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Pulau Pinang
Other transcription(s)
   Malay Pulau Pinang(Rumi)
ڤولاو ڤينڠ(Jawi)
   Hokkien 庇能
   Mandarin 槟城(Simplified)
   Tamil பினாங்கு
Etymology: Island of areca nut
Pulau Mutiara
Pearl of the Orient
Bersatu dan Setia
United and Loyal
Anthem: Untuk Negeri Kita
For Our State
Penang in Malaysia.svg
  Penang in    Malaysia
Sovereign state Malaysia
Founded by the British East India Company 11 August 1786
Straits Settlements 1 April 1867 – 1 April 1946
Japanese occupation 19 December 1941 – 3 September 1945
Malayan Union 1 April 1946
Federation of Malaya 31 August 1957
Proclamation of Malaysia 16 September 1963
Capital George Town
Largest city Seberang Perai
Demonym(s) Penangite
Government Parliamentary
Ahmad Fuzi Abdul Razak
Chow Kon Yeow (PH-DAP)
Legislature Legislative Assembly
1,049 km2 (405 sq mi)(12th)
24 m (79 ft)
Highest elevation833 m (2,733 ft)
Lowest elevation
0 m (0 ft)
 2020 census
1,659.11/km2 (4,297.1/sq mi)
GDP  (PPP)2022 estimate
$70.966 billion(5th)
 Per capita
GDP  (nominal)2022 estimate
$27.535 billion(6th)
 Per capita
HDI  (2021)Decrease2.svg 0.836
very high ·  3rd
Currency Malaysian ringgit (RM/MYR)
Time zone UTC+8 (Malaysian Time)
Date formatdd-mm-yyyy
Driving side left
Calling code+6-04-2, +6-04-6, +6-04-8 (Penang Island)
+6-04-3, +6-04-5 (Seberang Perai)
Postal code
10xxx–11xxx (Penang Island)
12xxx-14xxx (Seberang Perai)
ISO 3166 code MY-07
^[a] 2,465.47/km2 (6,385.5/sq mi) on Penang Island and 1,117.18/km2 (2,893.5/sq mi) in Seberang Perai

Penang (Malay : Pulau Pinang, [pi.naŋ] ) is a Malaysian state located on the northwest coast of Peninsular Malaysia, by the Malacca Strait. It has two parts: Penang Island, where the capital city, George Town, is located, and Seberang Perai on the Malay Peninsula. These two halves are connected by the Penang Bridge and the Second Penang Bridge; the latter is also the second longest sea crossing in Southeast Asia. [1] The state shares borders with Kedah to the north and east, and Perak to the south.


With 1.74 million residents and a population density of 1,659/km2 (4,300/sq mi)as of 2020, Penang is one of Malaysia's most densely populated and urbanised states. [2] Seberang Perai is Malaysia's third largest city by population. Penang is culturally diverse with a population that includes Chinese, Malays, Indians, Eurasians, Siamese and expatriates. [3] Residents of the state are colloquially known as Penangites or Penang Lang (Penang Hokkien: 庇能儂; Tâi-lô: Pī-néeng-lâng). [4]

Established by Francis Light in 1786, Penang became part of the Straits Settlements, a British crown colony also comprising Malacca and Singapore. During World War II, Japan occupied Penang, but the British regained control in 1945. Penang was later merged with the Federation of Malaya (now Malaysia), which gained independence in 1957.

Penang's economy shifted from entrepôt trade to electronics manufacturing and the tertiary sector in the late 20th century. [5] Today, it is one of the country's most developed economic powerhouses, with the second highest GDP per capita among Malaysian states, and the third highest Human Development Index after Kuala Lumpur and Selangor. [6] Penang is also Malaysia's leading exporter with nearly RM451 billion in exports in 2022, primarily through the Penang International Airport, the nation's third busiest.


The name Penang comes from the modern Malay name Pulau Pinang which means 'areca nut island'. [7] The State of Penang is also colloquially referred to as the 'Pearl of the Orient' and 'The Island of Pearls' (Malay : Pulau Mutiara). [8] [9]

Over the course of history, Penang Island had been known by different names by seafarers from various regions. The locals named it Pulo Ka Satu, meaning The First Island, as it was the largest island on the maritime route between Lingga and Kedah. [10] The Siamese, who were the overlords of Kedah, called it Ko Mak (Thai : เกาะหมาก). [11]

Maritime explorers also took note of the island's abundance of areca nut. During the 15th century, Admiral Zheng He of Ming China referred to the island as Bīngláng Yǔ (traditional Chinese : 檳榔嶼 ; simplified Chinese : 槟榔屿 ; Pe̍h-ōe-jī :Pin-nn̂g-sū; lit.'areca nut island') in his navigational charts. [12] In the Description of Malacca, Portuguese cartographer Manuel Godinho de Erédia named it Pulo Pinaom. [13]


Historical affiliationsPeriod
Flag of Kedah (18th century - 1912).svg Kedah Sultanate 1136–1786
Flag of the British East India Company (1801).svg Penang and Province Wellesley 1786–1867
Flag of the British Straits Settlements (1925-1946).svg Straits Settlements 1826–1941; 1945–1946
Flag of Japan.svg Empire of Japan 1941–1945
Flag of the Federated Malay States (1895-1946).svg Malayan Union 1946–1948
Flag of Malaya.svg Federation of Malaya 1948–1963
Flag of Malaysia.svg Malaysia 1963–present


Archaeologists have discovered human remains, along with seashells, pottery and hunting tools, in Seberang Perai. The artifacts indicate that around 5,000 to 6,000 years ago, Penang was inhabited by nomadic Melanesians during the Neolithic era. [14] [15] [16]

Early history

The Cherok Tok Kun megalith, uncovered at Bukit Mertajam in 1845, features Pali inscriptions that suggest the Hindu-Buddhist Bujang Valley civilisation, which was based in present-day Kedah, had established its authority over certain parts of Seberang Perai by the 6th century. [17] The entirety of Penang later became part of the Sultanate of Kedah up to the late 18th century.

Establishment and British colonisation

Fort Cornwallis marks the spot where Francis Light first set foot in George Town in 1786. Fort Cornwallis Eck.JPG
Fort Cornwallis marks the spot where Francis Light first set foot in George Town in 1786.
British acquisition and expansion of Penang (in yellow) occurred between 1786 and 1874, when the final alterations to Penang's boundaries were enacted. Penang.gif
British acquisition and expansion of Penang (in yellow) occurred between 1786 and 1874, when the final alterations to Penang's boundaries were enacted.
A 1799 map of George Town The Map of Early Penang Showing the Malay Town on the South of the Town Center by Popham 1799.jpg
A 1799 map of George Town
The Esplanade in 1892, with the Town Hall visible near the centre. Gezicht op fort Cornwall en Esplanade te Penang Het fort Cornwall en de Esplanade te Penang (titel op object), RP-F-F01153-AL.jpg
The Esplanade in 1892, with the Town Hall visible near the centre.
The Port of Penang in George Town in the 1910s. KITLV - 80020 - Kleingrothe, C.J. - Medan - Quay in Penang - circa 1910.tif
The Port of Penang in George Town in the 1910s.

Penang's modern history began in 1786 when Francis Light, a representative of the British East India Company (EIC), obtained Penang Island from Sultan Abdullah Mukarram Shah of Kedah in exchange for military aid. Light had been sent to the Malay Peninsula by the EIC to build trade relations in the region, where he saw the strategic potential of Penang Island as a "convenient magazine for trade" that could enable the British to check Dutch and French territorial ambitions in Southeast Asia. [22]

After negotiating an agreement with the Sultan, Light and his entourage landed on Penang Island on 17 July that year. [23] [24] He took formal possession of the island on 11 August "in the name of His Britannic Majesty, King George III and the Honourable East India Company". [25] [26] The island was renamed Prince of Wales Island after the heir to the British throne and the new settlement of George Town was established in honour of King George III. [27] [28]

Unbeknownst to Sultan Abdullah, Light had acted without the authority or the consent of his superiors in India. [29] When Light reneged on his promise of military protection, the Sultan launched an attempt to recapture the Prince of Wales Island in 1791. However, the attempt was defeated by EIC forces and the Sultan sued for peace. [25] [30] An annual payment of 6000 Spanish dollars was agreed in exchange for British sovereignty over the island. [31]

In 1800, Lieutenant-Governor George Leith secured a strip of hinterland across the Penang Strait, which was subsequently named Province Wellesley (now Seberang Perai). [25] [32] The new treaty for the acquisition of Province Wellesley superseded Light's earlier agreement, and gave the British permanent sovereignty over both Prince of Wales Island and the newly ceded mainland territory. [18] [20] [21] The annual payment to the Sultan of Kedah was increased to 10,000 Spanish dollars. The British authorities and its successor, the Malaysian federal government, maintained the sum of annual payments to Kedah until 2018, when the federal government increased the amount by RM10 million yearly. [33] [34]

George Town grew rapidly as a free port and a centre of spice production, taking maritime trade from Dutch posts in the region. [35] [36] [37] In 1805, Penang became a separate presidency of British India, sharing similar status with Bombay and Madras. [38] By 1808, a local government for George Town was in place, whilst the establishment of the Supreme Court of Penang marked the birth of Malaysia's modern judiciary. [39]

In 1826, Penang, Singapore and Malacca were incorporated into the Straits Settlements, with George Town as the capital. However, Singapore soon supplanted George Town as Southeast Asia's premier entrepôt. In 1832, Singapore replaced George Town as the capital of the Straits Settlements. [40]

