Square: 1,031 km2 – Population: 1.89 million (2016)
Penang is an island-state off the northwestern coast of Peninsular Malaysia. It comprises of two halves - Penang Island, where the capital city of George Town is located, and a strip of mainland Peninsula named Seberang Perai. Penang has an eventful history; the diversity of the inhabitants clearly indicates this. Penang is especially known as the best place to enjoy wonderful local dishes and it is seen as the food capital of Malaysia
Originally named the Prince of Wales Island, the settlement that soon grew was named Georgetown after King George III. In 1800, the Sultan of Kedah further ceded a strip of land on the mainland across the channel, which was named Province Wellesley after the then Governor of India. In 1832, Penang formed part of the Straits Settlement with Melaka and Singapore. It flourished and grew to be a major trading post for the lucrative tea, spices, china and cloth trade. For more than a hundred years, it remained under British Colonial rule until 1957 when it gained independence and became one of the states of the newly formed Federation of Malaya and later Malaysia in 1963.
A fascinating fusion of the East and West, Penang embraces modernity while retaining its traditions and old world charm. These are reflected in its harmonious multiracial populace and well-preserved heritage buildings that have led George Town being accorded a listing as a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site.
Penang has an array of temples, ruins, museums, preserved forests, and beautiful beaches that make a trip here worthwhile. Nicknamed the Pearl of the Orient, Penang is famous for its soft sandy beaches and is fondly regarded as the food capital of Malaysia.
Some of the most interesting sites of Penang include the sandy beaches of Tanjung Bungah, the landscape from the summit of Penang Hill and the vipers in the Snake Temple. The quaint nooks and crannies of Georgetown and the Tropical Spice Garden – the only spice garden in South East Asia – as well as Penang’s many flea markets, pasar malams’, Komtar and modern shopping malls also merit a visit.
PENANG: THE PERFECT PLACE FOR THE MANUFACTURING SECTOR
The economy of Penang is diversified and does not depend on a single sector. Penang takes up the third position after Selangor and Johor among the states of Malaysia. Its excellent infrastructure and transportation facilities make Penang the perfect place for the manufacturing sector with a variety of companies and industries located in the southern part of the island.
Apart from the manufacturing sector, tourism, finance, agriculture and shipping sectors also contribute in enhancing the economy of the state. The Penang Development Corporation, PDC, helps to plan, implement and promote most of the development projects on the behalf of the state government of Penang and the PDC functions as an investment section of the Penang State government.
Considering the highly industrialized nature and limited land size, the agriculture sector contributes to the local economy through the export of cocoa, oil palm and crops of rubber along with fruits, vegetables and livestock. Emerging industries include aquaculture, fisheries and floriculture. Although small scale at present time, the government hopes that these industries will evolve and play a role in increasing and diversifying the economy of Penang in the future.