History of Penang San Kiang Association

The early years

During the early troubled times in mainland China the citizens led difficult lives. Those from the coastal areas migrated to other countries including Malaya.

The early immigrants from the provinces of Tzejiang, Jiangsu, Jiangsi established San Kiang Association Penang in 1897. The first 53 members that socialized in Church Street were led by Wong Nay Kong, the first President. Later the Association moved to Burmah Road, Hutton lane and later to Macalister Road. Many of the office bearers returned to China or passed away, hence the Association had to stop its activities.



On April 1, 1937, fellow provincials Koo Zhi Hua, Lee Chang An, David Chen, Kwang Zhen Min, Hsu Jin Piao, Mao Hong Chang and Gek Yu Sheng and others, encouraged more immigrants to join the Association which at that time was located at No 3D, Penang Road.

It was also decided that to expand the Association, memberships were opened to other provinces in China except those from Kwangtung, Kwangxi and Fujian. A resolution was passed on Aug 15, 1937 with 17 office bearers and Koo Zhi Hua was appointed to make registration of the Association legal.

On Oct 31, 1938 registration was approved and the newly established committee sought for a new premise. No.109 Macalister Lane was rented and renovated for the new association.

New Year Eve, Feb 19, 1939 saw the celebration for the opening ceremony of the association and the first office bearers were selected.

President: Lee Chang An; Vice President: Koo Zhi Hua; Secretary: Chen Chong Eng (David Chen); Auditor: Mao Hong Chang; Minutes Secretary: Kwang Zhen Min; Assistant Secretary: Kim Sen San and Gek Yu Sheng; Social Secretary: Zhang Qing Siang; Asst Social Secretary: Wei Qi Min and Hsu Rei Qing; Investigator: Seng Zhi Yi; Asst Investigator: Lim Lian Fu & Guan Ah Kow; Publicity officer: Chen Ah Siang; Asst. Publicity officers: Hsu Mao Siang & See Heng Yu.

All 17 office bearers were in charge of Association matters.

Pre-war association matters were largely concerned with members being cooperative, helping fellow provincials encouraging hardworking. Activities such as martial arts classes, table tennis, badminton, Chinese music and opera were encouraged and organized. A library for books and magazines was set up and a suggestion box was made available for members to voice their opinions. Three rooms to let out to outstation members and a rest house for overseas visitors were created. Members socialized and collected donations for Chinese refugees and conducted street shows to collect money and clothes for those members who went back to China. Many went back to China to help save China from the Japanese invasion. They assisted the Wuhan Choir to seek funds and donated monthly to the Chinese Embassy to register the Chinese immigrants in Malaya. Funds were also raised for orphans, widows and old folks.

In 1941 when the Japanese invaded Penang, all activities ceased for 3 years and 8 months during Japanese occupation in Malaya. The members only maintained the association and the cemetery during this period of time.

Post World War 2

In August 1945 the Japanese surrendered.

Jan 1, 1946

San Kiang Association was reestablished and the rules and regulations were amended with 35 committee members being appointed. This new working committee recruited new members and in 1949 the Rules and Regulations were amended again. The committee consisted of 1 Chairman, 2 Vice Chairman, secretary and his assistant, treasurer and his 2 assistants, auditor and his 2 assistants, recorder of minutes, 3 social officers and 3 welfare officers. A welfare event was organized to raise funds to help poor fellow provincials and help some return to China.

Oct 30, 1950

The association was registered with the Registrar of Societies and the registration no. 211 was given.

Jan 1951

The Members wanted to establish a solid foundation for the Association. No. 109 Macalister Lane was bought. A few years later it was rebuilt under the careful supervision of the Building committee consisting of Koo Zhi Hua, Lee Hao Tuck, Chow Ti Kang, Zee Yong Seng and Guan Ah Kow. The completion of the new building was in 1953 and this brought a new era to San Kiang Association.

The cemetery land in Batu Uban Lot 146 was not big enough for the growing number of members as many members decided to settle down in Penang. It was decided to buy Lot 147 so with the help of Koo Zhi Hua and Chow Ti Kang, and the generosity of Shaw Brothers, Lot 147 was successfully acquired. However, only a small portion of the land was assigned as burial land by MBPP.


A financial report from 1949 to 1953 was announced to the members through a newsletter.

In 1966, plans were drawn up to build an apartment building next to our main building. This block will have shop lots on the ground floor and residential flats on 2nd and 3rd floors. The collection of funds was initiated and a committee was formed in 1967 to oversee the building process. Cost of the project was $49,000 and in 1970 the members celebrated the grand opening of the apartment building. This newly acquired asset increased our association assets up to another level.

Scholarship & Aid fund for Members Schooling Children


It was decided to encourage our members’ children to study harder. Goh Chan Chee, Lee Hao Tuck, Shu Lai Yu, Hsu Pak Chow and Ku Lai Yew each donated $500.00 towards this fund. Chow Man Sha was put in charge of this fund. Initially due to limited funds only primary and secondary students were the recipients of the scholarship and aid. Subsequently as the years went by, the number of applicants increased and the total amounted given out increased to $10,000 per year.


Ta Pak Kong temple was rebuilt and was supervised by the committee headed by Cheang Kong Leong and See Ming Chuan. In 1980 a new signboard at the cemetery replaced the old that had fallen down. The total sum of $38000.00 was expanded for the new temple and it was completed in 1981.

On the cemetery land a house was built whereby See Cheng Chong stayed as caretaker of the cemetery and temple.


