The Rotary Club of Penang was the first Rotary Club to be organized in Malay Peninsula and Siam on 12th August 1929. (It was the first town visited by Davidson on his southerly journey down the Malay Peninsula.)
At the Inauguration Dinner held at the E&O Hotel Rtn Percy M. Robinson was installed the Charter President and Rtn. C.W.A. Sennett the Charter Secretary.
However, it was not until 8th October 1930 that we received the Charter and was admitted to Rotary International. There were 71 chartered members – among whom were famous names such as Lim Cheng Ean, Dr K Mohd Ariff, Dr J.W. Scharff, C.R. Samuel, Dr Lee Tiang Keng, F.H. Grumitt and Dr Ong Chong Keng to name a few Past Presidents.
During the Japanese Occupation 1942-46 the Club ceased functioning. The Rotary Club of Penang was re-admitted into Rotary International on 23rd October 1946.
Penang was the venue of five Conferences and one Asia Zone Institute. We were host to the First Asia Regional Conference in 1937-38. The first District Conference to be held in Penang was in 1939 when Rtn. Charles R Samuel was District Governor. It was a lapse of thirty years before two more District Conference was held here at which time Rtn. Dr C H Yeang became District Governor in 1969; and four years later Rtn William Ng Jit Thye was elected District Governor in 1973. It was again a lapse of twenty long years that Rtn. Herbert J Ho Jr was elected Governor in 1993 before we hosted another conference. In 1994 Asia Zone 4 Institute hosted by District 3300, was held in Penang on December 8-10 with resounding success. Comprising some 12 countries in Asia with diverse cultures, languages, historical background and different economic developments levels had made Asia Zone 4 a most unique, vibrant and exciting one in the Rotary World. (Note: Asia Zone 4 was rezoned soon after this Institute). In 1995 another District Conference – the fourth, was held when Rtn Dr Santokh Singh was elected Governor.
The Rotary Club of Penang has had the honour of sponsoring several Rotary, Rotaract and Interact clubs.
The five Rotary clubs it sponsored are Rotary Clubs of Kota Bahru (1954); Bukit Mertajam (since renamed Butterworth (1959); Bagan Baru (since renamed Georgetown (1983); Tanjung Bungah (1988) and Seberang Jaya (1994).
The Interact clubs sponsored are Interact Clubs of Chung Ling High School, Methodist Girls School, Technical Institute, Penang Free School, Sri Pinang, Sek. Abdullah Munshi, Westlands and Han Chiang High School.
The only Rotaract club sponsored by the Club is the Rotaract Club of Georgetown (Penang).
Our community and service projects over the past 75 years are too numerous to detail. Our legacy of major ongoing projects have been supplied under “Ongoing Projects” in our website. The club continues to address local, national and international service needs incessantly, either using our own resources or joining up with other clubs and agencies to render the needed services.
In the Club's archives are two publications, namely the 60th Anniversary Year Book and the 70th Anniversary Year Book that records our historical events, activities and achievements over the last 70 years of service. These invaluable publications will inspire our members to greater heights of service achievements in this Second Century of Rotary Service.