Even so, the Port of Penang retained its importance as a vital British entrepôt. [41] [42] Towards the end of the 19th century, George Town became a major tin exporter and Malaya's primary financial centre. [24] [43] [44] Penang's prosperity attracted a cosmopolitan population comprising Chinese, Malay, Indian, Peranakan, Eurasian, Thai and other ethnicities, and led to the development of hitherto rural areas such as Butterworth and Bukit Mertajam. [45] [46] The population growth also created social problems, such as inadequate sanitation and health facilities, as well as rampant crime, with the latter culminating in the Penang Riots of 1867. [47] [48]

However, in the same year, the Straits Settlements became a British crown colony, [49] [50] leading to improved law enforcement, and investments in health care and public transportation in Penang under direct British rule. [38] [41] [48] Owing to enhanced access to education, active participation of Asian residents in municipal affairs and substantial press freedom, George Town was perceived as being more intellectually receptive than Singapore. [38] [41] [51] The settlement became a magnet for intellectuals and revolutionaries, including Rudyard Kipling, Somerset Maugham and Sun Yat-sen. [52] [53] [54] Sun, in particular, chose George Town as the headquarters for the Tongmenghui in Southeast Asia that eventually sparked the Wuchang Uprising, a precursor towards the Xinhai Revolution which led to the beginning of Republican China. [55] [56]

Penang emerged from World War I relatively unscathed, apart from the Battle of Penang that saw the Imperial German Navy cruiser SMS Emden sinking two Allied warships off George Town. [57]

British Royal Marines liberating George Town on 3 September 1945. Royal Marines Parade in Penang (5316034010).jpg
British Royal Marines liberating George Town on 3 September 1945.

Japanese occupation

World War II, on the other hand, led to unparallelled social and political upheaval. Although Penang Island had been designated as a fortress, Penang fell without struggle to the Imperial Japanese Army on 19 December 1941, after suffering devastating aerial attacks. [58] The British covertly evacuated Penang's European populace; historians have since contended that "the moral collapse of British rule in Southeast Asia came not at Singapore, but at Penang". [59] [60]

Penang Island was subsequently renamed Tojo-to after Prime Minister Hideki Tojo. [60] The Japanese occupiers notoriously massacred Chinese residents under the Sook Ching policy and forced women into sexual slavery. [61] [62] The Port of Penang was put to use as a major submarine base by the Axis Powers. [63] [64] [65]

Between 1944 and 1945, Allied bombers from India targeted naval and administrative buildings in George Town, damaging and destroying several colonial buildings in the process. [44] [58] The Penang Strait was mined to restrict Japanese shipping. [66] After Japan's surrender, the British marines launched Operation Jurist on 3 September 1945 to retake Penang Island, making George Town the first settlement in Malaya to be liberated from the Japanese. [58]

Flag of the Crown Colony of Penang, in use prior to Malaya's independence in 1957. Flag of Penang (1946-1949).svg
Flag of the Crown Colony of Penang, in use prior to Malaya's independence in 1957.

Post-war years

Penang was placed under British military administration until 1946, after which the Straits Settlements was abolished. The British sought to consolidate the various political entities in British Malaya under a single polity known as the Malayan Union. Consequently, the Crown Colony of Penang was merged into the Malayan Union and its successor, the Federation of Malaya.

Initially, the impending annexation of Penang into the vast Malay heartland proved unpopular among Penangites. [67] The Penang Secessionist Committee was formed in 1948 due to economic and ethnic concerns, but their attempt to avert Penang's merger with Malaya was unsuccessful due to British disapproval. [5] [68] [69]

To allay the concerns raised by the secessionists, the British government guaranteed George Town's free port status and reintroduced municipal elections in 1951. [68] George Town became the first fully-elected municipality in Malaya by 1956 and was granted city status by Queen Elizabeth II in the following year. This made George Town the first city within the Federation of Malaya, and by extension, Malaysia.

The 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami hit parts of George Town, killing 52 people (out of 68 in all of Malaysia). Tanjungtokongwave.png
The 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami hit parts of George Town, killing 52 people (out of 68 in all of Malaysia).

Post-independence era

George Town was a free port since colonial times, but its status was suddenly revoked by the Malaysian federal government in 1969. [5] [51] [70] This led to a loss of maritime trade, causing massive unemployment and brain drain. [51] [71] [72]

To revive the economy, the then Chief Minister Lim Chong Eu masterminded the creation of the Bayan Lepas Free Industrial Zone. Regarded by many as the Silicon Valley of the East, the zone proved instrumental in reversing Penang's economic slump and led to the state's rapid economic growth until the late 1990s. [71] [73] During Lim's tenure, the Penang Bridge, the first road link between Penang Island and the Malay Peninsula, was also built.

However, the persistent brain drain, exacerbated by federal policies that favoured the development of Kuala Lumpur, meant that Penang was no longer at the forefront of the country's economy by the 2000s. [51] [73] This, coupled with the deteriorating state of affairs in general, such as incoherent urban planning, poor traffic management and the dilapidation of George Town's heritage buildings due to the repeal of the Rent Control Act in 2001, led to simmering discontent within Penang's society. [74] [73] [75]

In response, George Town's non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and the national press galvanised public support and formed partnerships to restore the city to its former glory. [51] [76] [77] The widespread resentment also resulted in the then opposition Pakatan Rakyat bloc (now Pakatan Harapan) wresting power from the incumbent Barisan Nasional (BN) administration in the 2008 state election. [73] [74] [78] Meanwhile, efforts to conserve George Town's heritage architecture paid off when in 2008, the city's historical core was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. [79]

The 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami hit the western and northern coasts of Penang Island, claiming 52 lives (out of 68 in Malaysia). [80]

George Town, Penang at night (2).jpg
Skyline of George Town, as seen from the Penang Strait


Aerial view of George Town. The city is physically separated from Butterworth (bottom) by the Penang Strait. Calflier001 George Town Penang aerial.jpg
Aerial view of George Town. The city is physically separated from Butterworth (bottom) by the Penang Strait.
View of George Town as seen from Seberang Perai, with Penang Hill in the background Clouds above Penang.jpg
View of George Town as seen from Seberang Perai, with Penang Hill in the background

Penang is the second smallest state in Malaysia by size after Perlis, with a total land area of just 1,049 km2 (405 sq mi). It is located on the northwestern coastline of Peninsular Malaysia, lying between latitudes 5.59° and 5.12°N, and longitudes 100.17° and 100.56°E. The state is roughly divided into two major halves by the Penang Strait, which measures a mere 3 km (1.9 mi) wide at the narrowest point. [81]

Penang Island is surrounded by several islets, both natural and man-made. Some of these islets include Jerejak, Betong, Kendi, Rimau and Andaman islands.

The capital city of George Town encompasses the entirety of Penang Island and a few surrounding islets. On the other hand, the city of Seberang Perai covers the whole mainland half of Penang.


Penang Island is irregularly shaped, with a hilly and mostly forested interior.The island's coastal plains are narrow, with the most extensive plain located at the northeastern cape. [82] George Town, which started off as a small settlement at the northeastern tip of the island, has expanded over the centuries to encompass the entire island, although the marshy western coast remains relatively underdeveloped. [83] The highest point within Penang is Penang Hill, which stands at a height of 833 m (2,733 ft) at the centre of the island. Seberang Perai, on the other hand, has a mostly flat topography, save for a few hills such as at Bukit Mertajam. [84]

The major rivers within Penang include the Pinang, Perai, Muda and Kerian rivers. The Muda River serves as the northern border between Seberang Perai and Kedah, while the Kerian River forms part of the southern boundary between Seberang Perai, Kedah and Perak.

Due to land scarcity, land reclamation projects have been undertaken at high-demand areas. [85] [86] [87] In 2023, a massive reclamation project commenced off Batu Maung to build the 920 ha (2,300-acre) Silicon Island, envisioned as a new hub for high tech manufacturing and commerce. [88] Following years of reclamation works, the shoreline off Gurney Drive is also being transformed into Gurney Bay, intended as a "new iconic waterfront destination for Penang". [89] [90]


Climate data for Penang
Average high °C (°F)31.6
Daily mean °C (°F)26.9
Average low °C (°F)23.2
Average rainfall mm (inches)68.7
Average rainy days (≥ 1.0 mm)56914141112141819159146
Mean monthly sunshine hours 248.8233.2235.3224.5203.6202.4205.5188.8161.0170.2182.1209.02,464.4
Source: NOAA [91]
Climate chart (explanation)
Average max. and min. temperatures in °C
Precipitation totals in mm
Source: Bayan Lepas Regional Meteorological Office
Imperial conversion
Average max. and min. temperatures in °F
Precipitation totals in inches

As in the rest of Malaysia, Penang has a tropical rainforest climate bordering on a tropical monsoon climate, although the state does experience slightly drier conditions from December to February of the following year. The climate is very much dictated by the surrounding sea and the prevailing wind system.

Penang's proximity to Sumatra makes it susceptible to dust particles carried by wind from transient forest fires that create the perennial Southeast Asian haze. [92]

The Penang Meteorological Office at Bayan Lepas is the primary weather forecast facility for northern Malaysia. [93]

Temperature (day)30–32 °C
Temperature (night)23–25 °C
Ave annual rainfall2670 mm
Relative humidity0%–50%

Nature and parks

The Penang Botanic Gardens was built in 1884. Pg botanic gardens trees.JPG
The Penang Botanic Gardens was built in 1884.

