Francis Light Statue in George Town in Penang
By Jade •
In the wake of the Black Lives Matter (BLM) protests of 2020, the statue of the founder of the British colony of Penang, Francis Light came under increased scrutiny and public vandalisation, which sparked both heated and starkly polarized debates on social media. This case offers insight into Malaysian decision-makers approaches to representing the colonial past, as well as the responsiveness of the public to international links with the BLM movement. Indicating how civil society voices may offer new perspectives on potential tensions between conservation and contestation when it comes to contested historical figures.