Seberang Perai is divided into three districts: Seberang Perai North (SPU), Seberang Perai Central (SPT) and Seberang Perai South (SPS). It constitutes three quarters of Penang’s land mass and houses half of the state’s population, and has witnessed substantial development in the industrial estates, primary sectors and service industry in recent years. Penang Port, one of the busiest seaports in Malaysia, is also located in Seberang Perai.
According to the Department of Statistics Malaysia (DOSM), Seberang Perai has a total of 946,100 residents, comprising about 49% of the total population in Penang. SPT has the largest share of population in Seberang Perai, registering about 45%. This is followed by SPU (35.1%) and SPS (20.2%).
Male residents slightly outnumber females by 2.6% (Table 1). Bumiputeras comprise the major ethnicity in each district, with SPU having the largest proportion of Bumiputeras at about 60%. The proportion of Chinese residents in Seberang Perai is also quite significant, making up about one-third of the population in each district except in SPU (Table 2).
The majority of banks, fire stations, hospitality services, medical facilities, postal services, shopping areas and petrol stations are located within SPT, coinciding with the size of its population.
There are a total of 67,613 economic establishments in Penang. Seberang Perai houses 47% of the state’s total establishments, with SPT housing the second-highest number of establishments in Penang at 23.5%, followed by SPU (16%) (Figure 1). In terms of economic sectors, the services sector represents 85% of total establishments in Seberang Perai, with establishments in the manufacturing sector encompassing 8.8%, followed by the construction, agriculture, and mining and quarrying sectors (Table 5).
Although manufacturing activities comprise less than 10% of the total establishments in Penang, its average gross output has the highest value among the economic sectors. In 2016 manufacturing activities chalked an average of RM37mil worth of gross output per establishment compared to only RM0.76mil generated by the services activities, which has the largest number of premises in Penang (Table 6).
The bulk of Penang’s agriculture establishments are located in Seberang Perai (78%). In addition, more than half of the manufacturing, construction, and mining and quarrying establishments are also located on the mainland (Table 5). In terms of gross output, SPT’s manufacturing sector contributed the largest total gross output value to Penang’s economy, with SPT being the highest contributor at 32.6%, surpassing the north-east district’s contribution of 27.5% (Table 7).
Among the three districts in Seberang Perai, SPS seems to be least developed. Although it has the second-largest land mass at 242km2, it has the least amount of economic establishments, and residential and public facilities (except for police stations) compared to SPT and SPU. That being said, numerous residential, commercial and industrial projects are being undertaken to develop SPS, including the establishments of IKEA and KDU University College in Batu Kawan. Therefore, more manufacturing and services-oriented establishments are expected to blossom over the next few years, and these projects will boost the gross output and the economic development of the state.