In spite of rapid urbanisation, Penang has still managed to preserve a significant portion of its natural environment. Within the state, 7,761 ha (77.61 km2) have been designated as protected forest reserves. [95] The central hills of Penang Island, including Penang Hill, are a vital green lung for the urbanised island. [96] Two major parks within George Town   the Penang Botanic Gardens and the City Park   are located nearby.

The Penang National Park is the world's smallest national park, covering 2,562 ha (25.62 km2) of the northwestern tip of Penang Island. It consists of mangrove swamps, hiking trails and tranquil beaches. [97] Other natural attractions in the vicinity include the Tropical Spice Garden and the Entopia by Penang Butterfly Farm, the latter of which was Malaysia's first butterfly sanctuary. [98] [99]

Seberang Perai is home to the Penang Bird Park, which was established in 1988 at Seberang Jaya and is the first aviary in Malaysia. [100]

Cities and suburbs

Governance and politics

Seri Mutiara, the official residence of the Governor of Penang. Seri Mutiara in George Town, Penang 2023.jpg
Seri Mutiara, the official residence of the Governor of Penang.

Penang, a former British crown colony, is one of the four Malaysian states without hereditary monarchies. The head of state is the Governor (Malay : Yang di-Pertua Negeri), who is appointed by the King of Malaysia (Malay : Yang di-Pertuan Agong ). Ahmad Fuzi Abdul Razak is the current Governor of Penang, having assumed office in 2021. In practice, the Governor's role is largely symbolic and ceremonial. This includes the authority to appoint the head of government and approve legislation that has been passed by the state's legislature. [101]

The Penang state government has its own executive body and legislature, but their powers are limited compared to the Malaysian federal government. According to the Federal Constitution, the state can legislate on matters pertaining to Malay customs, land, agriculture and forestry, local government, civil and water works, and state administration. Matters falling under the joint purview of state and federal authorities include social welfare, wildlife protection and national parks, scholarships, husbandry, town planning, drainage and irrigation, and public health regulations. [102]

The Constitution of Penang, codified in 1957, is the state's highest law, consisting of 42 articles that govern the proceedings and powers of the state government. [103]

The 40-member Penang State Legislative Assembly forms the state's legislature and is elected for a maximum term of five years from single-member constituencies through state elections. Compared to the rest of Peninsular Malaysia, Penang's electoral landscape is often viewed as being more liberal and unique due to the state's ethnic diversity and socio-economic development. [104] [105] Unlike other Peninsular states, ethnic Chinese have formed the plurality in Penang for decades, and the state's economic infrastructure is based primarily on commerce and trade, rather than agriculture. [105] As of 2023, non-Malays formed the majority in 25 of the 40 state constituencies. [106] Thus, non-Malay electoral support is crucial to any political coalition aiming for power in Penang. [105] [106]


The 68-storey Komtar Tower in George Town also houses the Office of the Chief Minister of Penang. Komtar at dusk, George Town, Penang.jpg
The 68-storey Komtar Tower in George Town also houses the Office of the Chief Minister of Penang.

The Penang State Executive Council is the executive authority of the Penang state government, similar in function to the federal Cabinet. It is led by the Chief Minister, who serves as the head of government in Penang. To this day, Penang remains the only Malaysian state where where the position of the head of government has been continuously held by an ethnic Chinese since the nation's independence in 1957. [70] Additionally, Penang was the first state to impose a two-term limit for the head of government's tenure. [107]

The current Chief Minister of Penang is Chow Kon Yeow of the Democratic Action Party (DAP), having assumed office after the 2018 state election. [108] Since the 2008 state election, the DAP, part of the ruling Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition, has been the single largest party in the state's legislature, thereby holding the position of the head of government.

The State Assembly Building in George Town, where the Penang State Legislative Assembly convenes. Dewan Undangan Negeri Penang Dec 2006 003.jpg
The State Assembly Building in George Town, where the Penang State Legislative Assembly convenes.


Political Party/
Penang State
Legislative Assembly
Pakatan Harapan 27 (67.5%)10 (76.92%)
Barisan Nasional 2 (5.0%)0
Perikatan Nasional 11 (27.5%)3 (23.08%)

The unicameral 40-seat Penang State Legislative Assembly, whose members are called State Assemblymen, convenes at the neoclassical State Assembly Building in George Town. Penang practises the Westminster system whereby the State Executive Council members are appointed from the elected State Assemblymen. Any amendment to Penang's Constitution requires the support of at least two-thirds of the State Legislative Assembly. [103] Prior to a state election, it is customary to dissolve the legislature, which necessitates the consent of the Governor. [101]

The 2023 state election witnessed an unprecedented alliance between Pakatan Harapan (PH) and its erstwhile adversaries Barisan Nasional (BN). [109] The PH-BN alliance currently commands a supermajority in the State Legislative Assembly, controlling 29 out of the 40 seats. However, the election also saw the far-right Perikatan Nasional (PN) opposition bloc gaining ground in the rural Malay-majority constituencies, occupying the remaining 11 seats in the legislature. [106]

DUN Penang 2023.svg
AffiliationCoalition/Party LeaderStatusSeats
2023 election Current
Pakatan Harapan
Barisan Nasional
Chow Kon Yeow Government2929
  Perikatan Nasional Muhammad Fauzi Yusoff [110] Opposition 1111
Government majority1818

Local governments

The City Hall in George Town serves as the headquarters of the Penang Island City Council. Penang City Hall (II).jpg
The City Hall in George Town serves as the headquarters of the Penang Island City Council.

Penang is further divided into two city-level municipalities, each administered by a local government. The local governments exercise power in areas such as planning and development control, public housing, public spaces, waste disposal, business licensing, markets, local transport, and municipal roads. [111]

The Penang state government appoints both mayors of Penang Island and Seberang Perai for two-year terms, while the councillors are appointed for one-year terms of office. [112]

Penang is also divided into five administrative districts - two in George Town and three in Seberang Perai. Each district is headed by a district officer. The lands and district office in each district deals with land administration and revenue. Thus, it differs from the local governments that oversee the provision and maintenance of urban infrastructure. [113]


The Penang High Court building in George Town Penang High Court (I).jpg
The Penang High Court building in George Town

The present-day Malaysian judicial system traces its roots to 19th-century George Town. In 1807, Penang was granted a Royal Charter which paved the way for the establishment of a Supreme Court. In the following year, the Supreme Court of Penang was inaugurated at Fort Cornwallis with the appointment of Edmond Stanley as the First Recorder of the Supreme Court; he thus became Malaysia's first de facto Supreme Court judge. Penang's legal system was progressively extended to the whole of Malaya by 1951. [114]

Today, the Penang High Court in George Town serves as the highest court within the state. Notable lawyers who served the Penang High Court include Tunku Abdul Rahman, Cecil Rajendra and Karpal Singh. [24] There are also four Magistrates Courts and two Sessions Courts throughout Penang. [115]

Foreign relations

Penang is home to the largest contingent of foreign diplomatic missions among Malaysian states. As of 2023, a total of 27 countries have either established consulates or appointed honorary consuls within Penang. [116] [117] The Penang state government has also inked a sister state agreement with Japan's Kanagawa Prefecture and a friendship state partnership with China's Hainan Province. [118] [119] Moreover, George Town is twinned with five sister cities and seven friendship cities, while Seberang Perai has formed partnerships with one sister city and three friendship cities. [120] [121]



Historical population
1881 190,597    
1891 231,224+21.3%
1901 247,808+7.2%
1911 278,003+12.2%
1921 304,335+9.5%
1931 359,851+18.2%
1947 446,321+24.0%
1957 572,100+28.2%
1970 776,124+35.7%
1980 900,772+16.1%
1991 1,064,166+18.1%
2000 1,231,209+15.7%
2010 1,526,324+24.0%
2020 1,740,405+14.0%
Source: [145] [146] [147] [148]

Source of interstate immigrants to Penang in 2016 [149]

  Flag of Perak.svg  Perak (28.22%)
  Flag of Selangor.svg  Selangor (20.86%)
  Flag of Kedah.svg  Kedah (19.63%)
  Flag of Johor.svg  Johor (10.43%)
  Flag of Kuala Lumpur Malaysia.svg  Kuala Lumpur (10.43%)
  Flag of Sarawak.svg  Sarawak (3.68%)
  Flag of Negeri Sembilan.svg  Negeri Sembilan (3.68%)
   Other states (3.07%)
George Town Conurbation map.svg
Map of the George Town Conurbation, which includes Penang, southern Kedah and northern Perak.

Penang, with a population of 1,740,405 as of 2020, has the highest population density of all Malaysian states (excluding the Federal Territories of Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya), at 1,659/km2 (4,300/sq mi). In addition, Penang is the country's second most urbanised state after Selangor, with an urbanisation level of 92.5% in the same year. [150]

The state's diversified economy has made it one of the major recipients of interstate migrants within Malaysia. [151] Between 2015 and 2016, Penang achieved the highest migration effectiveness ratio among Malaysian states. For every 100 Malaysians that migrated into and out of Penang, the state's population increased by 58 persons. [152] [149] The bulk of the interstate immigrants came from Perak, Selangor, Kedah, Johor and Kuala Lumpur. [149]

Seberang Perai, Malaysia's third largest city, was home to a population of 946,092 as of 2020, or over 54% of Penang's population. The city had a population density of 1,264.8/km2 (3,276/sq mi). [153]

Meanwhile, George Town had a population of 794,313, which accounted for nearly 46% of the state's popution. Due to its more compact land area, the city's population density of 2,563.2/km2 (6,639/sq mi) was double that of Seberang Perai.

