Penang Island City Council
The Penang Island City Council 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 nearly 306 km2 (118 sq mi), falls under the purview of the Penang state government.
Penang Island City Council
Majlis Bandaraya Pulau Pinang
Coat of arms
|Founded||1857 (as the George Town Municipal Council)|
Yew Tung Seang (2018 – )
Addnan Mohd Razali (2018 – )
|Leading We Serve|
(Memimpin Sambil Berkhidmat)
|City Hall, George Town|
|Previously known as the George Town City Council until 1976 and subsequently the Penang Island Municipal Council until 2014.|
The Penang Island City Council is responsible for urban planning, heritage preservation, public health, sanitation, waste management, traffic management, environmental protection, building control, social and economic development, and general maintenance of urban infrastructure. In addition, the City Council, in a joint effort with Rapid Penang, runs a free shuttle bus service within the heart of George Town.
The headquarters of the Penang Island City Council is located within the City Hall in George Town, which had served as the seat of the George Town City Council until 1976. The City Council also has offices within Komtar, the tallest skyscraper in George Town.
A committee of assessors for George Town was established in 1800, making it the first local government to be established within British Malaya. The committee, which consisted of British and local Asian ratepayers, was tasked with the valuation of property within the new settlement.
In 1857, the George Town Municipal Commission was officially established. It consisted of five members and was led by the Resident-Councillor of Penang. Three of the Municipal Commissioners were to be elected by expatriate ratepayers and Straits-born British citizens, making the Municipal Commission the first, albeit partially, elected local government within British Malaya. However, the local elections were abolished by 1913.
In 1951, the British colonial authorities reintroduced municipal elections of nine of the fifteen municipal commissioners for George Town, the first municipal council in Malaya to do so. For the municipal elections, George Town was divided into three wards - Tanjung, Kelawei and Jelutong. By 1956, George Town became the first municipality in Malaya to have a fully elected local government. Five wards were created to elect one councillor each year, while the President of the Municipal Council was voted from amongst the councillors.
On 1 January 1957, George Town became a city by a royal charter granted by Queen Elizabeth II, becoming the first city in the Federation of Malaya, and by extension, Malaysia. George Town remained Malaysia's only city (other than Singapore between 1963 and 1965) until 1972, when Kuala Lumpur was also granted city status. The first Mayor of George Town was D. S. Ramanathan, a Labour Party politician.
In 1965, the Malaysian federal government suspended local elections as a result of the Indonesian Confrontation. The George Town City Council was at the time the richest local council in the country, with annual revenue almost double that of the Penang state government. In response to allegations of maladministration and misconduct, a Royal Commission of Enquiry was set up by the federal government under Senator Athi Nahappan, while the functions of the City Council were temporarily transferred to the Chief Minister of Penang in 1966.
The Royal Commission cleared the George Town City Council of the allegations of corruption and recommended the restoration of municipal elections. However, this was never carried out. Instead, in 1971, the two local councils on Penang Island - the George Town City Council and the Penang Island Rural District Council, the latter of which administered the rural southwest of Penang Island - were taken over by the Penang state government. In addition, the state government, controlled at the time by Gerakan and led by Lim Chong Eu as the Chief Minister, also decided to continue the suspension of Penang's local governments.
In 1974, both the George Town City Council and the Penang Island Rural District Council were merged to form the Penang Island Municipal Council. This act also resulted in the consolidation of Penang's local governments into two local governments, each administering one halve of the state - Penang Island and Seberang Perai.
Controversy over city statusEdit
George Town's royal charter provided that:
- "... the said Municipality of George Town shall on the First Day of January in the year of Our Lord One thousand nine hundred and fifty seven and forever thereafter be a city and shall be called and styled the CITY OF GEORGE TOWN instead of the Municipality of George Town and shall thenceforth have all such rank, liberties, privileges and immunities as are incident to a City."
