Penang’s Villages in Numbers

By Yeong Pey Jung, Ong Wooi Leng

main image

VILLAGES IN Malaysia are classified into eight groups: Arranged villages, planned villages, new villages, traditional villages, fishing villages, floating villages, indigenous villages and housing estates.

Figures from 2020 show that Penang’s largest village type are traditional villages. These cover about 8,000 hectares, more than those found in Johor, Melaka, Negeri Sembilan, Perlis and Selangor (Table 1). At the same time, Penang’s floating villages are among the smallest where territory covered is concerned, and they take up only about 13 hectares. The clan jetties located in George Town make up most of these.

Penang has 14 new villages or kampung baru, all of which are located on the mainland (Table 2). Seberang Perai Selatan is home to the largest number of new villages (seven), followed by Seberang Perai Tengah (six) and Seberang Perai Utara (one). By parliamentary area, Nibong Tebal has the most number of new villages, with five located under the constituencies of Jawi, Sungai Bakap and Sungai Acheh.

Read also: Radio and Podcasts in Numbers

Table 3 shows the number of Jawatankuasa Kemajuan dan Kemakmuran Kampung (JKKK) and Jawatankuasa Kemajuan dan Kemakmuran Kampung Persekutuan (JKKKP) across the Malaysian states.  As observed, the housing estates in Kelantan, Penang and Selangor are under the supervision of JKKKP. Penang has the second largest JKKKPs after Kelantan, accounting for 548 JKKKPs in April 2018. Despite having a larger population, however, Selangor has the smallest representation of JKKKPs, after Kelantan and Penang.

Some of the villages in Penang have been developed into homestays for participation in the eco-tourism industry. Figure 1 shows that registered homestays in Penang constitute 4.9% of Malaysia’s total homestays, the majority of which are concentrated in East Malaysia, with Sarawak having the highest number of homestays at 20.6%, followed by Sabah at 14.3%.

Between 2016 and 2020, the number of homestays in Penang remained stagnant, although 2021 saw an addition of 12 homestay operators. There are no homestays situated in Timur Laut, but this is only to be expected as the district is a highly urbanised area (Table 4). Seberang Perai Selatan houses the biggest percentage of homestays at 36.4%, or four homestays. A similar trend is observed pertaining to the number of villages involved (50%) and the number of operators (44.7%), in addition to maintaining the biggest proportion of rooms (40.9%).

Barat Daya comes in second with three homestays (27.3%), involving eight villages (28.6%), 56 operators (22.8%) and providing 57 rooms (20.4%). Seberang Perai Tengah and Seberang Perai Utara have two homestays each, although the former involves a greater number of villages, operators and rooms.

Penang’s homestays enjoyed a growth rate of 13.5% in income in 2019 (total income RM455,113), after experiencing a negative growth rate of -38.6% the previous year (Figure 2). The Covid-19 pandemic in 2020 and the halt of tourism activity for most of that year further aggravated their revenue, causing a negative growth rate of -80.4%. Intermittent recovery of domestic tourism in 2021 saw a 130.8% increase in the income generated. However, the numbers have been nowhere near the levels of income gained before the pandemic, signifying that economic recovery for the homestay industry still has some way to go.

Yeong Pey Jung

is a senior analyst with the Socioeconomics and Statistics Programme at Penang Institute. She is a reading enthusiast and is surgically attached to her Kindle.

Ong Wooi Leng

heads the Socioeconomics and Statistics Programme at Penang Institute. Her work lies in labour market analysis and socio-economic development.