GAMA at Dato' Keramat Road, George Town is the oldest departmental store on Penang Island. It stands just opposite KOMTAR and next to the Magazine Circus which constitutes the heart of George Town. Thus, its novelty and its easily accessible location made GAMA among the most popular shopping centres on Penang Island in the 1980s and the 1990s.
Although it is now eclipsed by numerous trendier shopping malls in George Town, GAMA still draws local Penangites who prefer the cheaper prices offered on the wide variety of goods.
However, in recent years, GAMA has also become a favourite haunt for foreign workers, who have notably turned the adjacent Brick Kiln Road into 'Little Bangladesh'.
GAMA was born as the Pulau Pinang Supermarket in 1967. Initially located inside Chowrasta Market, the Pulau Pinang Supermarket was established by Chang Cheng Guan who hailed from the neighbouring Sultanate of Kedah. He had visited Singapore in 1964 and was impressed with the roaring Singaporean retail scene. Inspired by the departmental stores in Singapore, Chang then decided to enter the retail business by bringing the departmental store concept to Penang Island.
In the 1970s, the old police station next to the Magazine Circus was redeveloped into what is now Wisma GAMA. GAMA moved into the building and was opened to the public in December 1980. At the time, across Magazine Circus, KOMTAR was still under construction. Therefore, GAMA was the first departmental store on Penang Island. Its central location in George Town was also easily accessible. Towards the end of the 20th. century, GAMA was one of the most popular shopping centres on Penang Island.
Since the start of the 21st. century, the booming retail scene in George Town has led to the mushrooming of shopping malls all over the city. GAMA now caters to the lower- to middle-income Penangites who prefer the cheaper prices of goods offered by GAMA.
Recently, the influx of foreign workers onto Penang Island has transformed the socio-ethnic environment of the area around GAMA. Shops along Dato' Keramat Road and the adjacent Brick Kiln Road have been taken over by foreign workers, while GAMA itself has become a favourite haunt for foreign workers in George Town.
A cafeteria has been opened at the sixth floor of GAMA where one can find various beverages at relatively cheaper prices. It also gives visitors a splendid view of George Town.
1000 hours - 2200 hours daily
Penang State Government
N.28 Komtar State Assemblyman : Teh Lai Heng (Democratic Action Party)
Malaysian Federal Parliament
P.049 Tanjong Member of Parliament : Ng Wei Aik (Democratic Action Party)