hashim(formerly Jalan Relau) T junction, a
narrow traffic light T junction. This traffic junction is the bottleneck of traffic flow in the area, often causing traffic jam when the flow is heavy. The development of Sg Ara residential area and the nearby factories located at Bayan Baru, where most of the workers are staying at Relau, and the shortest route from Bayan Lepas area to Air Itam, Balik Pulau created the heavy traffic at the junction. The road at the traffic junction need to be widen.

There is a row of pre-war single storey timber houses, some are abandoned along Jalan Dato Ismail Hashim , just opposite the Jalan Paya Terubong.There are some shops at the curve corner turning to Jalan Dato ismail Hashim. Immediately after the corner, are the row of pre-war shops, which lead to a corner restaurant and the temple compound.

The view toward Sg Ara

The road to Paya Terubong

The road from Jalan Dato Ismail Hashim(from Bukit Jambul)

The dilapidated building

The traffic light junction

Traffic from Jalan Paya terubong

The pre-war double storey houses at old Relau village town

view of shops at Jalan Relau(now Jalan Dato Ismail Hashim), old Relau town

One of timber house waiting for his fate...

The entracne to the temple

Timber houses along Jalan Dato Ismail Hashim(left), near traffic light junction

The view of the main road(Jalan Relau, now Jalan Dato Ismail Hashim), old Relau village town

The view of the Relau old village town

SJK(C) Min Sin(明新学校)
SJK(C) Min Sin(明新学校), located at 86, Jalan Tun Dr Awang, the corner lot of Persiaran Bukit Jambul. The school is actually established before 1935 at 50, Gladstone Road as night school, it moved to a timber building at 70, Seang Tek Road in 1935. When the building was in dangerous condition in 1958, the school board decided to construct a new school building, they purchased land at 67, Macalister Road(now the office of Sin Chew Daily), The new school building was completed in 1964, but only moved in 1966. But in 1983, the student population declined drastically due to the population shift to Bayan Baru and other new residential area in the suburb areas. The school board planned to move the school to Relau. In 2003, the school started to construct the new school at the land donated by late Tan Sri Loh Boon Siew at Relau. The school building was completed in 2003.

The entrance of the school

The row of shops , this after crossing Persiaran Bukit Jambul 1, just opposite PISA.

The commercial centre, which include banks e.g. Maybank and Public Bank. At the end of the row is Persiaran Bukit Jambul 1.

The Tua Pek Kong Temple, Relau

The temple is located at Jalan Dato Ismail Hashim, just opposite PISA, and near the traffic light junction. The entrance to the temple is surrounded by restaurant and coffee shops.There is a Chinese drama stage in front of the temple. Surrounding the temple are village houses built on temple's land, despite the timber village houses at other lands have been demolished, the houses at temple's land will remained intact.

Relau Tua Pek Kong Temple, or by its formal name Guang Yu Ci, is the principal Chinese Taoist temple in the village of Relau, it was established in 1896. The temple was built through the donation collected by Hokkien and Hakka benefactors in Penang and Perak. Tua Pek Kong, the 18th century Hakka scholar by the name Zhang Li, who landed in Penang earlier than Capt Francis Light at Tanjong Tokong area. He was later respected with a temple built in memory of him at the place he landed. The temple is called Tua Pek Kong Temple, which literally mean temple of big or eldest uncles, to denote that he is the earliest settler in Penang. He is later considered as the god of prosperity. Relau Tua Pek Kong temple is one of the temple in Relau built later to worship him to bring prosperity to Relau village and villagers.

The Chinese opera stage

The temple building

The village around the temple

Another view of the village

Shrine of a Datuk Kuning

Village houses

The path entrance to the Chinese village from Jalan Paya Terubong

The vegetable Farm
This may be the only few vegetable farm left in the Penang island. But reported to be the biggest vegetable farm in the island. With the land area of 7 acres. The resident of Relau can buy fresh vegetables here.

The Jalan Paya Terubong, Relau

Another view of Villa Kejora

The school, Sekolah Kebangsaan Seri Relau

New shops- Persiaran Paya Terubong 5

Villa Kejora, the blue apartment, behind Persiaran Terubong 5

Jalan Fettes T junction

Looking back ....

The coffee shop with food stalls at the corner of Jalan Fettes junction

This is village just opposite the traffic light

Persiaran Paya Terubong 2, high concentration of foreign workers here. The apartments are occupied by Vietnamese, Bangladeshi, Burmese, Indonesian etc, mainly factory workers. Sri Relau Apartment, Taman Sri Relau Apartment.

The traffic light T junction at Persiaran Paya Terubong 2

Looking back

The abandoned project, it has been abandoned for a long time. Any action by federal/state government or local council to revive the project ?. It has been near completion, it is an eye sore at Relau area. Any delay will caused unnecessary hardship to the buyers, and affect the beautification of the town.

The hawker centre at Pangsapuri Desamas Melur

The view toward the hawker centre

The entrance of Pusat Pertanian Relau

The view of Bukit Jambul from Pusat Pertanian Relau

The Lakeside apartments

The view from the traffic light junction

The entrance to Relau Taman Awam Metropolitan. The Lebuh Relau/Jalan Paya Terubong traffic light junction

The front is Marina Tower, followed by Pangsapuri Desamas Melur, and Taman Bendera

The road side Durian stall. Behind is the Taman Desa Relau Apartment

The pedestrian path

View after the curve....

The lone cyclist trying his best.....

The curve.......

The road is going downhill...

The view of apartment from Jalan Paya Terubong

Tingkat Bukit Jambul/Jalan Paya Terubong traffic light T junction

Related articles on Relau:
1. 中央列入拯救计划之一 湖内安宁园有望复工,9-8-2009, Kwong Wah Daily,
2. 解决搁置9年房屋发展计划 湖内安宁园公寓寻接管人, 3-8-2009,
雨毀收成齋戒月消費力低‧本地蔬菜行情跌三成, 光明日報 dated 25-8-2009,
5. 感召村民捐用具食糧,張胡坤揀廢棄建材建老人院, 光明日報‧2006/12/10,


  1. Very well researched and photographed article!

  2. Year 2017 now and things are different. Glad to have the opportunity to see old pictures of penang! Thank you!