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State leaders looking for win-win situation to keep House of Music alive

Bukit Bendera MP Syerleena Abdul Rashid was among leaders, who have voiced their intentions to save the place from closing. By Ian McIntyre

PLANS are underway to try and keep the iconic Penang House of Music (HoM) open following an announcement that it was to close due to the lack of financial and institutional support.

Bukit Bendera MP Syerleena Abdul Rashid was among leaders, who have voiced their intentions to save the place from closing.

"I had a word with a few leaders and we hope there is support from the private sector. We are willing to help find a win-win situation for any new donor."

She also encouraged those willing to assist to try and secure private sector sponsorship for the HoM to continue operating.

She was open to a suggestion for the operator - Paul Augustin to relocate the HoM from Komtar to her Bukit Bendera constituency, which can become an attraction for both music lovers and tourists.

Augustin also acknowledged that he has received calls from national leaders, who have expressed concern over the closure before they chatted about trying to revive it.

He is open to the possibility of relocating if the rescue plans are viable and sustainable.

Augustin, who has devoted the past decade towards championing the rights of Malaysia's gifted musicians and the performing arts, said that he is disappointed that the place could not be sustained due to a combination of unforeseen issues.

The main culprit was the inability to recover from the lockdowns imposed due to Covid-19 which were further complicated by the high operating costs.

Penang State executive councillor for tourism Wong Hon Wai disclosed that the state had provided an annual grant of RM500,000 since it fully reopened in 2022 after the pandemic between 2020 and 2021.

However, Wong also shared that the landlord had filed a case against HoM over unsettled monthly rentals and ensuing interests.

"We are dismayed and we are hoping for a win-win solution to the matter. For now, we respect the decision by Augustin," said Wong when contacted.

Previously, HoM was under the patronage of the Penang Water Supply Corporation after it was first launched in 2016 as a tribute to the country's music scene, especially in Penang.

Since Independence, Penang has become a focal point of interest in music, especially in the 1970s when the state exported acts such as Alleycats and the combo of Eurasian acts including the renowned composer and crooner Jimmy Boyle.

HoM sought to conserve and preserve Penang's musical legacies.

Earlier, HoM posted on Facebook that it would be shutting its doors for good.

HoM was established in 2016 and is listed by CNN as one of the 25 must-visit places on the island.

Its opening was made possible due to an RM3 million sponsorship by the Penang Water Supply Corporation in 2016.

It is learnt that the main landlord is a private company, and was appointed to handle the rental of shop lots in one section of the sprawling Komtar commercial zone.

However, since the entire building is owned by the Penang Development Corporation, some quarters felt that the rental issue between the landlord and HoM could be resolved by the state, but apparently, the state could not intervene.


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