Jelutong (GPS: 5.38951, 100.31298), (Traditional/Simplified Chinese: 日落洞, Pinyin: Rìluòdòng, Penang Hokkien: Jit3lor3tong33) is a working-class suburb of George Town. It got its name from the Jelutong tree, Dyera costulata, a tall, hardwood tree that can reach a height of 70 meters, some times more, and a girth of 2-3 meters. However, it is no longer possible to find any jelutong growing in the namesake neighbourhood.
The development of Jelutong goes back to the turn of the 20th century, as the population spills southward from the city. Jalan Jelutong, the main thoroughfare through the area, developed from a dirt track into a paved road only in the early 20th century. It splits Jelutong into two parts. The seaward side, to the east of Jalan Jelutong, is East Jelutong, while the landward side west of Jalan Jelutong is West Jelutong.
Jelutong was regarded as a backwater for George Town. Until the early 1990's, the coastal areas along Jelutong was still mangrove swamp, and the primary occupation there was the making of charcoal. This has been gradually phased out, although at time of writing (September 2009), it is still possible to visit some of the charcoal makers in places such as Lebuh Bakau.
Jelutong Panorama (27 September 2009)
Jelutong, Penang (9 September, 2012)
In the 1970's, Jelutong was a working class neighbourhood notorious for gangsterism and thugs. Over the decades, the social problem has very much been eradicated with the gradual improvement of living standards. Since the mid 1980's, a number of high-rise apartments have been constructed in Jelutong to provide housing to the lower and middle income wage earners. The neighbourhood is predominantly Chinese in character, although there are pockets of Malay enclaves such as around Masjid Jamek Jelutong and Jalan Madrasah.
Jelutong is served by Rapid Penang Bus 11, 301, 302, 303, 401 and 704 pass through Jalan Jelutong.
Jalan Jelutong, through the pekan or village of Jelutong (22 September, 2012)
View of the Jelutong coast looking towards George Town (8 November, 2014)
The construction of Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu Expressway along the coast has moved the traffic passing through Jelutong out of the neighbourhood. Nevertheless there is still a bottleneck due to haphazard parking along the road near the Jelutong Market. That part of Jelutong experiences slow traffic throughout the day. The construction of new high rise residential properties in Jelutong is only expected to increase the traffic volume. On the bright side, Jelutong is strategically located. Despite the traffic congestion, the distance to the city is relatively short.
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