Southwest Penang Island District

The Southwest Penang Island District (Malay: Daerah Barat Daya Pulau Pinang) is a district within the Malaysian state of Penang. The district covers the southwestern half of Penang Island and borders the Northeast Penang Island District to the east. It has an area of 175 km2 (68 sq mi) and a population of 197,131 as of 2010. Balik Pulau is the district's administrative centre, while Bayan Lepas is the largest town within the district.[1]

Southwest Penang Island District
Daerah Barat Daya Pulau Pinang
Other transcription(s)
  MalayDaerah Barat Daya Pulau Pinang (Rumi)
دايره بارت داي ڤولاو ڤينڠ (Jawi)
  Chinese西南县 (Simplified)
西南縣 (Traditional)
  Tamilதென்மேற்கு பினாங்கு தீவு மாவட்டம்
Teṉmēṟku Piṉāṅku Tīvu Māvaṭṭam (Transliteration)
Location of the Southwest Penang Island District within the State of Penang.
Country Malaysia
State Penang
SeatBalik Pulau
Largest townBayan Lepas
  Local governmentPenang Island City Council
  Total175 km2 (68 sq mi)
  Density1,126.5/km2 (2,918/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+8 (MST)
  Summer (DST)Not observed
Postal code
110xx, 119xx
Vehicle registration platesP
Area code(s)+604

Although Penang Island consists of two districts, both fall under the jurisdiction of the city of George Town, which encompasses the entirety of the island plus the surrounding islets.[3] The city's jurisdiction is exercised by the Penang Island City Council in the centre of George Town, which lies within the Northeast Penang Island District.


In 1786, the British East India Company had taken control of Penang Island, establishing the city of George Town at the island's northeastern tip. For several decades since, the island was governed directly from George Town, with no administrative divisions on the island.

In 1888, a District and Land Office was established in Balik Pulau at the southwest of the island.[4][5] Thus, the Southwest Penang Island District was created, effectively dividing Penang Island into two districts. Both districts first appeared in official maps of Penang dating back to the 1890s.[6]


A panoramic view of Batu Maung, within the Southwest Penang Island District. The Bayan Lepas Free Industrial Zone is in the foreground, whilst the Second Penang Bridge can be seen in the horizon.

The Southwest Penang Island District covers southern and western Penang Island, as well as parts of the island's central hill ranges. Under the district are the following towns and residential areas.


Residential areas and villages

  • Permatang Damar Laut
  • Sungai Ara
  • Teluk Kumbar
  • Teluk Tempoyak

The Southwest Penang Island District comprises 16.8% of Penang's total land mass.[7] It is further divided into 22 mukims.[1]

  • Sungai Pinang
  • Sungai Rusa
  • Permatang Pasir
  • Bagan Ayer Itam
  • Titi Teras
  • Kongsi
  • Kampong Paya
  • Sungai Burong
  • Pulau Betong
  • Dataran Ginting
  • Pantai Acheh
  • Telok Bahang
  • Sungai Rusa & Bukit Sungai Pinang
  • Batu Itam
  • Bukit Balik Pulau
  • Pondok Upeh
  • Bukit Ginting
  • Bukit Pasir Panjang
  • Bukit Gemuroh
  • Bukit Relau
  • Telok Kumbar
  • Bayan Lepas


Southwest Penang Island District and Land Office in Balik Pulau.

The administrative centre of the Southwest Penang Island District is Balik Pulau, where the District and Land Office is situated.[8]

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 based in the heart of George Town. With a history dating back to 1800, it is the oldest local government 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.[9] The Mayor's term lasts for two years.[10]

Electoral constituencies

Federal and State electoral constituencies within the Southwest Penang Island District (in olive).
Federal Constituency Party Member of Parliament State Constituency Party State Assemblyman
Bayan Baru (P052) PKR Sim Tze Tzin Pantai Jerejak (N36) PKR Saifuddin Nasution Ismail
Batu Maung (N37) PKR Abdul Halim Hussain
Balik Pulau (P053) PKR Muhammad Bakhtiar Wan Chik Bayan Lepas (N38) Amanah Azrul Mahathir Aziz
Pulau Betong (N39) PKR Mohd Tuah Ismail
Telok Bahang (N40) PPBM Zolkifly Md Lazim


Historical population
1991 122,764    
2000 159,129+29.6%
2010 197,131+23.9%
2020 237,735+20.6%
Source: [11]

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

Population within Southwest Penang Island
Ethnicity Population Percentage (%)
Malay 127,155 53.49
Chinese 81,790 34.4
Indian 13,408 5.64
Other ethnicities 1,117 0.47
Non-Malaysian citizens 14,264 5.99
Total 237,735 100.00

According to data obtained from the census, over 62% of the population within the Southwest Penang Island District were concentrated around Bayan Lepas, making it the largest town within the district.


Most schools in the district are national schools, which are run under Malaysia's Ministry of Education. In addition, a few international schools, such as the Prince of Wales International School and the Straits International School, have been set up in Bayan Lepas and Balik Pulau.[12][13]

The Penang State Library operates a branch in Balik Pulau.[14]

Health care

The Balik Pulau Hospital is the main hospital within the Southwest Penang Island District. It complements the Penang General Hospital in providing healthcare to the citizens on Penang Island.

Pantai Mutiara Hospital in Bayan Lepas is the sole private hospital in the district.[15]


The Second Penang Bridge, opened in 2014, is the longest bridge in Southeast Asia.


The Southwest Penang Island District is connected to the rest of Peninsular Malaysia via the Second Penang Bridge, which runs between Batu Maung at the southeastern tip of Penang Island and Batu Kawan on the mainland. The bridge, with a length of 24 km, is now the longest in Southeast Asia.