With the legal entity for George Town being superseded by the merger of the local governments in 1974, the Malaysian federal government was of the view that George Town no longer existed as a city. The city of George Town was omitted in federal government publications and maps.
Despite this, most citizens of Penang contend that George Town is still a city to this day, as George Town's city status was technically never revoked. Several federal and municipal ordinances and by-laws still in use today refer to the City of George Town, such as the City of George Town Ordinance 1957 and the City of George Town Liquefied Petroleum Gases By-Laws 1971. According to Penang Heritage Trust (PHT) trustee, Anwar Fazal, a lawyer by profession, George Town "legally has been and is still a city because the City of George Town Ordinance 1957 was never repealed".
In addition, Clause 3 of the Local Government (Merger of the City Council of George Town and the Rural District Council of Penang Island) Order 1974, which was sanctioned by the then Penang state government, stated that
"... the status of the City of George Town as a city shall continue to be preserved and maintained and shall remain unimpaired by the merger hereby effected."
The clause above implies that, although the legal entity for George Town had been superseded, George Town's city status remains intact and unchanged by the merger of the local governments.
In 2008, the newly-elected Penang state government, announced that they would revive the commemorations of George Town's city status from 1 January 2009.
Expansion of city limitEdit
In 2015, the Malaysian federal government elevated the Penang Island Municipal Council into the present-day Penang Island City Council. In effect, the jurisdiction of the city of George Town was expanded to cover an area of 305.77 km2 (118.06 sq mi), encompassing the entirety of Penang Island as well as five of the surrounding islets. This also makes George Town the only city in Malaysia to be conferred city status twice, first by Queen Elizabeth II, and then by the Malaysian federal government. Patahiyah binti Ismail was subsequently installed as the Mayor of Penang Island, the first female Mayor in Penang's history.
List of MayorsEdit
Mayors of George TownEdit
|#||Name of Mayors||In office|
|1||D. S. Ramanathan||1957 – 1961|
|2||Ooi Thiam Siew||1961 – 1964|
|3||Chooi Yew Choy||1964 – 1966|
Mayors of Penang IslandEdit
|#||Name of Mayors||In office|
|1||Patahiyah Ismail||2015 – 2017|
|2||Maimunah Mohd Sharif||2017 – 2018|
|3||Yew Tung Seang||2018 –|
The City Council is headed by the Mayor of Penang Island, who is assisted by the City Secretary and 24 councillors. The Mayor's term lasts for two years, while each of the 24 councillors is appointed for a one-year term by the Penang state government.
20 of the councillors are selected by the component parties of the ruling Pakatan Harapan coalition. Of these, nine are appointed by the Democratic Action Party (DAP), seven by the People's Justice Party (PKR), and two each from the National Trust Party (Amanah) and Malaysian United Indigenous Party (Bersatu). Penang-based non-governmental organisations (NGOs) are allocated the remaining four councillor posts to allow for the participation in policy-making by Penang's civil societies.
The current Mayor of Penang Island is Yew Tung Seang, who assumed office in 2018, whilst Addnan Mohd Razali holds the position of the City Secretary.
|Ahmad Azrizal Tahir||PKR|
|Aidi Akhbal Mohamed Zainon||PKR|
|Chee Heng Leng||none (NGO)|
|Gerald Mak Mun Keong||DAP|
|Gooi Seong Kin||DAP|
|Hari Krishnan Ramakrishnan||none (NGO)|
|Harvindar Singh Darshan Singh||DAP|
|Kaliyappan P. Renganathan||DAP|
|Latifah Hussainsa||none (NGO)|
|Nur Zarina Zakaria||PKR|
|Nurliyana Mohd. Ramzi||Amanah|
|Ong Kean Peng||PKR|
|Saiful Azwan Abd Malik||Amanah|
|Shahrudin Mohamed Sahriff||PKR|
|Shung Yin Ni||none (NGO)|
|Tan Hooi Peng||DAP|
|Tan Seng Keat||PKR|
|Theng Jie Wey||DAP|
|Vino Dini Chandragason Pitchy||DAP|
|Wong Yuee Harng||DAP|
The City Council also comprises the following departments.