George Town serves as the core city of the George Town Conurbation, Malaysia's second largest metropolitan area after the Klang Valley. As of 2020, the conurbation, which encompasses the whole of Penang, southern Kedah and northern Perak, was home to over 2.83 million residents. [154] The George Town Conurbation had a GDP worth US$13,596,418 in 2010, making it the second largest contributor of Malaysia's total GDP. [155]


Ethnic composition of Penang (2020) [153]
Ethnicities / NationalityPercentage
Other Bumiputeras
The Pinang Peranakan Mansion in George Town features distinct Peranakan-style architecture and interior design. Pinang Peranakan Mansion, George Town, Penang.jpg
The Pinang Peranakan Mansion in George Town features distinct Peranakan-style architecture and interior design.

Penang has undergone a demographic shift in the decades since independence, with the proportion of Bumiputeras (consisting of ethnic Malays and East Malaysian indigenous races) reaching parity with that of the Chinese, traditionally regarded as the state's majority ethnicity. [3] According to the 2020 National Census, the Chinese and the Bumiputeras each constituted about 41% of Penang's population, while ethnic Indians made up nearly 9% of the state's populace. [153]

In particular, George Town remains a Chinese-majority city with over half of its population being Chinese as of 2020. [153] This includes the Peranakans, a hybrid ethnicity known for their distinctive architecture, costumes and cuisine. The city is also home to a cosmopolitan mix of indigenous East Malaysians, ethnic Eurasians and Siamese. [3] [156] [157]

On the other hand, Seberang Perai has a Malay plurality, making up almost half of the city's population. [153]

Penang is also home to a significant expatriate community, primarily from Singapore, Japan and various Asian countries, as well as other Commonwealth nations. George Town's northern suburbs, such as Tanjong Tokong, Tanjong Bungah and Batu Ferringhi, are particularly popular amongst expatriates. [158] [159] As of 2020, foreigners comprised 8% of Penang's population. [153]

There was once a tiny community of Jews in George Town, who mainly resided along Jalan Zainal Abidin (formerly Yahudi Road). [37] The last known native Jew died in 2011, rendering the centuries-old Jewish community in Penang effectively extinct. [160]


A bilingual street sign at Victoria Street in George Town. Bilingual street signs that display either English, Chinese, Tamil or Arabic names have been installed throughout the city since 2008. Victoria St, George Town, Penang.jpg
A bilingual street sign at Victoria Street in George Town. Bilingual street signs that display either English, Chinese, Tamil or Arabic names have been installed throughout the city since 2008.

Penang is an urban multilingual society, where the major languages commonly in use are Malay, English, Hokkien, Mandarin and Tamil. [162] In particular, Penang is well known for its distinctive Hokkien dialect known as Penang Hokkien. [163]

During British rule, English was the official language in Penang. The proliferation of English and missionary schools throughout George Town contributed significantly to the widespread use of the language in the state. [30] [164] The importance of English for global trade has also encouraged its use among some within the Chinese and Indian communities. [162] In recent years, there have been calls to reinstate English as one of Penang's official languages. [165] [166]

Like the rest of Malaysia, Malay is currently the official language in Penang. The Jawi Peranakans in the state also use a variant of the Kedah Malay dialect, slightly modified to suit the conditions of a cosmopolitan society. [167]

Tamil is the most widely spoken language amongst ethnic Indians. In addition to Tamil, the other Indian languages used by minority Indians are Telugu, Malayalam and Punjabi, who hailed from diverse ancestries in the Indian subcontinent. [168] [169]

On the other hand, Penang's Chinese population uses a variety of Chinese dialects, including Teochew, Hakka and Cantonese. [162] Mandarin, which is more commonly used by youths for pragmatic reasons, has been the medium of instruction in Chinese schools throughout the state. [170]

Penang Hokkien serves as the lingua franca between the various ethnicities in Penang. [163] [171] [172] Originally a variant of the Minnan language, the dialect has absorbed numerous loanwords from Malay and English, yet another legacy of the Peranakan culture. Greater emphasis has been placed on preserving Penang Hokkien's relevance in the face of the increasing prevalence of Mandarin and English among youths. [173] [174]


Religions in Penang (2020) [153]
No religion

Penang, like other Peninsular states, has Islam as its official religion. [103] Even so, the state allows freedom of religion and religious assembly, which contributes to its cosmopolitan society. Penang is unique among the Peninsular states in that no single religion commands an absolute majority among the populace.

As of 2020, Muslims constituted over 45% of Penang's population, followed by Buddhists at nearly 38% and Hindus at more than 8%. Notably, George Town contains small communities of Chinese Muslims and Indian Muslims, while most Buddhists in Penang follow either Theravada, Mahayana or Vajrayana traditions. [175] [176] [177] Penang also has a significant multiracial community of Christians, consisting of ethnic Chinese, Indians, Eurasians, East Malaysian migrants and expatriates, of both Catholic and Protestant sects.

Pitt Street, within George Town's UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a prime example of the peaceful coexistence of various religions in Penang. The street is home to several places of worship belonging to Muslim, Taoist, Hindu and Christian communities, all located within close proximity to each other. This unique arrangement has earned Pitt Street the nickname Street of Harmony, a testament to Penang's rich cultural and ethnic diversity. [178]


Economic indicators
GDPRM121.154 billion (2022) [6]
GDP per capitaRM69,591 (2022) [6]
Real GDP growth13.1% (2022) [6]
Unemployment2.8% (2022) [6]
Labour force
participation rate
70.3% (2022) [6]
Government debtRM41.11 million (2022) [179]

Economic sectors in Penang by GDP share (2022) [6]

  Services (46.7%)
  Manufacturing (48.3%)
  Construction (2.4%)
  Agriculture (1.8%)
  Mining (0.1%)

Despite its tiny size, Penang, known as the Silicon Valley of the East, has one of the largest economies in Malaysia. [180] The state's tertiary-based economy is largely driven by the manufacturing and services sectors. [6] In 2022, Penang's GDP was worth RM121.154 billion with a growth rate of 13%, the fastest in the country. Penang's GDP per capita of RM69,591 was the second highest among Malaysian states, surpassing the World Bank's threshold of US$13,205 to be considered a high-income economy. [6] [181] Within Malaysia, only Penang and Sarawak, along with the Federal Territories of Kuala Lumpur and Labuan, are categorised as high-income territories. [181]

Penang contributed approximately RM7 billion of Malaysia's yearly tax revenue and consistently records one of the lowest unemployment rates in the nation at 2.8% as of 2022. [6] [182] [183] Monthly median household income rose to RM6,502, while the state had a labour force participation rate of 70.3% in 2022, an increase from 69.7% in the previous year. [6]

Penang is the top destination within Malaysia for foreign investors, capturing 25 of the country's inbound foreign direct investment (FDI) in 2021. [184] The bulk of Penang's FDI that year originated from The Netherlands, China and Singapore. [6] The state has also attracted hundreds of multinational corporations to its shores and plays a growing role in the global electronics supply chain, holding a significant share of more than 5% in the world's semiconductor sales. [180] [185] Penang is concurrently Malaysia's largest exporter, accounting for almost RM451 billion or 29% of the country's exports in 2022. The services sector has been growing in tandem as well, with Penang being the second most popular hub in Malaysia for Global Business Services (GBS) and the financial heart of the country's northwestern region, complemented by the state's traditional popularity as a destination for tourism, business events and healthcare. [186] [187]

Penang's economic renaissance, particularly since 2008, was described by Bloomberg as Malaysia's "biggest economic success", in spite of the federal government's focus on other states such as Johor and Sarawak. [188] The Penang state government's financial prudence has also allowed it to pare down public debt to RM41.1 million by 2022. [179] In addition, Penang's Human Development Index (HDI) value stood at 0.836, the third highest in the country after Kuala Lumpur and Selangor, and on par with Turkey. [189]

The booming economy has also led to a considerable interest in real estate in Penang. In 2016, George Town was ranked Malaysia's most attractive destination for commercial property investment by Knight Frank, surpassing even Kuala Lumpur. [190] In 2023, Penang's residential market was ranked the second most popular in Southeast Asia after Singapore. [191]


Bayan Lepas Free Industrial Zone, known as the Silicon Valley of the East, was the first designated free-trade zone in post-independence Malaysia and is now a major electronics manufacturing hub. Bayan Lepas Free Industrial Zone 2023.jpg
Bayan Lepas Free Industrial Zone, known as the Silicon Valley of the East, was the first designated free-trade zone in post-independence Malaysia and is now a major electronics manufacturing hub.

In the early years following Malaya's independence, Penang's industrialisation efforts were limited to "mild" import substitution. [193] This was a time when George Town still enjoyed its free port status. [51] The first industrial estates were built in the 1960s at Mak Mandin and Perai during the tenure of Penang's first Chief Minister Wong Pow Nee.

