Capital of Penang accorded city status on Jan 1, 1957

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  • Saturday, 06 Dec 2003

YOUR report, “Co-operate with city council, residents urged” (The Star, Nov 29) stated Alor Star will be the ninth city in the country after Kuala Lumpur, Ipoh, Johor Baru, Kuching North, Kuching South, Kota Kinabalu, Shah Alam and Malacca. 

However, George Town, the capital city of Penang is excluded from the list.  

As a former senior officer of a local authority in Penang please allow me to put the record straight. 

As a matter of fact the Municipal Council of George Town is the first municipality in the country to be accorded a city status when Queen Elizabeth II granted a royal charter on Jan 1, 1957. 

This means all in all there are 10 cities in the country and not nine. 

According to the Athi Nahappan Report 1968 George Town has been first in a number achievements.  

For example, it is the oldest local authority unit in the country and also the first to have a fully elected Municipal Council.  

The first mayor in the country was that of the City Council of George Town. 

The report said that at one time it was the richest local authority in the country with its revenue almost double that of the state of Penang. 

Hitherto it is the only local authority to run a bus service within its area of jurisdiction. 

In other words, as far as local government matters are concerned George Town takes the front row. 

However, this port city seemed to have lost its glory when the City Council of George Town merged with the Rural District Council in the 1970s and the new enlarged local authority came to be known as Penang Island Board of Management of Local Government (LPKT) and later as the Penang Municipal Council. 

This does not mean the city status is lost. Furthermore the city status is never known to have been officially taken away by any piece of legislation. 

I hope the authorities concerned will clear the air on this matter because the name George Town is always excluded whenever reference on the number of cities is made.  



Alor Star. 

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