George Town – From city to municipality to culture centre


George Town became a city on January 1, 1957. The timing was not by accident. In fact it was an event to herald the approach of sovereignty for the 11 states of Malaya exactly eight months later that year.

George Town thus had the honour of becoming Malaya’s first city. It remained the country’s only city until 1972, when KL, on being separated from Selangor and becoming a Federal Territory, also gained city status. Most importantly, the first popular elections were held in Penang on December 31, 1951, just over a month after the first local elections in modern times had been held in Malacca. Democracy was off to a good start. As we know, the municipal elections in KL on February 16, 1952 would see the birth and success of the Alliance. The consociationalist system born out of ...

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