Federal Route 6 is a winding trunk road that serves as the pan-island road, forming a circular loop along the length of Penang Island's coastline. The road links Bayan Lepas, Balik Pulau and Teluk Bahang with the centre of George Town in the Northeast Penang Island District.

Public transportation throughout Penang Island is provided by Rapid Penang, which has public bus services between the city centre, Bayan Lepas (including the Penang International Airport), Balik Pulau and Teluk Bahang.


Bird's eye view of the Penang International Airport.

The Penang International Airport in Bayan Lepas serves as the major airport within the northern region of Peninsular Malaysia. Completed in 1935, it is also the oldest civilian airport in the nation.

Today, it is one of the busiest airports in Malaysia in terms of cargo tonnage and passenger traffic, highlighting the role Penang Island plays as a tourist destination and a major manufacturing hub. The airport's proximity to the Bayan Lepas Free Industrial Zone allows for the easy transportation of goods to and from the factories in Bayan Lepas. In addition, it connects Penang with several major regional cities, including Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Bangkok, Jakarta, Hong Kong, Guangzhou, Taipei, Ho Chi Minh City and Yangon.

Tourist attractions

Monkey Beach is situated within the Penang National Park at Teluk Bahang.
The Snake Temple in Bayan Lepas is believed to be the only Chinese temple in the world that is inhabited by snakes.

The Snake Temple in Bayan Lepas is said to be the only Chinese temple to be inhabited by snakes. Built in the 1850s by a Buddhist monk, it has attracted varieties of pit vipers, which are believed to be rendered harmless by the incense. The temple is also a focal point of the annual Chinese New Year celebrations, during which a flame-watching ceremony is held to predict the fortunes of the next 12 months.[16]

The Penang War Museum is located at the southeastern tip of Penang Island. The sprawling complex was originally Fort Batu Maung, built by the British Army in the 1930s to defend Penang Island against amphibious invasion.[17] However, during World War II, the British Army abandoned the fort to the Imperial Japanese Army without a fight. Neglected after the war, the fortress was converted into a museum in 2002, and features bunkers, tunnels and other military structures.

Balik Pulau is famous for its agricultural plantations, which are rarely found elsewhere on Penang Island. In recent years, agricultural tourism is booming in Balik Pulau, as tourists from other states and abroad flock to the town to sample fresh durians and nutmegs.[18][19][20][21]

The Penang National Park, covering 2,562 hectares of rainforests, swamps and beaches at the northwestern tip of Penang Island, is the smallest gazetted national park in Malaysia. Within the park are some of the most pristine beaches on Penang Island, such as Kerachut Beach and Monkey Beach. A canopy walk also allows visitors an impressive view of the lush rainforest underneath.

In addition, the adjacent town of Teluk Bahang is home to unique agricultural attractions, such as the Penang Butterfly Farm, Tropical Spice Garden and Tropical Fruit Farm.[22][23][24]

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.
  3. "George Town meliputi 'pulau', jelas Datuk Bandar" (PDF). Buletin Mutiara. 1 May 2015.
  4. "Latar Belakang". (in Malay). Retrieved 2018-01-24.
  5. Mohd Nasser bin Malim. "Perubahan Pentadbiran Daerah dan Tanah di Balik Pulau, Pulau Pinang 1888 - 1956" (PDF). Universiti Sains Malaysia.
  6. "Map of Pinang Island and Province Wellesley,1897". Retrieved 2018-01-24.
  7. "An analysis of Penang". Penang Monthly. 2014-08-22. Retrieved 2016-11-01.
  8. rozita. "Hubungi Kami". (in Malay). Retrieved 2018-01-24.
  9. "Yew Tun Seang new mayor of Penang Island". 2018-01-17. Retrieved 2018-01-24.
  10. "Organisation Chart". Official Portal of Penang Island City Council (MBPP). 9 October 2015. Retrieved 15 October 2016.
  11. "Key Findings Population and Housing Census of Malaysia, 2020" (in Malay and English). Department of Statistics, Malaysia.
  12. Bhd, Tradsure Com Sdn. "Home | Straits International School Penang". Retrieved 2016-11-01.
  13. "Prince of Wales Island International School - Penang, Malaysia". POWIIS. Retrieved 2016-11-01.
  14. "Penang Library Corporation".
  15. "Pantai Hospital Penang". Retrieved 2016-11-02.
  16. "First four months look good, snake temple deity says - Nation | The Star Online". Retrieved 2016-11-02.
  17. "Penang War Museum Batu Maung - Opening Hours, Entrance Fee". Retrieved 2016-11-02.
  18. "myPenang - A Day in Balik Pulau". Retrieved 2016-11-02.
  19. II, Administrator. "The Back of the Island - Balik Pulau". Retrieved 2016-11-02.
  20. "From jungle durians to a tour, our pick of farms to visit in Balik Pulau". 2015-06-28. Retrieved 2016-10-21.
  21. jalmsab (2015-07-13). "Forget D24 and Maoshan, try kampong durians in Penang". The Straits Times. Retrieved 2016-10-21.
  22. "Penang Butterfly Farm – The World's 1st Tropical Live Butterfly Sanctuary, Butterfly, Insects, Nature, Lizards, Tarantullas, Tour, Penang, Malaysia". Retrieved 3 January 2011.
  23. "Home - Tropical Spice Garden". Tropical Spice Garden. Retrieved 2016-10-21.
  24. "Welcome to Tropical Fruit Farm". Retrieved 2016-10-21.
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