Northeast Penang Island District

The Northeast Penang Island District (Malay: Daerah Timur Laut Pulau Pinang) is a district within the Malaysian state of Penang. The district covers the northeastern half of Penang Island, including the centre of George Town, Penang's capital city. It has an area of 122.79 km2 (47.41 sq mi) and a population of 510,996 as of 2010. The district borders the Southwest Penang Island District to the west.

Northeast Penang Island District
Daerah Timur Laut Pulau Pinang
Other transcription(s)
  MalayDaerah Timur Laut Pulau Pinang (Rumi)
دايره تيمور لاءوت ڤولاو ڤينڠ (Jawi)
  Chinese东北县 (Simplified)
  Tamilவடகிழக்கு பினாங்கு தீவு மாவட்டம்
Vaṭakiḻakku Piṉāṅku Tīvu Māvaṭṭam (Transliteration)
Location of the Northeast Penang Island District within the State of Penang.
Country Malaysia
State Penang
SeatGeorge Town
  Local governmentPenang Island City Council
  Total122.79 km2 (47.41 sq mi)
14 m (46 ft)
  Density4,161.5/km2 (10,778/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+8 (MST)
  Summer (DST)Not observed
Postal code
100xx to 108xx 111xx to 118xx
Vehicle registration platesP
Area code(s)+604


In 1786, the British East India Company had gained control of Penang Island, establishing the city of George Town at the island's northeastern tip. In the following decades, the entirety of the island was governed directly from George Town.

In 1888, the Southwest Penang Island District office was established in Balik Pulau at the southwest of the island, thus dividing the island into the Northeast and Southwest districts. Both districts on Penang Island first appeared in official maps dating back to the 1890s.[3]


The centre of George Town also serves as the seat of the Northeast Penang Island District.

The District and Land Office of Northeast Penang Island is situated within the heart of George Town, which is also the capital city of the State of Penang. In addition, the district covers the following suburbs of George Town.

The Northeast Penang Island District also includes much of Penang Island's central hill ranges. Penang Hill, the tallest peak on Penang Island, is within the district and serves as a major tourist attraction.

The Northeast Penang Island District is further divided into seven mukims.[1]

  • George Town
  • Paya Terubong
  • Bukit Paya Terubong
  • Bukit Ayer Itam
  • Ayer Itam
  • Batu Ferringi
  • Tanjong Tokong


The Komtar Tower in the heart of George Town houses the district's Land Office.

The District and Land Office is situated within Komtar, the tallest skyscraper in Penang.[4]

Local government

Although the districts in Malaysia were created for the purpose of land administration and revenue, in practice, it is the local government that ensures the provision of basic amenities and maintenance of urban infrastructure.

Notably, both districts on Penang Island are under the jurisdiction of the Penang Island City Council, which is also based in the centre of George Town. With a history dating back to 1800, it is the oldest local authority in Malaysia. The current Mayor of Penang Island is Yew Tung Seang, who was appointed into the position by the Penang state government in 2018.[5] The Mayor's term lasts for two years.[6]

Federal and State electoral constituencies within the Northeast Penang Island District (in olive).

Electoral constituencies

Federal Constituency Party Member of Parliament State Constituency Party State Assemblyman
Bukit Bendera (P048) DAP Syerleena Abdul Rashid Tanjong Bunga (N22) DAP Zairil Khir Johari
Air Putih (N23) DAP Lim Guan Eng
Kebun Bunga (N24) PKR Ong Khan Lee
Pulau Tikus (N25) DAP Chris Lee Chun Kit
Tanjong (P049) DAP Chow Kon Yeow Padang Kota (N26) DAP Chow Kon Yeow
Pengkalan Kota (N27) DAP Gooi Zi Sen
Komtar (N28) DAP Teh Lai Heng
Jelutong (P050) DAP RSN Rayer Datok Keramat (N29) DAP Jagdeep Singh Deo
Sungai Pinang (N30) DAP Lim Siew Khim
Batu Lancang (N31) DAP Ong Ah Teong
Bukit Gelugor (P051) DAP Ramkarpal Singh Seri Delima (N32) DAP Syerleena Abdul Rashid
Air Itam (N33) DAP Joseph Ng Soon Seong
Paya Terubong (N34) DAP Yeoh Soon Hin
Bayan Baru (P052) PKR Sim Tze Tzin Batu Uban (N35) PKR Kumaresan Aramugam


Historical population
1991 395,714    
2000 416,369+5.2%
2010 510,996+22.7%
2020 556,575+8.9%
Source: [7]

The following is based on the 2020 Malaysian Census conducted by Malaysia's Department of Statistics.[1]

Population within Northeast Penang Island
Ethnicity Population Percentage (%)
Malay 121,895 21.90
Chinese 325,394 58.46
Indian 51,377 9.23
Other ethnicities 5,037 0.90
Non-Malaysian citizens 52,875 9.50
Total 556,575 100.00


Northeast Penang Library

The district is where some of the oldest schools in Malaysia were established. Penang Free School, founded in 1816, is the oldest English school in Southeast Asia, as well as the first of several missionary schools in the city. These English-medium schools, including St. Xavier's Institution, St. George's Girls School and Methodist Boys' School have produced some of Malaysia's most influential figures, including lawmakers, politicians, professionals and businessmen.

In addition, the first Chinese schools in Malaysia were established within the district. Since then, Chinese schools like Chung Ling High School, Heng Ee High School and Penang Chinese Girls' High School have maintained strong reputations based on academic excellence.

International schools have also been established within the city to cater to the growing expatriate population. These schools offer primary to secondary education up to A Levels and International Baccalaureate.

