Penang Badminton Association to celebrate 100th year in a big way in 2025

GEORGE TOWN, July 2: The Penang Badminton Association (PBA), which celebrates its 100th anniversary next year as the oldest state badminton association in Malaysia, will commemorate it in a big way, says PBA president Dato’ Kah Kau Kiak.

In the pipeline is a gala dinner at the Spice Arena in Bukit Jambul where past and present badminton greats will be invited.

To mark the momentous event, PBA will also produce 200 special edition badminton rackets with a top racket manufacturer that will feature autographs of leading badminton players.

In addition, there will also be 10 “Extra Special Edition” badminton rackets to be made available.

Dato’ Kah, who is also one of the vice-presidents of the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM), explained that the dinner and special edition rackets are meant to raise funds for the association to further improve the level of badminton in Penang.  

“We are starting our preparations early from now because there is a lot of groundwork to be done because celebrating our 100th year has to be extra special,” he said.

“As the oldest and also leading state badminton association, we want to make 2025 a memorable year for PBA and its members,” he added.

PBA is also contemplating producing a commemorative book that will chronicle the achievements of the association over the past century and feature its home-grown shuttlers who carved out a name for themselves as well as Penang as an outstanding badminton-playing state.

These players include Dato’ Eddy Chong, Dato’ David Choong, Ooi Teik Hock, Dato’ Teh Kew San, Datuk Yew Cheng Hoe, Yew Cheng Hock, Datuk Tan Aik Huang, Tan Aik Mong, Ng Tat Wai, Ho Khim Kooi, Saw Swee Leong, Datuk Wira Lee Chong Wei, Goh Jin Wei, Chan Peng Soon, Ong Ewe Hock, Ong Ewe Chye, Loh Kean Yew, Loh Kean Hean and Terry Hee Yong Kai to name a few.

“Penang has produced many notable national players who have been responsible for winning prestigious tournaments including the Thomas Cup, All-England, Olympic Games, Asian Games and SEA Games,” said Dato’ Kah. ”We would like to record all that in the book.”

The history of badminton in Malaysia, especially Penang, is intertwined with the country’s colonial past.

During the British colonial era, British officers, especially those from the East India Company, introduced badminton to then Malaya. It quickly gained popularity among both the British expatriate community and locals.

Soon, the first badminton club, the Penang Badminton Club, was established in 1880, marking the sport’s formal entry into Malayan society.

In the early 1900s, the British promoted badminton through the mission schools especially in Penang, Melaka, Ipoh, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore.

In 1925, Penang became the first state to form its own state badminton association and became one of the pioneering badminton organisations in the country.

It is not difficult to see why Penang played a leading role in popularising badminton as it was already an important British trading port and administrative centre. It also had a significant expatriate community, including British officers, administrators, and businessmen who were instrumental in introducing and promoting badminton in the region.

In the early days, the primary objective of PBA was to promote and develop the sport of badminton within the local community. This included organising competitions, providing facilities for players, and fostering a competitive environment that encouraged the growth of the sport.

In playing its crucial role to popularise badminton among both British expatriates and the local population in Penang, PBA provided a platform for players of all levels to participate in the sport and helped establish badminton as a recreational and competitive activity in the region.

PBA’s formation also contributed to the broader development of badminton in Malaya (now Malaysia) as it set a precedent for other states and regions to establish similar associations, laying the groundwork for the national-level organisation and governance of badminton in the country.

Perak then formed its own state badminton association in 1929 while in 1934, the Malayan Badminton Association was formed and became the forerunner of the present-day Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM).

PBA’s early initiatives and efforts have left a lasting legacy in Malaysian badminton history as it helped nurture talent, organise tournaments and build infrastructure that supported the sport’s growth and popularity over the decades.

Overall, the formation of PBA in 1925 marked a significant milestone in the history of badminton in Malaysia, reflecting the sport’s early organisational efforts, its cultural integration within the local community and truly adhering to the state’s motto – Penang Leads.