The Syed Alatas Mansion as well known as Islamic Museum appeared to be just another old bungalow until its history was researched and put into the context of the larger historic area.Syed Alatas was the leader of Penang's Malay community at Acheen Street in the mid-19thcentury and his house is one of the finest examples of an upper-class Muslim residence tosurvive from that period.
Syed Mohamed Al-Attas is the leader of the Red Flagsecret society. In the late19th century, he ran an arms smuggling trade during the Dutch siege on Acheh. SyedMohamed Al-Attas supplied guns, cannons and ammunination to the Sultan Acheh andthe anti-Dutch resistance that he obtained from British India. The leadership of the RedFlag was carried into the early 20th century by his son, Syed Sheikh Al-Attas after hisdeath in 1890s. Because of this, the mansion was believed to have been used as anoperation base or a secret meeting place for the Achehnese leaders.During the 1930s to the 1960s, this mansion fell from grace and became arecycling centre for the Indian Chettiar community. The mansion now belongs to theMunicipa Council and there are plans to rehabilitate it in a pilot restoration project to becarried out by the state with the French technical assistance. The building has beenproposed as the premises of a heritage training centre for traditional building craftstraining and heritage education.