In terms of tertiary education, the district is home to one of the best Malaysian public universities - Universiti Sains Malaysia, as well as several private colleges and institutions such as Wawasan Open University, SEGi College and Han Chiang College.

The Penang State Library operates a branch and a children's library within the district.[8]

Health care

Penang General Hospital, the oldest and largest hospital in Penang.

In recent years, George Town has become the medical tourism centre of Malaysia, generating about 70% of the country's medical tourism revenue and attracting approximately half of medical tourist arrivals into the country.[9][10][11] The numerous public and private hospitals in the district, coupled with low cost of living and ease of travel have helped facilitate the medical tourism boom.

The Penang General Hospital is the main public hospital for George Town and the district. Built in 1882, it also serves as the reference hospital within northern Malaysia.[12]

Private hospitals, including Penang Adventist Hospital and Lam Wah Ee Hospital, also offer advanced facilities and speedier care by well-trained professionals. These hospitals cater not only to the local population but also patients from other states and neighbouring countries such as Indonesia and Singapore.[13]


The Penang Bridge, completed in 1985, was the longest bridge in Southeast Asia until superseded by the Second Penang Bridge in 2014.


Rapid Penang buses at the Weld Quay Bus Terminal.

The district is linked with the Malay Peninsula via the Penang Bridge, which runs between the George Town suburb of Gelugor and Perai on the mainland.

George Town has a relatively well-developed road network stretching back to the early days of British colonisation. Within the city centre are narrow streets and lanes, while modern arterial roads connect the city centre with the suburbs such as Tanjung Tokong, Air Itam and Jelutong.

The Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu Expressway runs along the eastern coastline of Penang Island between the city centre and the Penang International Airport, linking both locations with the Bayan Lepas Free Industrial Zone and the Penang Bridge.

The new Penang Hill Railway funicular train, which has been in use since 2011.
A cruise liner docked at Swettenham Pier.

Federal Route 6 is a winding trunk road that serves as the pan-island road, forming a circular loop round Penang Island. In the clockwise direction, this road connects the city centre with Bayan Lepas, Balik Pulau and Teluk Bahang.

Public transportation throughout Penang Island is composed of buses operated by Rapid Penang. In recent years, a free shuttle service within the city centre and double decker buses for tourists have also been introduced.[14][15]

The district also has the only operational railway on Penang Island - the Penang Hill Railway. It is the oldest funicular rail system in Malaysia, having commenced operations in 1923. It was last upgraded in 2011 with new coaches that take as little as five minutes to reach the peak of Penang Hill.


A Penang Ferry crossing the Penang Strait towards George Town.

The Port of Penang consists of four terminals, one of which is located within the district. The Swettenham Pier serves not only cruise ships, but also on occasion, warships as well.[16][17][18] As of 2014, Swettenham Pier recorded 1.2 million tourist arrivals and attracted some of the world's biggest cruise liners, such as the RMS Queen Mary 2.[19]

In addition, the Penang Ferry Service operates across the Penang Strait between George Town and Butterworth on the Malay Peninsula. At present, four ferries ply the route between George Town and Butterworth daily.

Tourist attractions

Kapitan Keling Mosque was one of the first mosques to be built in George Town.
Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion is also known as the 'Blue Mansion' due to its distinctive hue.
Sri Mahamariamman Temple, with a history dating back to 1801, is the focal point of George Town's Little India.
St. George's Church is the oldest Anglican church in Southeast Asia.

A great majority of Penang's tourist attractions lie within the centre of George Town. The city centre, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is well-renowned for its architectural, cultural and culinary varieties; George Town is also said to be the food capital of Malaysia. In addition, the district has a number of natural attractions ranging from the central hills of Penang Island to the sandy beaches along the island's northern coastline.

Listed below are just some of the landmarks within the Northeast Penang Island District.

See also


  1. "Population Distribution and Basic Demographic Characteristics, 2010" (PDF). Department of Statistics, Malaysia. Archived from the original (PDF) on 22 May 2014. Retrieved 19 April 2012.
  2. "2017 Q2 statistics" (PDF). Penang Institute. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2017-12-01. Retrieved 2017-11-30.
  3. "Map of Pinang Island and Province Wellesley,1897". Retrieved 2018-01-24.
  4. "Pejabat Daerah Dan Tanah Daerah Timur Laut - Official Website For North East Penang Land And District Office". Retrieved 2018-01-24.
  5. "Yew Tun Seang new mayor of Penang Island". 2018-01-17. Retrieved 2018-01-24.
  6. "Organisation Chart". Official Portal of Penang Island City Council (MBPP). 9 October 2015. Retrieved 15 October 2016.
  7. "Key Findings Population and Housing Census of Malaysia, 2020" (in Malay and English). Department of Statistics, Malaysia.
  8. "Penang Library Corporation". Archived from the original on 2017-07-04.
  9. "Penang Monthly".
  10. "Penang accounts for 50% of medical tourists".
  11. "Higher Education in Regional and City Development : State of Penang, Malaysia". OECD.
  12. "Penang to have first-ever school in hospital". NST Online. Retrieved 18 October 2016.
  13. "Getting back its mojo". The Economist. 13 August 2011. ISSN 0013-0613. Retrieved 18 October 2016.
  14. "Penang – The Pearl of the Orient". Equator Academy of Art. Archived from the original on 14 September 2008. Retrieved 27 July 2008.
  15. "Penang Hop-On Hop-Off".
  16. "Swettenham Pier Cruise Terminal". Penang Port.
  17. "Newspaper Article - S'pore gunboats call at Penang". Retrieved 18 October 2016.
  18. "US Navy ship calls at Penang - Community | The Star Online". Retrieved 18 October 2016.
  19. "Is Penang's tourism on the right track?". Penang Monthly. 1 October 2015. Retrieved 17 October 2016.
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