Greater Penang Conurbation

Coordinates: 5°24′52″N 100°19′45″E / 5.4145°N 100.3292°E / 5.4145; 100.3292The Greater Penang Conurbation that covers all of Penang, southern Kedah and northwestern Perak is Malaysia's second most populous metropolitan area.[1] It is centred in George Town, Penang's capital city and also the second most populous city in Malaysia after Kuala Lumpur.[2][3][4] As such, this conurbation is alternatively referred to as the George Town Conurbation.

Greater Penang
Greater Penang is centred in George Town, the capital city of the State of Penang.
Greater Penang is centred in George Town, the capital city of the State of Penang.
Local government areas (yellow) within Greater Penang
Country Malaysia
Principal citySeal of George Town.svg George Town
Other major towns Penang



 • Local governments Penang



  • Kerian District Council
 • Metro
2,563.15 km2 (989.64 sq mi)
 • Metro
2,412,616 (2nd)
 • Metro density941.27/km2 (2,437.9/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+8 (MST)

Greater Penang is home to between 2.5 million and 3 million inhabitants, making it the second largest conurbation in Malaysia after Greater Kuala Lumpur (Klang Valley). In addition, Greater Penang serves as the major metropolitan area within northern Malaysia and one of the nation's economic powerhouses. The conurbation generated a GDP of US$13,596,418 in 2010, second only to Greater Kuala Lumpur.[5] Bayan Lepas, in particular, is known as the 'Silicon Valley of the East' due to the concentration of electronic and engineering firms. George Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a major tourist destination within Southeast Asia, as well as the financial centre of northern Malaysia with the presence of several international banks in the city.

Penang also has the highest population density of all Malaysian states at 1,490/km2 and is one of the most urbanised states, with a recorded urbanisation level of 90.8% as of 2015.[6]

Satellite view of George Town, Penang
The clock tower in Sungai Petani, Kedah

The Greater Penang Conurbation has well-developed logistical links and infrastructure. It is well-connected via the Penang International Airport, one of the busiest airports in Malaysia, and the Port of Penang. George Town is linked with the rest of Peninsular Malaysia via the Penang Bridge and the Second Penang Bridge, as well as a ferry service.


Greater Penang encompasses the entire State of Penang, the southernmost portion of the neighbouring state of Kedah and northwestern Perak. According to the official definition of Greater Penang, the conurbation covers as far south as Perak's Kerian District.[1][4][7][8]

George Town, the capital city of Penang, is the most thriving and urbanised part of Greater Penang. The other major urban centres on Penang Island are Bayan Lepas and Balik Pulau, the latter of which is located at the western coast of Penang Island.

Over on the mainland, Butterworth serves as the heart of Seberang Perai, while the other major towns in Seberang Perai include Bukit Mertajam, Perai, Nibong Tebal and Kepala Batas. The towns in southern Kedah that are covered under Greater Penang are Sungai Petani, Kulim and Bandar Baharu. Within Perak's Kerian District, the major urban centres are Parit Buntar and Bagan Serai.

The local governments within Greater Penang are as follows.

Penang :

Kedah :

Perak :

Population by local government jurisdictionsEdit

The following population figures are based on the 2010 official census for the local government areas within Greater Penang.[9]

Population within Greater Penang
Local government area Local government Population Area (km²) Density (per km²)
Penang Island Penang Island City Council 708,127 302.53[10] 2,340.68
Seberang Perai Seberang Perai City Council 818,197 738.00[11] 1,108.67
Sungai Petani Sungai Petani Municipal Council 443,488 922.60[12] 480.69
Kulim Kulim Municipal Council 281,260 267.06[13] 1,053.17
Bandar Baharu Bandar Baharu District Council 41,352 169.30[14] 244.25
Kerian Kerian District Council 120,192 163.66[15] 734.40
Total 2,412,616 2,563.15 941.27


The Penang Bridge was completed in 1985, linking Penang Island and the Malay Peninsula by road for the first time.
The Butterworth railway station is one of the major intercity train stations in Peninsular Malaysia, with services to Thailand and Singapore.

