While historians dispute that Penang Island was 'ceded' and was in fact 'occupied' illegally on 11 August 1786, contravening the proposal for and conditions of the temporary lease of the island from Sultan Abdullah of Kedah, local Malay accounts of Tanjong Tokong's early history support statements that Captain Francis Light was determined to claim the island on behalf of the EIC, regardless of whether the lease was permanently secured; hence the eventual attack by Sultan Abdullah in 1791. Malay villagers at Tanjong Tokong, through oral histories and written genealogies, trace and blame the intrusion on Bapu Alaidin Meera Hussein Lebai who, they claim, led English scouts to the peak of Bukit Meriam (Cannon Hill) where a Malay trading and fishing village had been established. Soon afterwards, land transfers to a French Roman Catholic order forced villagers to move downhill to merge with a Malay fishing village on the 'water's teeth' (gigi air). Hence land titles were never obtained, except by Bapu Alaidin who had assisted Captain Francis Light secure the hill as a military post and eventually a French Roman Catholic mission.


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