However, the revocation of George Town's free port status and the fall of Wong's administration in 1969 marked a turning point in Penang's economic fortunes. [51] [193] Wong's successor, Lim Chong Eu, initiated a massive transformation of Penang's economy. [193] Under Lim's leadership, the Bayan Lepas Free Industrial Zone (Bayan Lepas FIZ) in George Town was established in 1972. [193] [194] The zone played a critical role in reviving Penang's economy and driving the state's economic growth in the late 20th century. [71] [73]

Today, the Bayan Lepas FIZ is known as the Silicon Valley of the East, home to several multinational companies including AMD, B. Braun, Bosch, Dell, HP Inc., Intel, Motorola and Western Digital. [180] [195] Since the 1970s, manufacturing has formed the backbone of Penang's economy, contributing 48.3% of its GDP as of 2022 and cementing the state's position as Malaysia's leading exporter. [6] [196] In 2022 alone, integrated circuitry accounted for more than 40% of Penang's total exports, followed by piezoelectric crystals, scientific and measuring equipment, and other electric and electronic products. [6] The success of the Bayan Lepas FIZ has spurred the Penang state government to embark on building newer industrial parks at several parts of Seberang Perai where land is more readily available, such as at Seberang Jaya, Bukit Minyak and Batu Kawan. [195] [197]

Aside from electronics and engineering manufacturing, Penang is Malaysia's main jewellery finishing hub, contributing 85% of the nation's gold and jewellery exports as of 2016. [198] The state's gold and jewellery industry is relatively well-established, dating back to the founding of the Penang Goldsmith Association in 1832. Jewellery from Penang is exported to over 20 foreign markets, including Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan, Canada and the United States.


Design Village at Batu Kawan is the largest outlet mall in Malaysia by size. Design Village, Batu Kawan, Penang.jpg
Design Village at Batu Kawan is the largest outlet mall in Malaysia by size.
Shophouses in George Town's Little India sell Indian fabrics and textile, as well as Hindu prayer paraphernalia. Penang Malaysia Mini-market-corner-Lebuh-Gereja-and-Lebuh-King-01.jpg
Shophouses in George Town's Little India sell Indian fabrics and textile, as well as Hindu prayer paraphernalia.
A beach at Batu Ferringhi BatuFerringhi2006.JPG
A beach at Batu Ferringhi

The services sector contributed 46.7% of Penang's GDP as of 2022, employing almost 35 of the state's workforce. [6] Major subsectors in the state include logistics, communications, retail, food and beverages (F&B), tourism, financial, real estate and business services. Penang's well-developed infrastructure has traditionally allowed it to punch above its weight as one of Malaysia's vital logistics hubs. The Penang International Airport (PIA) is the country's third busiest in passenger volume and in 2022, handled RM385,034 million worth of exports, the largest of all entry points nationwide. Meanwhile, the Port of Penang processed over 1.3 million TEUs of cargo in 2022, the third highest among Malaysia's seaports. [6] [199]

Regarded as one of the nation's most popular tourist destinations, Penang has welcomed influential personalities of renown such as W. Somerset Maugham, Rudyard Kipling, Lee Kuan Yew, Queen Elizabeth II and King Charles III. [200] [201] [202] The state is well-known for its rich heritage and architecture, a vibrant cosmopolitan society, natural attractions such as beaches and hills, and its famous culinary scene. [203] In 2017, Penang contributed close to RM3.9 million of Malaysia's tourism tax revenue, the third highest after Kuala Lumpur and Sabah. [204]

In recent years, Penang has begun to carve its niche in specific areas of tourism, such as healthcare, business events, ecotourism, retail and cruise arrivals. [205] Unlike most Malaysian cities, George Town does not solely rely on air transportation for tourist arrivals. Swettenham Pier is the busiest port-of-call in Malaysia for cruise shipping and serves as one of the major entry points into the city, apart from the PIA.

Penang has also emerged as the leading destination within Malaysia for medical tourism, accounting for over half of the nation's medical tourism revenue before the Covid-19 outbreak. [206] [207] While the pandemic caused a temporary setback to the medical tourism industry, it has been gradually recovering, with Penang generating a revenue of more than RM356 million in 2022 from medical tourist arrivals. [208] Furthermore, George Town is Malaysia's second most popular destination for meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (MICE) after Kuala Lumpur. [209] In 2017, Penang hosted 2,511 business events with an estimated economic impact of RM1.002 billion. [210] Among the major venues for business events in the state are SPICE Arena, Straits Quay and Prangin Mall. [211]

The state's vibrant retail subsector employed as much as 15% of its workforce as of 2019. [212] As the main shopping destination in northwestern Malaysia, Penang boasts several shopping centres such as Gurney Plaza, Gurney Paragon, 1st Avenue Mall, Straits Quay, Queensbay Mall and Design Village. George Town's shophouses and flea markets also offer a unique shopping experience for local products such as spices, nutmegs and Tambun biscuits, a delicacy unique to the state. [213] [214]

As part of measures to diversify the economy, the Penang state government has been promoting the state as a shared services and outsourcing (SSO) hub, attracting the second largest share of investments for Global Business Services (GBS) within Malaysia after Kuala Lumpur. [186] The SSO industry in Penang has provided over 8,000 high-income jobs and contributed RM12.79 billion of revenue in 2013. [196] [215] In addition, the state's startup community is growing, driven by home-grown companies like Piktochart and DeliverEat. [216] Boosted by the presence of multinational technology firms and the advantage of lower business costs, Penang's startups have taken the lead in encouraging entrepreneurship and the implementation of the Internet of Things (IoT) within the state. [217] [218]


Northam Road, part of George Town's Central Business District Northam Road, George Town.jpg
Northam Road, part of George Town's Central Business District

George Town has a rich financial history, having served as the financial centre of British Malaya in the past. Standard Chartered was the first international bank to open a branch in the city in 1875, followed by HSBC and the Royal Bank of Scotland in 1885 and 1888, respectively. [37] [44]

Today, George Town continues to be the financial hub of northwestern Malaysia, with its Central Business District (CBD) housing several international banks such as Standard Chartered, HSBC, Citibank, United Overseas Bank, OCBC and Bank of China. In addition, the city is also home to various insurance providers, ancillary financial services and federal agencies like Bank Negara and the Employees Provident Fund. [219] [220] [221] As of 2022, finance and ancillary services such as insurance, auditing and real estate contribute 9.1% of Penang's GDP. [6]


Penang's minuscule mining sector contributed a mere 0.1% of the state's GDP in 2022. [6] The state mainly produces granite, sand and limestone. However, in 2023, it was reported that Penang holds an estimated RM100 billion worth of untapped rare-earth elements. [222]


Public holidays in Penang
New Year's Day
1 Jan
2 days in
Labour Day
1 May
King's Birthday
1st Sat of Jun
George Town World
Heritage City Day
7 Jul
Governor's Birthday
2nd Sat of Jul
Revelation of
the Koran Day
2 days
National Day
31 Aug
Malaysia Day
16 Sep
25 Dec


Penang's cosmopolitan society results in a great number of celebrations and festivities throughout any given year. The state hosts major cultural and religious events, including but not limited to, Chinese New Year, Eid al-Fitri, Diwali, Thaipusam, Vaisakhi, Christmas, Vesak and Songkran. In particular, Chinese New Year is celebrated with much enthusiasm by Penang's Chinese community. Celebrations last for 15 days and are marked with festivities unique to the state, such as the birthday of the Jade Emperor, and the annual opening of Chinese ancestral halls and associations in George Town. [223] [224] The final day of Chinese New Year is marked with a Peranakan-inspired Lantern Festival. [224]

Expatriates living in Penang have also brought their own celebrations to the state. Bon Odori, a Japanese festival celebrated annually in George Town, has gained popularity among locals. [225] St. Patrick's Day and Oktoberfest, traditionally celebrated by the ethnic Irish and German communities respectively, are also celebrated in the city. [226] [227]

Penang also hosts several major festivals each year, such as the George Town Festival, which has become one of the largest arts events in Southeast Asia since its first edition in 2010. [228] The Penang Hot Air Balloon Fiesta is another popular event that attracts nearly 200,000 visitors from all over the world. [229] In 2018, the George Town Literary Festival became the first Southeast Asian literary festival to win the international Literary Festival Award at the London Book Fair. [230]

Performance arts

A Chingay troupe in George Town Penang Chingay.jpg
A Chingay troupe in George Town

George Town is the birthplace of a unique form of the Chingay procession. Introduced in 1919, Penang's variant of Chingay includes the act of balancing gigantic flags on one's head or hands. [231] A state-held Chingay parade takes place in George Town annually, although Chingay performances are also frequently included in Chinese festivals and significant state events in throughout Penang. [232]

Bangsawan, a type of Malay theatre that incorporates Indian, Western, Islamic, Chinese and Indonesian influences, originated in the state at the end of the 19th century. [233] Additionally, boria, which features singing accompanied by violin, maracas and tabla, is also indigenous to Penang. [234]

Apart from traditional forms of art, the Penang Philharmonic Orchestra, funded by the state, was established in 2010 to elevate the standard of classical music in Penang. Dewan Sri Pinang and Straits Quay are among the major performing venues in the city. [211]

Street art

Ernest Zacharevic's Children on a Bicycle in George Town Penang - Little Children on a Bicycle.JPG
Ernest Zacharevic's Children on a Bicycle in George Town

In 2012, as part of the George Town Festival, Lithuanian artist Ernest Zacharevic created a series of 6 wall paintings depicting local culture, inhabitants and lifestyles. [235] In addition, several wrought iron caricatures have been installed within George Town, with each caricature detailing the city's history and the daily lives of its inhabitants. [236] In recent years, the street art scene has also begun to grow out of the city, in areas such as Balik Pulau and Butterworth. [237] [238]

In addition, art exhibitions are frequently held at cultural centres within George Town, such as the Hin Bus Depot. [239]


The Penang State Museum and Art Gallery in George Town is the state's primary public museum; it houses relics, photographs, maps, and other artefacts that document the history and culture of Penang. [240]