This year saw the introduction of Women and Youth sections of the Association.

For the Women’s section, Lin Fu Tien headed the team with Sin Liang Chooi and Chen Chew Ting as deputies. Classes for cooking, cosmetic usage, flower arrangement, sewing were organized. There were tours for members and this section saw to the distribution of cash and food to old folks and orphans.

In the same year the Youth section was headed by Koo Kok Wah, and Chang Ming Shee and Goh Su Chuen as deputies.

The Federated Association of San Kiang Associations of Malaysia and Singapore.

San Kiang associations from other states and Singapore were established; hence the federation association was formed in 1965 to enhance the cordial relationships of members of all San Kiang Associations. However this initial coalition did not really take root thus in 1975 the Federation of San Kiang Associations was again formed. In Feb 26, 1978, an AGM was held and in the Rules and Regulations it was stated that the chairmanship of this Federation would alternate amongst member association.

In the same year, a scholarship fund was established with a generous donation from Shaw Brothers of a sum of $50,000 (tax free). In 1993 the fund had grown to $120,000 and each San Kiang Association is eligible to a sum of $1500 annually.

LOT 147

This piece of property was acquired with the initial generous donation of $7,000.00 from Shaw Brothers. The effort put in by Ku Chi Hua and and Chow Ti Kang will be appreciated by all members for they personally appealed for this fund from Shaw Brothers.

This land was designated to be cemetery land, however there was no approval for it from the Council for the surrounding land had been rapidly developing into residential area. Later, only a part of it was approved to be used as cemetery land.

Koo Zhi Hua Memorial Hall

Koo Zhi Hua was vice chairman in 1937, chairman from 1950 to 1963. In appreciation for his great contribution to the Association, the members decided to name the Association hall as Koo Zhi Hua Memorial Hall in 1982.

San Kiang Holdings Company

Due to the fact that part of Lot 147 cannot be turn into cemetery burial ground, the association in 1983 set up a company to build apartment blocks on the land. At the AGM on Aug 14, 5 trustees and 21 committee members were assigned for the job. However, due to insufficient funds, the company was dissolved and the land was later sold to MWE subsidiary in 1990 for a sum of RM3.2m.该土地则在1990年以320万令吉售出给MWE的一家子公司。

San Kiang Association Assets

With the proceed from the sale of Lot 147, 2 pieces of land were bought in Sg. Ara for a sum of RM785,000 in 1993. Land size of the 2 pieces is 13 acres. 1997 a new valuation of the land was RM5m.

Malacca Street – the 2 double storey buildings were worth RM1.2m.

Jawi Durian orchard was valued at RM220,000 for 4 acres.

Reassembly of old graves into One New Grave

After 1986 AGM, it was decided some of the old graves that had no more descendents residing in Malaysia would be exhumed. News about this was published in the local newspapers. The reason was to open up more land for future use. Prayers were held on Sept 10, 1992.

95th Anniversary Celebration

After a major renovation of our premises, 3 lawyers were invited to be our legal advisors. To celebrate our 95th anniversary, a dinner was held at 59th Floor, Komtar. The Chief Minister of Penang graced our dinner. Other invitees included the chairpersons of San Kiang Associations, and other Clan houses.

Donation of a sum of RM10,000 was made to Lam Wah Yee Hospital, TAR College, old folks homes and orphanages.

Welfare Activities

In 1992, it was decided that a sum of RM400 will be donated to families of members who had passed away and RM200 to members if their parents had passed away. For the destitute and those without family members, the association paid for burial.

The sick members were never turned away empty handed.

Amendments were made to the rules and regulations.

100 year Celebration 1997

A big celebration was held at the Chinese Town Hall. A souvenir magazine was printed under the supervision of Chang Choo An.

Purchase of Property

In 1999, in order to increase the revenue, the Association bought two units of double-storied business units at Sunway Tunas, Bayan Baru.

July 16, 2002

A fire broke out on the second floor of the association premise. All items, furniture and paintings were destroyed. Damage was extensive. Oct 27, an EGM was held to discuss the cost of the repairs and renovation of building, and to accept the RM75,000 compensation from the insurance company. 


With the rotation system, Penang San Kiang Association held the chairmanship of the Malaysian Federated San Kiang Association for two years.


Roof of the temple at the cemetery that was infected by termites collapsed.

Feb 29, an EGM was held to approve an expenditure of RM28,000 to repair the roof. This was taken care of by the Property Sub-committee. 


The Association Rules & Regulations was amended. The number of committee members was decreased from 35 to 23. All assets and properties were to be registered under the Association’s name.


Shu Bei Hong’s renowned painting of horses that was severely damaged by water during the fire was presented to Lian Cheng Art Gallery as a gift after the EGM approval. In return, they donated RM30,000 to Penang San Kiang Association as a token of appreciation.


Shanghai Cultural Organization members visited Penang San Kiang Association during Chinese New Year celebration. They brought along several artisans to show off their skills.


The Welfare sub-committee increased the donation to the family members of the deceased member to RM600, and RM300 to member’s if their parent or spouse passed away.


The Penang San Kiang Association again assumed the chairmanship of the Malaysian Federated San Kiang Association after a lapse of ten years which was last held by Penang in 2007.

18 Nov, 2017

The year long 120th anniversary celebration culminated in a grand dinner at Shang Wu School Hall.

A souvenir program magazine was also published to commemorate the association’s 120 years existence of history.


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