Public transportation is relatively more extensively developed within Penang, as the Rapid Penang public bus service, which runs over 56 routes throughout the state, was launched in 2007. Rapid Penang has also commenced cross-state bus services linking Butterworth with Sungai Petani and Parit Buntar.[16]

The Penang International Airport serves as the major airport within Greater Penang, and by extension, northern Malaysia. It is the second busiest airport in Malaysia in terms of cargo tonnage and the third busiest in the country in terms of passenger traffic. The airport is also relatively well-connected with several major regional cities such as Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Bangkok, Jakarta, Ho Chi Minh City, Taipei, Hong Kong, Guangzhou and Doha.

The Port of Penang is one of the major sea ports in Malaysia, serving primarily the northern region of the country. The Port, with three terminals in Butterworth and one in George Town, handled over 1.44 million TEUs of cargo in 2016, making it the third busiest seaport in Malaysia.[17] The well-developed air and sea transportation infrastructures in Penang has facilitated the growth of the manufacturing sector within Greater Penang by enabling the flow of goods into and out of the factories in Bayan Lepas, Seberang Perai and Kulim.

The North-South Expressway, the main arterial highway that runs through western Peninsular Malaysia and on to Singapore, also passes through the Greater Penang Conurbation via the Sungai Petani - Butterworth - Perai - Juru - Bandar Baharu route. The expressway also branches out towards the Penang Bridge and the Second Penang Bridge, thereby providing road connections between Penang Island and the rest of Peninsular Malaysia.

In addition to the two bridges, Rapid Ferry also connects George Town and Butterworth, with six ferries plying the Penang Strait daily.[18]

Aside from the North-South Expressway, the Malayan Railway's West Coast Line and KTM Komuter Northern Sector runs through Greater Penang. Of the nine stations within Greater Penang, Butterworth railway station serves as the main railway hub for northern Malaysia, as well as one of the major stations along the West Coast Line. Train services to other urban centres in Peninsular Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand include the State Railway of Thailand's Southern Line, the International Express and the Eastern and Oriental Express, the latter of which traverses all three nations.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b "Penang : Malaysia's stepchild or prodigal child?". Penang Monthly. 2015-07-11. Retrieved 2016-11-26.
  2. ^ "Government banks on intensive urbanisation to pull investment". The Malaysian Insider. 16 August 2010. Archived from the original on 17 October 2013. Retrieved 19 June 2013.
  3. ^ "Turning Penang into a model state". The Edge. 4 October 2010. Archived from the original on 20 June 2013. Retrieved 19 June 2013.
  4. ^ a b "The State of Penang, Malaysia : Self-Evaluation Report" (PDF). OECD Reviews of Higher Education in Regional and City Development. National Higher Education Research Institute (2010).
  5. ^ "Achieving A System of Competitive Cities in Malaysia: Main Report". World Bank Group & Khazanah Nasional. November 2015.
  6. ^ "Massive projects in place to alleviate urbanisation in Penang". 2016-10-29. Retrieved 2016-11-26.
  7. ^ Hamdan Abdul Majeed (27 April 2011). "The George Town Conurbation Plan". Khazanah Nasional. Archived from the original on 4 January 2014. Retrieved 19 June 2013.
  8. ^ "Cities, People and the Economy: A Study on Positioning Penang". World Bank.
  9. ^ "TABURAN PENDUDUK MENGIKUT PBT & MUKIM 2010". Department of Statistics, Malaysia. Retrieved 15 December 2017.
  10. ^ "Background". Official Portal of Penang Island City Council (MBPP). 2015-10-09. Retrieved 2017-04-21.
  11. ^ "Location". Retrieved 2017-04-21.
  12. ^ "Official Website of Sungai Petani Municipal Council". 2016-03-30. Archived from the original on 2016-03-30. Retrieved 2017-04-21.
  13. ^ admin (2015-12-30). "Info Kulim". Portal Rasmi Majlis Perbandaran Kulim (MPK) (in Malay). Retrieved 2017-04-21.
  14. ^ "Background". Official Portal of Bandar Baharu District Council (MDBB). 2015-10-20. Retrieved 2017-04-21.
  15. ^ "Kerian Info". Official Portal of Kerian District Council (MDK). 2016-01-06. Retrieved 2017-04-21.
  16. ^ "Rapid Penang |". Retrieved 2016-11-26.
  17. ^ "Stacking up MMC's ports against Westports". The Edge Markets. 2017-05-02. Retrieved 2017-12-21.
  18. ^ "Penang attractions painted on two ferries - Metro News | The Star Online". Retrieved 2017-09-22.