Other museums in the city focus on religious and cultural aspects, as well as famous personalities, including the Penang Islamic Museum, Sun Yat-sen Museum, Batik Painting Museum, Penang House of Music and Universiti Sains Malaysia Museum and Gallery. [241] Besides that, the birthplace of Malaysia's legendary singer-actor, P. Ramlee, has been restored and turned into a museum [242]

In recent years, private-run museums have sprung up throughout the city, such as the Camera Museum and the Penang Toy Museum. A handful of newer 3D visual and interactive museums have also been established, such as the Made-in-Penang Interactive Museum and the Penang Time Tunnel. [243] [244]


Wat Chaiyamangkalaram is a Thai Buddhist temple at Pulau Tikus. Penang Malaysia Wat-Chaiya-Mangkalaram-Temple-01.jpg
Wat Chaiyamangkalaram is a Thai Buddhist temple at Pulau Tikus.
Skyscrapers at Gurney Drive in George Town Gurney Drive at night.jpg
Skyscrapers at Gurney Drive in George Town

Penang is home to a relatively wide variety of architectures, both historical and modern. The historical core of George Town has been inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to its unique architectural and cultural townscape without parallel anywhere in East and Southeast Asia. [79]

Fort Cornwallis, in George Town, was the first structure built by the British in Penang. The city's UNESCO World Heritage Site also covers several important landmarks, including the City Hall, the Penang High Court, St. George's Church and the Eastern & Oriental Hotel. Aside from European architecture, a huge assortment of Asian architectural styles also exists throughout George Town, exemplified by buildings like the Kong Hock Keong Temple, Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion, the Pinang Peranakan Mansion, Khoo Kongsi, Snake Temple, Kapitan Keling Mosque and Sri Mahamariamman Temple. Meanwhile, the Siamese and the Burmese have also left a visible impact on certain landmarks within the city, such as Wat Chaiyamangkalaram, Dhammikarama Burmese Temple and Kek Lok Si.

Aside from the colonial era architecture, Penang Island contains most of the skyscrapers within Penang, with the state's tallest buildings all located within the island. The tallest skyscrapers in George Town, and by extension, Penang, include the Komtar Tower, Marriott Residences and Muze @ PICC.


A bowl of Penang Hokkien mee Penang Hokkien Prawn Noodles.JPG
A bowl of Penang Hokkien mee

George Town, popularly regarded as the food capital of Malaysia, is renowned for its good and varied cuisine which incorporates Malay, Chinese, Indian, Peranakan, Thai and European influences. [245] The city has been recognised by various publications, such as Time Magazine , CNN and Lonely Planet, as one of the Asian cities with the best street cuisine. [246] [247] [248] According to Time Magazine in 2004, "nowhere else can such great tasting food be so cheap," whilst Robin Barton of the Lonely Planet described George Town as the culinary epicentre of the many cultures that arrived after it was set up as a trading port in 1786, from Malays to Indians, Acehenese to Chinese, Burmese to Thais. [247] [248]

The various street dishes and delicacies of Penang include (but not limited to) asam laksa , Nasi Lemuni , char kway teow , curry mee, Hokkien mee , nasi kandar , oh chien (fried oyster omelette), lor bak, rojak , pasembur , chendol , ais kacang , and tau sar pneah (bean paste biscuit). [249] [214]


SPICE Arena is also one of the major venues in Penang for business events. SPICE Arena 2023.jpg
SPICE Arena is also one of the major venues in Penang for business events.

Penang has a relatively well-developed sporting infrastructure. The Penang State Stadium in Batu Kawan is the main stadium within the state, whereas the City Stadium in George Town is the sole stadium within the city and the home ground of Penang F.C..

SPICE Arena at Bayan Baru is another major sporting venue within Penang, consisting of an indoor arena and an aquatics centre. [250]

The Nicol David International Squash Centre at Gelugor is one of the major squash training facilities in Malaysia and was reportedly where squash legend Nicol David first trained during her childhood years. [251] George Town is also home to Malaysia's oldest equestrian centre, the Penang Turf Club, which was established in 1864. In addition, Penang contains a total of three golf courses, one of which is on Penang Island. [252]

The major annual sporting events within Penang include the Penang International Dragon Boat Festival and the Penang Bridge International Marathon. The former, held every December in Teluk Bahang, is a dragon boat race that has attracted several international teams, including those from Singapore, Thailand, Brunei, China, South Korea and Australia. [253] The latter is a marathon which includes the Penang Bridge as its route. Held every November, it attracted a record 35,000 participants from 85 countries in 2017. [254]

Among the national and international sporting events that were hosted within Penang include the 2000 Sukma Games, the 2001 Southeast Asian Games and the 2013 Women's World Open Squash Championship. Penang has also hosted the 2018 Asia Pacific Masters Games, the first edition of a Masters Games within Asia. [255]


Universiti Sains Malaysia, Penang's premier public university Main gate at the Universiti Sains Malaysia.jpg
Universiti Sains Malaysia, Penang's premier public university

Penang's literacy rate stood at 98.2% as of 2010, whilst specifically, the literacy rate of Penang's youth between 15 and 24 years of age rose to 99.5% in 2014, after Selangor and Kuala Lumpur. [256] [257] Correspondingly, Penang has the third highest Human Development Index within Malaysia. [258]

As of 2017, Penang, including both the mainland and the island contains a total of 48 tertiary institutions (including universities, colleges, medical colleges, industrial training institutes and teaching schools), 12 international schools, 110 secondary schools, 271 primary schools and 602 kindergartens. [259] [260] [261]

Penang Free School, founded in 1816, is the oldest English school in Southeast Asia. Cmglee Penang Free School main gate.jpg
Penang Free School, founded in 1816, is the oldest English school in Southeast Asia.

In particular, George Town is home to some of Malaysia's oldest schools. Established in 1816, Penang Free School is the oldest English school in Southeast Asia, while numerous public schools originally founded during the colonial era in Penang include St. Xavier's Institution, St. George's Girls' School and Methodist Boys' School. In addition, the city is a pioneer in Chinese education within the region; following the establishment of Chung Hwa Confucian High School in 1904, several prominent Chinese schools were built, such as Chung Ling High School, Penang Chinese Girls' High School, Heng Ee High School, Jit Sin High School and Phor Tay High School.[ citation needed ]

As a popular destination for expatriates, George Town contains a number of international schools as well, such as Uplands International School, Dalat International School, Tenby International School and Hua Xia International School. [262] These schools offer primary and secondary education up to A Levels and International Baccalaureate. [262] A few of these schools, such as Penang Japanese School and Chinese Taipei School, cater to expatriates of specific nationalities. [260] [263]

Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) is the premier public university within Penang. Established in 1969 as Malaysia's second university, it was originally named Universiti Pulau Pinang (University of Penang). [264] The main campus is situated at Gelugor, while an engineering campus has been built in Nibong Tebal. As of 2018, it was ranked 207th in the QS World University Rankings, the fourth highest within the country. [265]

RCSI & UCD Malaysia Campus is a medical university in George Town, with teaching hospitals in Penang and Perak. Founded as a private medical school in 1996, RUMC gained university status in 2018 and is the only Irish university branch campus in Malaysia. Graduates of RUMC are conferred degrees awarded and recognised by the National University of Ireland.

Other tertiary institutions within Penang include Wawasan Open University, Han Chiang University College of Communication, DISTED College, Sentral College, SEGi College, KDU College, INTI International College, Equator Academy of Arts, Penang Skills and Development Centre and Lam Wah Ee Nursing College. [259] Aside from these institutions, RECSAM, a research and training facility aimed at the enhancement of the science and mathematics education in Southeast Asia, is sited within Penang as well.

The state also contains 107 libraries, including the Penang State Library and the Penang Digital Library. [266] The latter, launched by the Penang state government in 2016, is the first digital library in Malaysia. [267]

Health care

Penang General Hospital in George Town Penang General Hospital (2011).jpg
Penang General Hospital in George Town

Health care in Penang is adequately provided by the numerous public and private hospitals throughout the state. These hospitals have also helped Penang to emerge as the centre of Medical tourism in Malaysia. The Penang General Hospital, administered and funded by the Malaysian Ministry of Health, is the main tertiary referral hospital within northern Malaysia. It is supported by five other public hospitals within Penang, all of which also come under the administration of the country's Ministry of Health. [268]

Aside from public hospitals, Penang is home to 15 private hospitals, including Penang Adventist Hospital, Lam Wah Ee Hospital, Mount Miriam Cancer Hospital, Gleneagles Medical Centre, Island Hospital, Loh Guan Lye Specialists Centre and Pantai Hospital. [269] These hospitals cater not only to the local population, but also to patients from other states and foreign health tourists. [270] [271]

Infant mortality rate within Penang dropped by 85% between 1970 and 2000 to 5.7 per 1,000 live births, while neonatal mortality rate also decreased by 84.7% within this corresponding period to 4.1 per 1,000 live births. [272] As of 2017, Penang's life expectancy at birth stood at 72.5 years for men and 77.7 years for women. [6]


The Star Northern Hub in Bayan Lepas Cmglee Penang The Star Northern Hub.jpg
The Star Northern Hub in Bayan Lepas

George Town was once the nucleus of Malaysia's print press. The nation's first newspaper was founded in the city – the Prince of Wales Island Gazette in 1806. [273] The Star , currently one of Malaysia's top dailies, has its origins as a regional newspaper founded in George Town in the 1970s, while the country's oldest Chinese newspaper, Kwong Wah Yit Poh , was also established in the city in 1910. [273]

