GEORGETOWN, PENANG

George Town
Motto: “Leading We Serve”

Map of the City of George Town, showing the city limits in 1963

George Town is located in Malaysia

George Town

George Town, Malaysia

Coordinates: 5°25′00″N 100°19′00″E / 5.4166667°N 100.3166667°E / 5.4166667; 100.3166667
Country Malaysia
State Penang
Founded 1786
Municipality established 1857
Granted city status 1957
Merged with neighbouring district 1974
Area
– City estimated 150 km2 (58.59 sq mi)
Elevation 4 m (13.1 ft)
Population (2006)
– City 300,000 (20th)
– Density est 1,464/km2 (3,748/sq mi)
– Metro 1,225,501
(metro pop is a 2000 estimate)
Time zone MST (UTC+8)
– Summer (DST) Not observed (UTC)

Coordinates: 05°25′N 100°19′E / 5.417°N 100.317°E / 5.417; 100.317 George Town[1] or Georgetown[2], is the capital of the state of Penang in Malaysia. Named after Britain’s King George III, George Town is located on the north-east corner of Penang Island and has about 220,000 inhabitants, or about 400,000 including the suburbs.

Formerly a municipality and then a city in its own right, since 1976 George Town has been part of the municipality of Penang Island, though the area formerly governed by the city council is still commonly referred to as a city, and is also known as Tanjung (“The Cape”) in Malay and 喬治市 (Qiáozhì Shì) in Chinese.

The inner city of George Town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Contents

  • 1 History
    • 1.1 The hub of George Town’s waterfront commercial and financial district
  • 2 International recognition
  • 3 Local Government
  • 4 Future developments
  • 5 Gallery

History

George Town was founded in 1786 by Captain Francis Light, a trader for the British East India Company, as base for the company in the Malay States. He obtained the island of Penang from the Sultan of Kedah and built Fort Cornwallis on the north-eastern corner of the island. The fort became the nexus of a growing trading post and the island’s population reached 12,000 by 1804.

The town was built on swampy land that had to be cleared of vegetation, levelled and filled. The original commercial town was laid out between Light Street, Beach Street (then running close to the seashore), Malabar Street (subsequently called Chulia Street) and Pitt Street (now called Masjid Kapitan Keling Street).

The warehouses and godowns extended from Beach Street to the sea. By the 1880s, there were ghauts leading from Beach Street to the wharf and jetties as Beach Street receded inland due to land reclamation. A new waterfront was created at Weld Quay, where commercial buildings sprang up.

The historic commercial centre was segmented into the banking and trading areas related to port activities which included shipping companies, the import and export trade, and the wholesalers who dominate the southern section of Beach Street until now. It has been listed as a World Heritage site since July 2008.[1]

The hub of George Town’s waterfront commercial and financial district

At the turn of the 19th century, the northern section of Beach Street and the adjacent Bishop Street were the ‘high street’ where the ‘modern’ European emporium and stores selling imported merchandise were situated.

Among the early foreign companies that located their offices on Beach Street were the Netherlands Trading Society, the Hongkong & Shanghai Banking Corporation (HSBC), the Chartered Bank, Boustead & Co., Guthne & Co., Caldbeck & Macgregor, Behn Meyer, Sandilands & Buttery, G.H. Slot and the stores of Pritchard & Co., Whiteaway, Laidlaw & Co., and others. Among the local businesses that were established here during this period were H.M. Nooradin, Tiang Lee & Co., Guan Lee Hin Steamship, Tye Sin Tat, Pinang Sales Room, Koe Guan and others. Penang’s first petroleum lamps were installed on this section of Beach Street by Huttenbach & Co..

International recognition

Melaka and George Town, Historic Cities of the Straits of Malacca*
UNESCO World Heritage Site
State Party Malaysia
Type Cultural
Criteria ii, iii, iv
Reference 1223
Region** Asia-Pacific
Inscription history
Inscription 2008 (32nd Session)
* Name as inscribed on World Heritage List.
** Region as classified by UNESCO.

George Town was voted as one of the best cities in Asia by Asiaweek, ranked 6th in 1998 and 9th in 2000. More recently in 2009, it was ranked 10th among the top locations in Asia where Europeans prefer to work and live in, according to an international location ratings survey by Conditions Abroad Limited (ECA International), an agency that develops and provides solutions for the management and assignment of employees around the world, in its annual Location Ratings Survey. [3] Back in 2002, it was placed 12th. A city is judged based on its weather, air quality, infrastructure, health services, housing, security and politics.

On 7 July 2008, George Town was, together with Malacca, formally inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is officially recognized as having a unique architectural and cultural townscape without parallel anywhere in East and Southeast Asia.[4]

Local Government

Coat of arms of the Municipal Council, later City Council, of George Town

The Municipal Council of George Town was established in 1857, the first local authority in Malaya outside Singapore. In 1956, George Town became the first municipality in the Federation of Malaya to have a fully-elected council, and on 1 January 1957, the municipality became a city by a royal charter granted by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, becoming the first (and until 1972, the only) city in the Federation.

