Seberang Prai expected to get city status soon

19 Feb 2019 / 16:35 H.

PETALING JAYA: Seberang Prai, already the country’s largest municipality, may soon achieve city status.

The Penang state government is working on upgrading the Seberang Prai Municipal Council (MPSP) into a city council by June and state executive councillor Jagdeep Singh Deo, who is in charge of local government, is confident that it will receive the necessary approval.

Penang island, the only other district in the state, already enjoys city status. The Penang Island City Council (MBPP) president, Datuk Yew Tung Seang is also the mayor.

The proposal to seek city status for Seberang Prai came at a state executive council meeting in December last year.

He said the proposal was forwarded to Housing and Local Government Datuk Zuraida Kamaruddin at the National Council for Local Government meeting on Feb 15.

“I was told that the national council is in favour of the move and we are now waiting for the papers to be tabled in the Cabinet,” Jagdeep said.

The MPSP is now helmed by Datuk Rozali Mohamud as its president.

Its jurisdiction covers an area of more than 751km², making it the largest municipality in Malaysia.

Previously, Seberang Prai was made up of four separate districts – Butterworth town as well as the Province Wellesley North, Central and South Rural Districts. The boards of the three districts were merged in the 1970s to form the MPSP.

Province Wellesley, now renamed Seberang Prai, was acquired in stages by the British East India Company in the 19th century. The island was taken over by Sir Captain Francis Light in 1786.

Seberang Jaya, which has seen extensive development since the 1990s, has replaced Butterworth as the main administrative and commercial centre of Seberang Prai.

The other growth areas are Bukit Mertajam as a logistic hub, as well as Kepala Batas and Nibong Tebal that have flourished with increased farming activities.

Since 2008, Batu Kawan – which is connected to Batu Maung on the island via the Sultan Abdul Halim Muadzam Shah Bridge (Second Penang Bridge) – has been touted as the next growth area there.

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