George Town, the capital of Penang, is a city once again. – The Malaysian Insider pic, March 24, 2015.George Town’s which lost its city status more than 40 years has become a city again after the upgrade of the Penang Municipal Council (MPPP) to a city council, said Lim Guan Eng.
The Penang Chief Minister said the Yang Di-Pertuan Agong had consented to the upgrade of the MPPP)to City Council (MBPP) effective January 1 this year.
He said the consent was given on March 10."This is historical. Finally George Town is able to regain its city status," he told a press conference at his Komtar office today.
Previously, George Town was granted city status by way of a Royal Charter by Queen Elizabeth II on January 1, 1957.
However, it lost the status in 1974 when the then George Town city council was merged with the Penang rural district council to form a local government management board.
Two years later, when the Local Government Act 1976 was enforced, this board turned into the Penang island municipal council.
In November last year, the cabinet approved the elevation of Penang’s status from a municipality to a city.
Lim said the new city council would be covering a larger area than the municipal council – from 297 sq km to 305.773 sq km.
He said the number of personnel in the city council would also increase by 388 from the current 3,576 employed by the municipal council.
"There will also be four new departments set up by the city council dealing with landscaping, heritage, enforcement, and solid waste and public cleansing management," he said.
Lim also announced that the first mayor of the city council is Datuk Patahiyah Ismail, who is the current MPPP president.
Patahiyah will be the first woman mayor in Penang, just as she was the first woman to be appointed as council president in 2010.
She will receive her appointment letter on March 31 at Seri Mutiara, the official residence of the Yang Di-Pertua Negeri Tun Abdul Rahman Abbas, where she will also be sworn in.
The ceremony will also see the handing over of the official document declaring George Town’s city status.
Local government exco Chow Kon Yeow said the ceremony will be followed by Patahiyah’s maiden keynote address as city mayor to councillors at the City Hall at Padang Kota Lama.
He said for now, Patahiyah would hold the post until her contract expired at the end of the year.
Meanwhile, Patahiyah said she was expecting her job to be more challenging as city mayor.
"We will cover a larger area and I believe the expectation of the people will also be higher," she said.
To celebrate George Town regaining its city status, the state is planning several programmes including a photography contest, thanksgiving ceremony, tree-planting ceremony, exhibitions, gotong-royong and others next month. – March 24, 2015.