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City of Penang Island

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City of Penang IslandCity of Penang Island (6 February, 2013)

The City of Penang Island is a city that was proclaimed on 10 March, 2015. The proclamation backdates the city status to 1 January, 2015. It encompasses Penang Island and its off-shore isles, but does not include Penang Mainland.

The local authority of the City of Penang Island is the Penang Island City Council (Majlis Bandaraya Pulau Pinang, MBPP), which takes over from the Municipal Council of Penang Island (Majlis Perbandaran Pulau Pinang, MPPP). With the declaration, the President of MPPP, Datuk Patahiyah Ismail, will also be appointed to the status of mayor of the City of Penang Island.

The creation of the City of Penang Island should not be regarded as the expansion of the city status of George Town, as that city status is no longer presently in effect. Although George Town was granted city status on 1 January, 1957, by Queen Elizabeth II, the status was gradually eroded with the suspension of local elections in 1965 and the transfer of the City Council to the Chief Minister of Penang in 1966. Then in 1974, George Town lost its city status when the Local Government Management Board (Lembaga Pengurus Kerajaan Tempatan) was established to administer George Town and the rest of Penang Island, merging the roles of George Town City Council and Penang Rural District Council. And finally in 1976, the Local Government Management Board was renamed the Municipal Council of Penang Island.

The loss of George Town's city status has been a sore point for many Penangites, though it is more a matter of pride than anything else. Talks of reinstating George Town's city status began in 2001, during the administration of Chief Minister Koh Tsu Koon, where discussions and negotiations where held, but a formal application was only submitted under the administrator of Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng in 2010. The 2010 application sought city status to encompass the entire Penang Island.

On 7 November, 2014 the Cabinet approved the submitted application. A formal ceremony to swear in the mayor of the City of Penang Island will be held at Sri Mutiara on 31 March, 2015.

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