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Balai Seni

By Dato' Hj. Wan Shamsudin Mohd Yusof
(Translated by Syed Zulfilda S.M. Noor)


This building was the earliest modern government office that was built in the town of Alor Star. Its construction was spearheaded by Muhammad bin Lebai Tambi, an architect from the Kedah State Public Works Department. The construction of the building began on 21 January 1893, and he was also responsible for the restoration of the Balai Besar building.

This modern building with eastern and western architectural elements was initially the High Court and was officially opened by Sultan Abdul Hamid Shah. This building was closed to make way for the special entertainment hall for very important people during the wedding ceremony of His Royal Highness's five princes and princesses which lasted for three months (June until September 1904).

In 1912, a number of offices were located here such as the office of the His Royal Highness's Sultan, the treasury and audit office and the British Adviser. In 1914, most of these offices were relocated to the Wan Muhammad Saman building. The building was later occupied by the Public Works Department and the Department of Drainage and Irrigation. In conjunction with the celebration of the Silver Jubilee of the reign of HRH Tuanku Sultan Haji Abdul Halim Mu'adzam Shah (1958-1983), this building was converted to the Balai Seni Negeri (State Art Gallery) which was officiated by His Royal Highness on 25 July, 1983.









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