GEORGE TOWN, Dec 17, 2014:

Penang has been granted city status, after a four-year wait.

State Local Government and Traffic Management committee chairman Chow Kon Yeow said the Cabinet last month approved the state’s application to be upgraded to city status, four years after they put up an application in 2010.

“The state government received a letter from the Urban Well-Being, Housing and Local Government Ministry on Dec 10 informing about the Cabinet’s decision.

“With the granting of the city status, the Penang Island Municipal Council will be upgraded to be the Penang Island City Council,” Chow told a press conference today.

Chow said this also meant the council would be able to hire more officers and staff.

“The city council will have more authority on matters like traffic management and enforcement,” he said.

The state’s application for the city status was made together with its application for more vacancies for officers and staff in the council.

“With the city status granted, the city council will have more jurisdiction, including to revise the island’s boundaries to include reclaimed lands such as Macallum Street, Seri Tanjung Pinang and Sungai Gelugor.

“Currently, the Penang Island Municipal Council still followed old boundaries covering only George Town, and not the whole island,” he said.

Penang’s capital, George Town, was already granted city status by way of royal charter from Queen Elizabeth II on Jan 1,1957 but this was not recognised by Putrajaya.

The whole of Penang, including the mainland, has two municipal councils — one on the island and the other, the Seberang Perai Municipal Council.

Chow said now that the Cabinet has given the green light, the next step is to wait for the final approval from the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.

“We have to wait for the Yang di-Pertuan Agong to formally declare George Town as a city, before it is official,” he said.

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