In 2011, the then Chief Minister of Penang, Lim Guan Eng, launched the Penang edition of Time Out . [274] This version of the international listings magazine is published in three versions - a yearly guide, a website and a mobile app. [275]

The Penang state government also publishes its own multi-lingual newspaper, Buletin Mutiara, which is distributed for free every fortnight. [276] The Penang-centric newspaper focuses on the current issues within Penang. [276]

Film and television

Due to its well-preserved colonial-era cityscape, a number of movies have been filmed within George Town, such as Crazy Rich Asians, Anna and the King , Lust, Caution and You Mean the World to Me, the latter of which is the first movie to be filmed entirely in Penang Hokkien. [277] Singaporean drama series, The Little Nyonya and The Journey: Tumultuous Times , were also filmed within the city's UNESCO World Heritage Site. In addition, the city became one of the pit-stops of The Amazing Race 16 , The Amazing Race Asia 4 and The Amazing Race Asia 5 .[ citation needed ]

Radio broadcasting

The history of Penang radio broadcasting began in 1925 when the Penang Wireless Association was established. With the issuance of the first shortwave radio broadcast licence on 24 August 1934, Station ZHJ – Malaya's first radio station was launched and went on the air from Khoo Sian Ewe's house at Perak Road. It was transmitted via 493 meter waves from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. everyday in Malay, English, Chinese, Hokkien and Tamil. During the Japanese occupation period from 19 December 1941 until 2 September 1945, the Imperial Army used Penang Chinese Recreation Club at Burmah Road in George Town as radio station to transmit propaganda and renamed the station as Penang Hoso Kyoku (Penang Broadcasting Corporation). Following the surrender of the Japanese Army, the British came back into power and reclaimed the station and the building, which later became the state branch of Radio Malaya on 1 April 1946. While news programmes were produced in Singapore, the state branch in Penang produces regional programmings for the radio station. [278]

Radio Malaya Penang moved its headquarters from Chinese Recreational Club to United Engineers Building at Bishop Street in 1948 and later to Sepoy Lines Road in 1955. In 1961, it moved into its present building at Burmah Road, which was officially opened by Governor Raja Uda on 30 October 1965. Penang state radio station became part of the Radio Malaysia network on 16 September 1963, when Malaysia was established and the larger Radio Televisyen Malaysia (RTM) on 11 October 1969, following the merger of the nation's Radio and Television operations. Today, RTM Penang state branch operates one radio channel - Mutiara FM. [279]


The Second Penang Bridge, 24 km-long (15 mi), as seen from Batu Maung Cmglee Penang Second Bridge aerial.jpg
The Second Penang Bridge, 24 km-long (15 mi), as seen from Batu Maung
With a height of 61.5 m (202 ft) above ground, the Jalan Bukit Kukus Paired Road is the tallest expressway in Malaysia. Jalan Bukit Kukus Paired Road, George Town, Penang 2023.jpg
With a height of 61.5 m (202 ft) above ground, the Jalan Bukit Kukus Paired Road is the tallest expressway in Malaysia.


Penang Island is connected to the mainland by two bridges. The 13.5 km (8.4 mi) Penang Bridge, completed in 1985, spans the Penang Strait between Gelugor on the island and Perai on the mainland. Spanning 24 km (15 mi), the Second Penang Bridge was opened in 2014, linking Batu Maung on the island to Batu Kawan on the mainland.

The North–South Expressway, a 966 km-long (600 mi) expressway along the western part of Peninsular Malaysia, passes through Seberang Perai. In addition, about 34.9 km (21.7 mi) of the Malayan Railway's West Coast Line also lies within Seberang Perai, with the Butterworth railway station serving as the main railway station within northern Malaysia. Aside from the regular Malayan Railway services, the Butterworth railway station is the southernmost terminus of the State Railway of Thailand's Southern Line and the International Express from Bangkok. Notably, the train station is also one of the main stops of the Eastern and Oriental Express service between Bangkok and Singapore. [280]

On Penang Island, the Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu Expressway is a vital coastal highway that runs along the island's eastern seaboard, connecting George Town with the Penang Bridge, the Bayan Lepas Free Industrial Zone, the Penang International Airport and the Second Penang Bridge. The Federal Route 6 is a pan-island trunk road, while the two major ring roads within George Town are the George Town Inner Ring Road and the Penang Middle Ring Road.

In Seberang Perai, the major ring roads and expressways include the Butterworth Outer Ring Road (BORR) and the Butterworth–Kulim Expressway.

Public transportation

A trishaw, known locally as beca, on a street in George Town. GeorgeTown Altstadt.JPG
A trishaw, known locally as beca, on a street in George Town.

Under British rule, George Town served as a pioneer in public transportation within British Malaya. The city's first tram system, originally powered by steam, began operations in the 1880s. [281] [282] Although the tram lines have since been disused, another colonial legacy, the trishaw, still plies the city's streets, albeit catering primarily for tourists. [283]

The Penang Hill Railway, Malaysia's only funicular railway system Funicular to the top of the Penang Hill, Georgetown, Penang, Malaysia.JPG
The Penang Hill Railway, Malaysia's only funicular railway system

Buses now form the backbone of public transportation within Penang. Public bus services are mainly provided by Rapid Penang, which operates 56 routes within Greater Penang, including interstate routes into Kedah and Perak. Among the routes are free-of-charge transit services such as the Central Area Transit, the Congestion Alleviation Transport and the Pulau Tikus Loop. [284] In addition, the Hop-On Hop-Off bus service, which utilises open-topped double decker buses, has been introduced for tourists within George Town. [285]

Meanwhile, the only rail-based transportation system within Penang is the century-old Penang Hill Railway, a funicular railway to the peak of Penang Hill. The Penang state government has also drawn up plans to introduce urban rail throughout Penang, as part of the Penang Transport Master Plan. [73] [102] The 29 km (18 mi) Bayan Lepas LRT line, stretching between Tanjong Bungah and Bayan Lepas with an interchange station at Komtar, is being prioritised for construction. [286] [287] Other lines being proposed are a cross-strait light rail line linking George Town and Butterworth, a monorail line connecting the centre of George Town with Ayer Itam and Paya Terubong, and a tram line limited to within George Town's UNESCO World Heritage Site. [288] [289] [290] [291]

Efforts are also being undertaken to promote pedestrianisation and the use of bicycles as an environmentally friendly mode of transportation. [292] [293] Dedicated cycling lanes have been paved throughout the city and in 2016, George Town became the first Malaysian city to operate a public bicycle-sharing service, with the inauguration of LinkBike. [294] [295] [296]

The Penang Sentral in Butterworth is the main transit hub within Penang. Penang Sentral's location, adjacent to the Sultan Abdul Halim Ferry Terminal and the Butterworth railway station, allows it to function as a termini for public and interstate buses, ferry and train services.


Penang International Airport (PEN) is located in Bayan Lepas at the southeast of Penang Island, 16 km (9.9 mi) south of George Town. It serves as the main airport for northern Malaysia, with frequent links to major regional cities such as Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Bangkok, Jakarta, Ho Chi Minh City, Taipei, Hong Kong, Guangzhou and Doha. Penang International Airport is Malaysia's second busiest in terms of cargo traffic and recorded the third highest passenger traffic of all Malaysian airports as of 2013. [297]

The airport is also a hub for two Malaysian low-cost carriers - AirAsia and Firefly. [298] Among the international carriers that operate out of the airport are Scoot, Jetstar Asia Airways, China Airlines, China Southern Airlines, Thai Smile and Qatar Airways.


Penang Port.jpg
The Port of Penang with George Town in the background, as seen from Butterworth
A Penang Ferry crossing the Penang Strait. Penang ferries2023.jpg
A Penang Ferry crossing the Penang Strait.

Formerly a vital British entrepôt, Penang's maritime trade has greatly declined, due to the loss of George Town's free-port status in 1969 and the concurrent development of Port Klang near the federal capital Kuala Lumpur. [51] In spite of this, the Port of Penang remains the main harbour of northwestern Malaysia. Operated by the Penang Port Commission, the seaport handled more than 1.52 million TEUs of cargo in 2017, making it the third busiest in the country by volume. [299] The Port's strategic location enabled it to service not just northern Malaysia, but also southern Thailand. [299]

Meanwhile, Swettenham Pier, situated in the heart of George Town, is the sole Port facility on Penang Island. The pier now accommodates cruise ships, making it one of the major entry points into Penang. As of 2017, Swettenham Pier recorded 1.35 million tourist arrivals, thereby surpassing Port Klang as the busiest cruise shipping terminal in Malaysia; the pier has also attracted some of the world's largest cruise liners, such as the RMS Queen Mary 2. [300] [301] [302] The pier also serves as a homeport for regional-based cruise ships. [300]

Occasionally, the Port of Penang hosts warships as well, including those from Singapore, the United States and most recently, China. [303] [304] [305]

The cross-strait Penang ferry service connects George Town and Butterworth, and was formerly the only transportation link between Penang Island and the mainland until the completion of the Penang Bridge in 1985. At the time of writing, six ferries ply the Penang Strait between George Town and Butterworth daily. [306]


