Map of Penang Island
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Penang (Pulau Pinang, 槟城/檳城, 槟榔屿/檳榔嶼) is a state in Malaysia, located on the northwest coast of Peninsular Malaysia by the Strait of Malacca. Penang is the second smallest state in Malaysia after Perlis, and the eighth most populous. A resident of Penang is colloquially known as a Penangite.
The name "Penang" comes from the modern Malay name Pulau Pinang, which means island of the areca nut palm (Areca catechu, family Palmae). The name Penang can refer either to the island of Penang or the state of Penang. Penang is severally known as "The Pearl of the Orient" and "Pulau Pinang Pulau Mutiara" (Penang Island of Pearls).
The Penang State(Negeri Pulau Pinang)
The Penang state now consists of Penang island(Pulau Pinang in Malay) and Province Wellesley (or Seberang Perai in Malay).
The capital of Penang state is George Town. More specifically, George Town is also called Tanjung in Malay. Penang Island is simply Pulau Pinang and Penang state is Negeri Pulau Pinang in Malay. George Town, became a city by a royal charter granted by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II on 1 January 1957, becoming the first town in the Federation of Malaya to become a city. However, sad to say there was dispute on the city status, as the royal charter was granted by the colonial British before independence.
The state flag of Penang state consists of 3 colours, blue on the left and yellow on the right, and at the middle of the state flag is a Pinang Tree with white background.
The state is geographically divided into two sections:
(i)Penang Island: an island of 293 square kilometres located in the Straits of Malacca with an estimated population of 745,000; and
(ii)Province Wellesley (also known as Seberang Perai in Malay): a narrow hinterland of 753 square kilometres on the peninsula across a narrow channel whose smallest width is 4 km (2.5 miles). It is bordered by Kedah in the north (demarcated by the Muda River) and east, and Perak in the south and has an estimated population of 833,000.
The body of water between Penang Island and Province Wellesley is the North Channel to the north of Georgetown and the South Channel to the south of George Town. Penang Island is irregularly shaped, with a granitic, hilly and mostly forested interior, with the highest point being Western Hill (part of Penang Hill) at 830 metres above sea level. The coastal plains are narrow, the most extensive of which is in the northeast which forms a triangular promontory where George Town, the state capital, is situated. The topography of Province Wellesley is mostly flat. Butterworth, the main town in Province Wellesley, lies along the Perai River estuary and faces George Town at a distance of 3 km (2 miles) across the channel to the east.
There are two local authorities in Penang, the Municipal Council of Penang Island (Majlis Perbandaran Pulau Pinang)and the Municipal Council of Province Wellesley (Majlis Perbandaran Seberang Perai). Local councillors have been appointed by the state government since local elections were abolished in Malaysia in the 1960s. Both municipal councils are made up of a president, a municipal secretary and 24 councillors. The president is appointed by the State Government for two-year terms of office while the councillors are appointed for one-year terms of office. The state is divided into 5 administrative divisions:
* Penang Island:
o North-East District (Daerah Timur Laut)
o South-West District (Daerah Barat Daya)
* Seberang Perai (formerly Province Wellesley):
o Northern Seberang Perai District (Daerah Seberang Perai Utara)
o Central Seberang Perai District (Daerah Seberang Perai Tengah)
o Southern Seberang Perai District (Daerah Seberang Perai Selatan)
Each district is headed by a district officer.
Towns at Penang Island
Air Itam - Balik Pulau - Bandar Baru Air Itam - Batu Ferringhi - Batu Maung - Batu Lanchang - Bayan Baru - Bayan Lepas - Gelugor - George Town - Green Lane - Gurney Drive - Tanjung Tokong - Jelutong - Pantai Aceh - Paya Terubong - Pulau Tikus - Pulau Betong - Sungai Ara - Sungai Dua - Sungai Nibong - Tanjung Bungah - Tanjung Tokong - Teluk Bahang
Towns at Province Wellesley
Alma - Bagan Ajam - Bagan Luar - Batu Kawan - Bukit Mertajam - Bukit Minyak - Butterworth - Jawi - Juru - Kepala Batas - Mak Mandin - Nibong Tebal - Permatang Pauh - Perai - Raja Uda - Seberang Jaya - Simpang Ampat - Sungai Bakap - Bukit Tambun - Permatang Tinggi
The islets off Penang
There are a number of small islets off the coast of Penang, the biggest of which, Pulau Jerejak, is located in the narrow channel between Penang Island and the mainland. It was previously a leper and penal colony, but is now a tourist attraction.
Other islands include:
Pulau Aman - Pulau Betong - Pulau Gedung - Pulau Kendi (Coral Island) - Pulau Rimau
The state has the highest population density in Malaysia with 2,457.33 people per square kilometre on the island and 1,055.77 people per square kilometre on the mainland. It is also the only non-Malay dominated state in Malaysia. Penang is the only state in Malaysia where ethnic Chinese forms a plurality. The ethnic composition in 2008 was:
* Ethnic Chinese: 660,000 (41.8%)
* Malay: 633,000 (40.3%)
* Ethnic Indian: 171,000 (10.8%)
o Bumiputra - other than Malay: 7,200 (0.4%)
o Other races: 7,400 (0.4%)
o Non-Malaysian citizens: 99,400 (6.3%)