In 1965, the federal Government suspended local elections as a result of the Indonesian Confrontation, and in 1966 the functions of the City Council were transferred to the Chief Minister of Penang. In 1974, a Local Government Management Board (Lembaga Pengurus Kerajaan Tempatan) was established for the whole of Penang Island, which became the Municipal Council of Penang Island (Majlis Perbandaran Pulau Pinang) in 1976.

As a result of the administrative reorganisations since 1966, George Town no longer exists as a legal entity, let alone as a city under the Local Government Act 1976, although it is still commonly referred to as a city.

Future developments

Due to strict rent controls, George Town retains many of its colonial-era shophouses to this day and is often considered an architectural gem. Most of George Town’s population is of Chinese origin. Since the repeal of the rent controls in 2000, many pre-war buildings have given way to new high rises. Heritage guidelines are still in its infancy and much needs to be done to conserve such treasures for the benefit of future generations.

On 2 August 2006, the federal government announced a plan to build a monorail urban transit system connecting George Town to Tanjung Tokong in the north and Bayan Lepas in the south. However, due to the defeat in Penang of the Barisan Nasional coalition after the 2008 General Election, the proposed development project was called-off after the mid-term review of the Ninth Malaysia Plan which was tabled in Parliament on June 26, 2008.

Gallery

Carpenters Guild Cathedral of the assumption Chinese Chamber of Commerce
Carpenters Guild
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Cathedral of the assumption
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Chinese Chamber of Commerce
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City Hall Clock Tower Eastern and Oriental Hotel
City Hall
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Clock Tower
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Eastern and Oriental Hotel
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Former Land Office Block Fort Cornwallis Fort Cornwallis Lighthouse
Former Land Office Block
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Fort Cornwallis
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Fort Cornwallis Lighthouse
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Dr Sun Yat Sens Penang Base Hainanese Mariners Lodge Hainan Temple
Dr Sun Yat Sens Penang Base
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Hainanese Mariners Lodge
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Hainan Temple
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Kapitan Kling Mosque Lebuh Armenian Lebuh Chulia
Kapitan Kling Mosque
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Lebuh Armenian
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Lebuh Chulia
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Lebuh Kimberley Lorong Carnarvon Lorong Chulia
Lebuh Kimberley
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Lorong Carnarvon
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Lorong Chulia
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Love Lane Residence of Ku Din Ku Meh St Georges Church
Love Lane
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Residence of Ku Din Ku Meh
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St Georges Church
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Syed Alatas Mansion Tien Kong Than Temple Town Hall
Syed Alatas Mansion
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Tien Kong Than Temple
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Town Hall
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Yap Kongsi King Street Temples Hock Teik Cheng Sin Temple
Yap Kongsi
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King Street Temples
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Hock Teik Cheng Sin Temple
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George Town Penang Penang Ferry Komtar Tower
George Town Penang
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Penang Ferry
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Komtar Tower
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Penang Gold Bazaar Penang Road Penang Street
Penang Gold Bazaar
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Penang Road
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Penang Street
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India House Peking Hotel Customs Building And Clocktower
India House
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Peking Hotel
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Customs Building And Clocktower
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Armenian Street 47 Armenian Street George Town Fire Station
Armenian Street
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47 Armenian Street
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George Town Fire Station
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Goddess Of Mercy Temple Goddess Of Mercy Temple Incense Cheah Si Sek Tek Tong
Goddess Of Mercy Temple
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Goddess Of Mercy Temple Incense
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Cheah Si Sek Tek Tong
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Jalan Masjid Kapitan Keling Broadway Budget Hotel Little India
Jalan Masjid Kapitan Keling
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Broadway Budget Hotel
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Little India
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Nagore Dargha Sheriff Penang Lebuh Pasar King Street
Nagore Dargha Sheriff Penang
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Lebuh Pasar
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King Street
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Jesus And Ganesh Lebuh Acheh Mosque Poe Choo Seah
Jesus And Ganesh
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Lebuh Acheh Mosque
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Poe Choo Seah
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Acheen Street 75 Travellers Lodge Hong Ping Hotel
Acheen Street
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75 Travellers Lodge
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Hong Ping Hotel
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Banana Guest House Hotel Oriental Lebuh Chulia Old Tram Line
Banana Guest House
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Hotel Oriental
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Lebuh Chulia Old Tram Line
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Pinang Peranakan Mansion Pinang Peranakan Mansion Phone Box 19 China Street
Pinang Peranakan Mansion
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Pinang Peranakan Mansion Phone Box
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19 China Street
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Lorong Seck Chuan Towne House Hotel Tune Hotel
Lorong Seck Chuan
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Towne House Hotel
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Tune Hotel
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Former Shih Chung Branch School The Mansion Sky Hotel
Former Shih Chung Branch School
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The Mansion
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Sky Hotel
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Lee Sie Chong Soo Lorong Pasar Old Penang Guesthouse
Lee Sie Chong Soo
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Lorong Pasar
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Old Penang Guesthouse
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Christian Cemetery Christian Cemetery Pathway Christian Cemetery Domed Mausoleum
Christian Cemetery
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Christian Cemetery Pathway
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Christian Cemetery Domed Mausoleum
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Roman Catholic Cemetery Roman Catholic Cemetery Tombs
Roman Catholic Cemetery
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Roman Catholic Cemetery Tombs
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