Pulau Pinang

This article is about the state of Penang. For the island, see Penang Island. For the capital and largest city of Penang, see George Town, Penang. For the mainland territory, see Seberang Prai.

Pulau Pinang
Rapid Penang bus
Coat of arms
Nickname(s): Pearl of The Orient
Motto: Bersatu dan Setia (Malay)
United and Loyal
Let Penang Lead (unofficial)[1]
Anthem: Untuk Negeri Kita ("For Our State")

Coordinates: 5°24′N 100°14′E / 5.400°N 100.233°E / 5.400; 100.233Coordinates: 5°24′N 100°14′E / 5.400°N 100.233°E / 5.400; 100.233

Capital George Town
 • Yang di-Pertua Negeri Abdul Rahman Abbas
 • Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng (DAP)
 • Deputy Chief Minister I Mohd Rashid Hasnon (PKR)
 • Deputy Chief Minister II P.Ramasamy (DAP)
 • Total 1,048 km2 (405 sq mi)
Population (2010)[3]
 • Total 1,520,143
 • Density 1,500/km2 (3,800/sq mi)
Human Development Index
 • HDI (2010) 0.773 (high) (3rd)
Time zone MST (UTC+8)
 • Summer (DST) Not observed (UTC)
Postal code 10xxx–14xxx
Calling code +604
Vehicle registration P
Ceded by Kedah to British 11 August 1786
Japanese occupation 19 December 1941
Accession into the Federation of Malaya 31 January 1948
Independence from the United Kingdom (through the Federation of Malaya) 31 August 1957
Website www.penang.gov.my
^[a] 2,491 people per km² on Penang Island and 1,049 people per km² in Seberang Perai

Penang is a state in Malaysia and the name of its constituent island, located on the northwest coast of Peninsular Malaysia by the Strait of Malacca. It is bordered by Kedah in the north and east, and Perak in the south. Penang is the second smallest Malaysian state in area after Perlis, and the eighth most populous. It is composed of two parts – Penang Island, where the seat of government is, and Seberang Perai (formerly Province Wellesley in English) on the Malay Peninsula. Highly urbanised and industrialised Penang is one of the most developed and economically important states in the country, as well as a thriving tourist destination.[4][5][6] Penang has the third-highest Human Development Index in Malaysia, after the state of Selangor and the federal territory of Kuala Lumpur. Its heterogeneous population is highly diverse in ethnicity, culture, language, and religion. A resident of Penang is colloquially known as a Penangite.


The name "Penang" comes from the modern Malay name Pulau Pinang, which means "island of the areca nut palm" (Areca catechu, family Palmae). The name Penang may refer either to the island of Penang (Pulau Pinang) or the state of Penang (Negeri Pulau Pinang). In Malay, Penang's capital George Town was called and labelled in old maps as Tanjung Penaga (Cape Penaigre),[7] named after the many ballnut trees (also known as Alexandrian laurels, Calophyllum inophyllum) on the coast, but now usually shortened as Tanjung (the Cape).[8][9]

Penang is often known as "The Pearl of the Orient", "东方花园" and Pulau Pinang Pulau Mutiara (Penang, Island of Pearls). Penang is shortened as "PG" or "PP" in Malay.[10]

Early Malays called it Pulau Ka-Satu or "First (or Single) Island" because it was the largest island encountered on the trading sea-route between Lingga and Kedah.[11] The Siamese, then the overlord of the Kedah Sultanate, referred to the island as Koh Maak. (Thai: เกาะหมาก "Areca nut palm Island")[12][13] In the 15th century, the island of Penang was referred to as Bīnláng Yù (simplified Chinese: 槟榔屿; traditional Chinese: 檳榔嶼) in the navigational drawings used by Admiral Zheng He of Ming-dynasty China in his expeditions to the South Seas.[12][14] The 16th-century Portuguese historian Emanuel Godinho de Eredia's map of the Malay Peninsula in his "Description of Malaca" in 1613 referred to the island as Pulo Pinaom.[7][15]

Aerial evening scene of Penang Island.
penang bridge exit to georgetown