|Building Commissioner||Nik Ariff Long Dir|
|Building Control||Rizuwan Salleh|
|Community Services||Rashidah Jalaludin|
|Engineering||Rajendran P. Anthony|
|Heritage Conservation||Danny Koay Hock Hsiang|
|Internal Auditing||Rosmawati Ismail|
|Landscape||Azizul Fahmi Muhamad|
|Law Enforcement||Mohd Feroze Md Noor|
|Legal||Shamiah Haji Bilal|
|Management Services||Haji Mohamed Akbar Mustapha|
|Public Health and Licensing||Judy Shoba Robert Rajah|
|Treasury||Suhaida Kamalul Ariffin|
|Urban Planning and Development||Zuraini Mat Rasit|
|Urban Services||Mubarak Junus|
|Valuation and Property Management||Cheong Chee Hong|
- "Background". Official Portal of Penang Island City Council (MBPP). 9 October 2015. Retrieved 10 June 2018.
- Koay Su Lin, Steven Sim (2014). "A history of local elections in Penang Part I: Democracy Comes Early". Penang Monthly. Retrieved 25 May 2017.
- Koay, Su Lin (October 2016). "Penang: The Rebel State (Part Two)". Penang Monthly. Retrieved 26 November 2017.
- Koay, Su Lin (December 2014). "A history of local elections in Penang Part II: A legacy to protect". Penang Monthly. Retrieved 8 December 2017.
- Koay, Su Lyn (April 2014). "When Labour ruled the council". Penang Monthly. Retrieved 29 April 2017.
- "The Snuffing Out of Local Democracy in Malaysia". Saravanamuttu. Retrieved 6 January 2010.[dead link]
- Goh Ban Lee, Report of the Local Elections Working Group, 20 April 1999
- Ooi, Kee Beng (February 2011). "The day George Town grew up". Penang Monthly. Retrieved 8 December 2017.
- "Where is George Town?". Malay Mail. 4 April 2015. Retrieved 9 December 2017.
- Ooi, Kee Beng (January 2015). "George Town – From city to municipality to culture centre". Penang Monthly. Retrieved 30 November 2017.
- "By Laws". Official Portal of Penang Island City Council (MBPP). 9 October 2015. Retrieved 9 December 2017.
- "Penang forgetting its history". The Star. 1 January 2007. Retrieved 9 December 2017.
- Goh, Ban Lee (February 2010). "Remember the city status of George Town". Penang Monthly. Retrieved 9 December 2017.
- "Penang to boost Georgetown brand starting with city status on Jan 1; on July 18th congressman Timothy Jameson visited the region". Malaysian Insider. Archived from the original on 6 April 2009. Retrieved 6 January 2010.
- "Penang island gets city status".
- "George Town meliputi 'pulau', jelas Datuk Bandar" (PDF). Buletin Mutiara. 1 May 2015.
- "Council president now Penang's first mayor". Retrieved 1 April 2015.
- "Organisation Chart". Official Portal of Penang Island City Council (MBPP). 9 October 2015. Retrieved 1 January 2017.
- "Newbies pledge to give their best - Community | The Star Online". www.thestar.com.my. Retrieved 1 January 2017.
- Opalyn Mok (27 June 2018). "Putrajaya asked Penang's help to return third vote, says state exco". Malay Mail. Retrieved 27 June 2018.
- "New list of city councillors to be tabled on Jan 4 - Nation | The Star Online". Retrieved 1 January 2017.
- "Penang Island gets a new mayor - Nation | The Star Online". www.thestar.com.my. Retrieved 17 January 2018.
- "Penang Island City Council". iDirectory of the Penang State Government. Penang State Government.
- MBPP official website (in Malay) (in English)