List of cities in Malaysia

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This is a list of cities of Malaysia . In Malaysia, there are 18 areas granted city status (bandar raya) by law. However, there are also highly urbanised and populated areas that do not have city status but are sometimes colloquially also referred to as cities. City status is granted to a place within a local government area. Other populated areas which do not have city status are legally categorised as municipalities or towns.


Cities of Malaysia

The following is a list of places in Malaysia in order by the date they were granted city status.

Name State/FT Local government(s)CharteredPopulation
(2010 Census)
George Town Flag of Penang (Malaysia).svg  Penang Seal of George Town.svg Penang Island City Council 1 January 1957708,127Jurisdiction expanded in 2015 to encompass the entirety of Penang Island [1] [2]
Kuala Lumpur Flag of the Federal Territories of Malaysia.svg Federal Territories Seal of Kuala Lumpur.svg Kuala Lumpur City Hall 1 February 19721,588,750
Ipoh Flag of Perak.svg  Perak Ipoh Emblem.svg Ipoh City Council 27 May 1988657,892
Kuching Flag of Sarawak.svg  Sarawak Seal of North Kuching.svg Kuching North City Hall
Seal of South Kuching.svg Kuching South City Council
1 August 1988325,132Kuching is officially made up of two local government entities
Johor Bahru Flag of Johor.svg  Johor Crest of Johor Bahru.svg Johor Bahru City Council 1 January 1994497,067
Kota Kinabalu Flag of Sabah.svg  Sabah Seal of Kota Kinabalu.svg Kota Kinabalu City Hall 2 February 2000452,058
Shah Alam Flag of Selangor.svg  Selangor Shah Alam Emblem.svg Shah Alam City Council 10 October 2000641,306
Malacca City Flag of Malacca.svg  Malacca Malacca City Emblem.svg Melaka City Council 15 April 2003484,885
Alor Setar Flag of Kedah.svg  Kedah Alor Setar Emblem.svg Alor Setar City Council 21 December 2003405,523
Miri Flag of Sarawak.svg  Sarawak Seal of Miri.svg Miri City Council 20 May 2005234,541
Petaling Jaya Flag of Selangor.svg  Selangor Petaling Jaya Emblem.svg Petaling Jaya City Council 20 June 2006613,977
Kuala Terengganu Flag of Terengganu.svg  Terengganu Seal of Kuala Terengganu.svg Kuala Terengganu City Council 1 January 2008337,553
Iskandar Puteri Flag of Johor.svg  Johor Iskandar Puteri City Council 22 November 2017529,074
Seberang Perai Flag of Penang (Malaysia).svg  Penang Seberang Perai City Council (MBSP - Majlis Bandaraya Seberang Perai) Logo.png Seberang Perai City Council [3] 16 September 2019818,197
Seremban Flag of Negeri Sembilan.svg  Negeri Sembilan Majlis Bandaraya Seremban.svg Seremban City Council 1 January 2020620,100Seremban and Nilai were merged to form Seremban city.
Subang Jaya Flag of Selangor.svg  Selangor MBSJ emblem .jpg Subang Jaya City Council 20 October 2020708,296
Pasir Gudang Flag of Johor.svg  Johor Seal of Pasir Gudang.png Pasir Gudang City Council 22 November 202046,571
Kuantan Flag of Pahang.svg  Pahang Kuantan City Council21 February 2021427,515
Former city within Malaysia
NameStateLocal governmentCharteredRef.
Singapore Flag of Singapore.svg Singapore Singapore City Council 22 September 1951Expelled from the Malaysian Federation on
9 August 1965


George Town became a city on 1 January 1957 by a royal charter granted by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, becoming the first town in the Federation of Malaya to become a city (Singapore became a city in 1951). The royal charter stated that :

"... the said Municipality of George Town shall on the First Day of January in the year of Our Lord One thousand nine hundred and fifty-seven and forever after that be a city and shall be called and styled the CITY OF GEORGE TOWN instead of the Municipality of George Town and shall thenceforth have all such rank, liberties, privileges and immunities as are incident to a City."

However, local government elections were abolished by the federal government in 1965, and the functions of the City Council were transferred to the Chief Minister of Penang in 1966. A Municipal Council for the whole of Penang Island, the Penang Island Municipal Council, was set up between 1974 and 1976.

Although the city status of George Town was never officially revoked, George Town's existence as a corporate entity was in doubt, let alone as a city. This is similar to the position of the former city of Rochester in England, the site of England's second-oldest cathedral, which had been a city from 1211 until 1998 when it was merged with a neighbouring borough. As the new council was not granted city status, and the city, through oversight, failed to appoint charter trustees to inherit the city charter, the city ceased to exist.

Most residents disagreed with this view, who held that as George Town's city status has never been revoked, it remains a city to this day. According to lawyer Datuk Anwar Fazal, George Town "legally has been and is still a city because the City of George Town Ordinance 1957 had not been repealed". [3] As city status is a matter of law, the actual legal position will depend on an analysis of the City Council of Penang (Transfer of Functions) Order 1966 and the Local Government Act 1976.

On 1 January 2015, the Malaysian federal government upgraded the Penang Island Municipal Council into the present-day Penang Island City Council, thereby expanding the city limit of George Town to encompass the entirety of Penang Island, as well as a handful of surrounding islets. [1] [2]

Subsequent cities

The royal charters for Kuala Lumpur, Kuching, Kota Kinabalu, Shah Alam, Malacca City, Alor Setar and Miri were from the Malaysian head of state, the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, while Ipoh, Johor Bahru, Iskandar Puteri and Subang Jaya were granted by their respective state sultans. [4] Malacca City was declared a "historical city" prior to being granted city status in 2003.

Kuala Lumpur, the largest city, is the national capital and a federal territory, but as of 2012, most government ministries have relocated to the new administrative capital of Putrajaya.


Among the latest (2008) basic criteria for granting City status on a local government is that it has a minimum population of 500,000 and an annual income of not less than RM 100 million. [5]

Locations of cities


Kuala Lumpur is by far the largest urban area as well as the largest metropolitan area in Malaysia. George Town, the capital city of Penang, is the second-largest city in Malaysia and the heart of Malaysia's second-largest conurbation. To the south, the twin cities of Johor Bahru and Iskandar Puteri form the core of the third-largest metropolitan area in the country. Other metropolitan areas with a population of more than 500,000 include Ipoh, Kuching, and Kota Kinabalu.

The following table shows the largest cities by population in Malaysia.

See also

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  1. 1 2 Cavina Lim (25 March 2015). "Penang's First Mayor A Woman". The Star . Retrieved 24 January 2016.
  2. 1 2 "George Town meliputi 'pulau', jelas Datuk Bandar" (PDF). Buletin Mutiara. 1 May 2015.
  3. "Seberang Prai achieves city status". The Star Online. 16 September 2019. Retrieved 16 September 2019.
  4. "Sultan of Johor launches Mersing Harbour Centre". NST Online. 2017-09-10. Retrieved 2017-11-21.
  5. "Criteria Status for Local Authority". Local Government Department. 30 June 2011. Archived from the original on 15 July 2015. Retrieved 24 April 2012.