Local government areas (yellow) within Greater Penang
|Principal city||George Town|
|Other major towns||Penang|
|• Local governments|| Penang|
|• Metro||2,563.15 km2 (989.64 sq mi)|
|• Metro||2,412,616 (2nd)|
|• Metro density||941.27/km2 (2,437.9/sq mi)|
|Time zone||UTC+8 (MST)|
Coordinates: The Greater Penang Conurbation that covers all of Penang, southern Kedah and northwestern Perak is Malaysia's second most populous metropolitan area. It is centred in George Town, Penang's capital city and also the second most populous city in Malaysia after Kuala Lumpur. As such, this conurbation is alternatively referred to as the George Town Conurbation.
Greater Penang is home to between 2.5 million and 3 million inhabitants, making it the second largest conurbation in Malaysia after Greater Kuala Lumpur (Klang Valley). In addition, Greater Penang serves as the major metropolitan area within northern Malaysia and one of the nation's economic powerhouses. The conurbation generated a GDP of US$13,596,418 in 2010, second only to Greater Kuala Lumpur. Bayan Lepas, in particular, is known as the 'Silicon Valley of the East' due to the concentration of electronic and engineering firms. George Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a major tourist destination within Southeast Asia, as well as the financial centre of northern Malaysia with the presence of several international banks in the city.
The Greater Penang Conurbation has well-developed logistical links and infrastructure. It is well-connected via the Penang International Airport, one of the busiest airports in Malaysia, and the Port of Penang. George Town is linked with the rest of Peninsular Malaysia via the Penang Bridge and the Second Penang Bridge, as well as a ferry service.
Greater Penang encompasses the entire State of Penang, the southernmost portion of the neighbouring state of Kedah and northwestern Perak. According to the official definition of Greater Penang, the conurbation covers as far south as Perak's Kerian District.
George Town, the capital city of Penang, is the most thriving and urbanised part of Greater Penang. The other major urban centres on Penang Island are Bayan Lepas and Balik Pulau, the latter of which is located at the western coast of Penang Island.
Over on the mainland, Butterworth serves as the heart of Seberang Perai, while the other major towns in Seberang Perai include Bukit Mertajam, Perai, Nibong Tebal and Kepala Batas. The towns in southern Kedah that are covered under Greater Penang are Sungai Petani, Kulim and Bandar Baharu. Within Perak's Kerian District, the major urban centres are Parit Buntar and Bagan Serai.
The local governments within Greater Penang are as follows.
- Sungai Petani Municipal Council
- Kulim Municipal Council
- Bandar Baharu District Council
Population by local government jurisdictions
|Local government area||Local government||Population||Area (km²)||Density (per km²)|
|Penang Island||Penang Island City Council||708,127||302.53||2,340.68|
|Seberang Perai||Seberang Perai City Council||818,197||738.00||1,108.67|
|Sungai Petani||Sungai Petani Municipal Council||443,488||922.60||480.69|
|Kulim||Kulim Municipal Council||281,260||267.06||1,053.17|
|Bandar Baharu||Bandar Baharu District Council||41,352||169.30||244.25|
|Kerian||Kerian District Council||120,192||163.66||734.40|
Public transportation is relatively more extensively developed within Penang, as the Rapid Penang public bus service, which runs over 56 routes throughout the state, was launched in 2007. Rapid Penang has also commenced cross-state bus services linking Butterworth with Sungai Petani and Parit Buntar.
The Penang International Airport serves as the major airport within Greater Penang, and by extension, northern Malaysia. It is the second busiest airport in Malaysia in terms of cargo tonnage and the third busiest in the country in terms of passenger traffic. The airport is also relatively well-connected with several major regional cities such as Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Bangkok, Jakarta, Ho Chi Minh City, Taipei, Hong Kong, Guangzhou and Doha.
The Port of Penang is one of the major sea ports in Malaysia, serving primarily the northern region of the country. The Port, with three terminals in Butterworth and one in George Town, handled over 1.44 million TEUs of cargo in 2016, making it the third busiest seaport in Malaysia. The well-developed air and sea transportation infrastructures in Penang has facilitated the growth of the manufacturing sector within Greater Penang by enabling the flow of goods into and out of the factories in Bayan Lepas, Seberang Perai and Kulim.
The North-South Expressway, the main arterial highway that runs through western Peninsular Malaysia and on to Singapore, also passes through the Greater Penang Conurbation via the Sungai Petani - Butterworth - Perai - Juru - Bandar Baharu route. The expressway also branches out towards the Penang Bridge and the Second Penang Bridge, thereby providing road connections between Penang Island and the rest of Peninsular Malaysia.
Aside from the North-South Expressway, the Malayan Railway's West Coast Line and KTM Komuter Northern Sector runs through Greater Penang. Of the nine stations within Greater Penang, Butterworth railway station serves as the main railway hub for northern Malaysia, as well as one of the major stations along the West Coast Line. Train services to other urban centres in Peninsular Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand include the State Railway of Thailand's Southern Line, the International Express and the Eastern and Oriental Express, the latter of which traverses all three nations.
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