Water supply, which comes under the jurisdiction of the Penang state government, is wholly managed by the Penang Water Supply Corporation (PBAPP). The state enjoys the lowest domestic water tariff in Malaysia, at RM0.32 per 1,000 litres. [307] Penang's water supply is obtained from several sources, namely the Ayer Itam Dam, Teluk Bahang Dam, Mengkuang Dam, Bukit Panchor Dam, Berapit Dam, Cherok Tok Kun Dam, the Guillemard Reservoir, the Penang Botanic Gardens and the Muda River. [308] The latter, which forms Penang's northern border with Kedah, provides up to 80% of Penang's water supply. [309]

In 1904, George Town became the first city within British Malaya to be supplied with electricity, upon the completion of a hydroelectric scheme. [310] Currently, electricity for industrial and domestic consumption is provided by Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB), which operates a 398MW oil-powered power plant at Gelugor. [311]

As of 2014, Penang had a recorded broadband penetration rate of 80.3%, the highest among all Malaysian states. [312] Penang is also the first Malaysian state to provide its citizens with free internet connection. [313] Penang Free Wi-Fi, launched by the Penang state government in 2008, aims to boost internet penetration throughout Penang and is provided free-of-charge. [313] Bandwidth speeds within the George Town city centre were increased to 3 Mbit/s, while 1,560 hotspots have been installed throughout the state. [314]

Notable people

Penang was the birthplace of illustrious Malaysian and Singaporean personalities, professionals and politicians, including:

See also

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">George Town, Penang</span> Capital city of the Malaysian state of Penang

George Town is the capital of the Malaysian state of Penang and the core city of the George Town Conurbation, Malaysia's second largest metropolitan area with a population of 2.83 million. The city proper covers an area of 306 km2 (118 sq mi) and was home to a population of 794,313 as of 2020.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Butterworth, Seberang Perai</span> Town in Malaysia

Butterworth is the largest urban town in the city of Seberang Perai, Penang, Malaysia. It lies about 3 km (1.9 mi) east of George Town, the capital city of Penang, across the Penang Strait. As of 2021, Butterworth has a total population of 107,591 residents.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Seberang Perai</span> City in Penang, Malaysia

Seberang Perai is a city in the Malaysian state of Penang. It is situated on the Malay Peninsula opposite Penang Island, bordering Kedah to the north and east and Perak to the south. Its city centre is located in Butterworth, while its local authority, the Seberang Perai City Council, is centred near Bukit Mertajam. As of 2020, Seberang Perai had a population of 946,000, making it the third most populous city in Malaysia.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Bukit Mertajam</span> Neighbourhood of Seberang Perai and district capital in Penang, Malaysia

Bukit Mertajam(Jawi: بوكيت مرتاجم) is the administrative centre of the city of Seberang Perai in Penang, Malaysia. It also serves as the seat of the Central Seberang Perai District. As of 2010, Bukit Mertajam (core) contains a total of 13,097 residents.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Perai</span> Neighbourhood of Seberang Perai in Penang, Malaysia

Perai is an urban settlement in the city of Seberang Perai, Penang, Malaysia. It lies at the southern bank of the Perai River and borders Butterworth to the north. Perai gave its name to the city of Seberang Perai, the mainland half of the State of Penang.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Seberang Jaya</span> Neighbourhood of Seberang Perai in Seberang Perai, Penang

Seberang Jaya is a suburb in the city of Seberang Perai, Penang, Malaysia. Located at the southern bank of the Perai River and east of Perai proper, the area was developed in the 1970s. Since then, Seberang Jaya has evolved into a booming area, with various commercial and retail developments.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Batu Kawan</span> Town in Penang

Batu Kawan is an island in the city of Seberang Perai, Penang, Malaysia. It is geographically separated from the rest of Seberang Perai by the Jawi and Tengah rivers. As of 2010, Batu Kawan contained a population of 5,537.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">History of Penang</span> History of the Malaysian state of Penang

The State of Penang, one of the most developed and urbanised Malaysian states, is located at the nation's northwest coast along the Malacca Strait. Unlike most Malaysian states, the history of modern Penang was shaped by British colonialism, beginning with the acquisition of Penang Island from the Sultanate of Kedah by the British East India Company in 1786. Developed into a free port, the city state was subsequently governed as part of the Straits Settlements, together with Singapore and Malacca; the state capital, George Town, briefly became the capital of this political entity between 1826 and 1832. By the end of the 19th century, George Town prospered and became one of the major entrepôts in Southeast Asia.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Penang Strait</span> Strait in Malaysia

The Penang Strait is an 11 kilometre-wide strait that separates Penang Island from mainland Malay Peninsula. Penang Island is to the west of the channel, while Seberang Perai, the mainland half of the State of Penang, is to the east. The northern and southern ends of the channel join the Strait of Malacca, one of the world's busiest maritime routes.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Transport in Penang</span>

The State of Penang in Malaysia, home to the country's second largest city as well as part of Malaysia's second most populous conurbation, has a relatively well-developed transport infrastructure. The city-state is well-connected by land, air and sea; the Penang International Airport is one of Malaysia's busiest, while the Port of Penang is the main harbour and transshipment hub within northern Malaysia. The North–South Expressway, the main highway along western Peninsular Malaysia, runs through Penang, while the two geographically separate halves of the state are now linked by two bridges and a ferry service.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">North Seberang Perai District</span> District of Malaysia in Penang

The North Seberang Perai District is an administrative district on the mainland part of Penang State, Malaysia. It covers an area of 267 square kilometres, and had a population of 286,323 at the 2010 Census. The district is bordered by Muda River in the north which separates Kuala Muda district in Kedah, Kedah state border in the east which separates Kulim district, Perai River in the south which separates Central Seberang Perai and North Channel which separates Penang Island. The district capital is Kepala Batas, and the largest town is Butterworth. Other localities that are located in North Seberang Perai include Penaga, Pinang Tunggal, Bertam, Tasek Gelugor, Teluk Air Tawar and Mak Mandin. It is one of the three administrative districts in the Seberang Perai region, the mainland portion of Penang State. Paddy is largely cultivated in North Seberang Perai as most parts of it is covered by paddy fields.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Central Seberang Perai District</span> District of Malaysia in Penang

The Central Seberang Perai District is a district in the state of Penang, Malaysia. It covers an area of 238 square kilometres, and had a population of 371,975 at the 2010 Census. The district is bordered by Perai River which separates North Seberang Perai in the north, Junjong River which separates South Seberang Perai in the south, Kedah state border in the east and South Channel which separates Penang Island. Juru River also flows through the district. The capital of this district is Bukit Mertajam. Other localities that are situated in Central Seberang Perai include Permatang Pauh, Penanti, Bukit Tengah, Bukit Minyak, Juru, Alma, Machang Bubok and Permatang Tinggi. The entertainment, eatery and automobile venue of Autocity is also located in this district. Heavy industrial areas cover most parts of Central Seberang Perai.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">South Seberang Perai District</span> District of Malaysia in Penang

The South Seberang Perai District is a district in Penang, Malaysia. It covers an area of 242 square kilometres, and had a population of 184,007 at the 2020 Census. The district is bordered by Junjong River that separates Central Seberang Perai in the north, Kedah state border in the east, Perak state border in the south and the South Channel that separates Penang Island. Rivers that flow through South Seberang Perai are Junjong River, Jawi River and Kerian River. The capital of this district is Sungai Jawi and the largest town is Nibong Tebal. Other towns such as Batu Kawan, Bukit Tambun, Simpang Ampat, Sungai Bakap and Valdor are also located in this district. South Seberang Perai is thriving with the fishing industry and agriculture. Oil palm plantations covers most parts of the area.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Penang Island City Council</span> Local government of the city of George Town in Penang

The Penang Island City Council (MBPP) is the local government that administers the city of George Town, which includes the entirety of Penang Island. The city council, which has jurisdiction over an area of 306 km2 (118 sq mi), falls under the purview of the Penang state government.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Seberang Perai City Council</span> Local government of the municipality of Seberang Perai in Penang

The Seberang Perai City Council is the city council which administers Seberang Perai, the mainland half of the Malaysian state of Penang. This agency is under the purview of the Penang state government.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Greater Penang Conurbation</span> Metropolitan area in Malaysia

The Greater Penang Conurbation, also known as the George Town Conurbation, is the built-up urban or metropolitan area within and around the Malaysian state of Penang. Encompassing all of Penang, and parts of the neighbouring states of Kedah and Perak, the conurbation was home to over 2.83 million people as of 2020, the second largest in the country after the Klang Valley.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Penangite Chinese</span>

Penangite Chinese are ethnic Chinese Malaysians of full or partial Chinese ancestry who either hail from or live within the State of Penang. As of 2020, nearly 45% of Penang's population belonged to the Chinese ethnic group, making ethnic Chinese the largest ethnic community within the state.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Leith Street, George Town</span>

<span class="mw-page-title-main">History of George Town, Penang</span> Background of the city of George Town, Penang

George Town, the capital city of the State of Penang, is the second largest city in Malaysia and the economic centre of the country's northern region. The history of George Town began with its establishment by Captain Francis Light of the British East India Company in 1786. Founded as a free port, George Town became the first British settlement in Southeast Asia and prospered in the 19th century as one of the vital British entrepôts within the region. It briefly became the capital of the Straits Settlements, a British crown colony which also consisted of Singapore and Malacca.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Port of Penang</span> Port in Malaysia

The Port of Penang is a deepwater seaport within the Malaysian state of Penang. It consists of terminals along the Penang Strait, including five in Seberang Perai and one in George Town. The Port of Penang was the third busiest harbour in Malaysia in terms of cargo as of 2017, handling 1.52 million TEUs of cargo, as well as the busiest port-of-call within the country for cruise shipping.


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