Vandalism Rears Its Ugly Head on Penang’s Famous Murals

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Already RM25,000 spent to restore vandalised street art in Penang.

After the recent outcry on vandalism at the brand new Sungai Buloh-Kajang Line MRT stations, now the spotlight is on Penang’s defaced iconic murals which are popular backdrops for photography among tourists.

The Penang Island City Council (MBPP) plans to install additional surveillance cameras along the roads with street art after their iconic murals were targeted by vandals.

“The council has already spent about 25 percent of its RM100,000 annual maintenance allocation to restore vandalised street art pieces this year,” MBPP Conservation Department director Noorhanis Noordin was quoted as saying in The Star.

“We will usually remove the unwanted marks before contacting the artist to come back and help restore the damaged part,” Noorhanis added.

The vandalised street art includes the famous Children on a Bicycle mural on Armenian Street, which had been splattered with wax, splashed with dhal curry, spray-painted yellow and covered with advertisements.

The mural of a boy with his pet dinosaur on Ah Quee Street was also damaged by vandals who left black scribbles all over the boy’s face.

Other commonly vandalised murals and street metal sculptures included those on touristy Armenian Street, Acheen Street and Kampung Kolam Road.

In Kedah, the state government spends at least RM2 million a year to repair damage caused by vandals, said Local Government Committee chairman Datuk Badrul Hisham Hashim.

“We have had to clean up graffiti on walls, remove illegal loan shark posters and replace stolen streetlight cables and plants.

“The city’s iconic fountain is always filled with rubbish while the ‘Selamat Datang Ke Alor Setar’ sign always has graffiti on it,” Badrul said.

He added that the state was also planning to have CCTVs in strategic spots and getting enforcement officers to increase patrols.

Alor Setar City Council Corporate Planning and Community Services Department director Bohari Md Yusof urged the public to report acts of vandalism.

“We need the public’s help as these vandals only carry out their acts in the wee hours and under the cover of darkness,” Bohari said.

Related report: Jul 24, Vandals Strike MRT Stations Just Days After Launch