Seberang Perai, Penang, Malaysia

Economy | Manufacturing | Entrepôt trade | Agriculture | Services | Retail | Transport | Land | Public transportation | Sea | Retail | Private hospitals | Sports | Education | Tourist Industry

🇲🇾 Seberang Perai is a city in the Malaysian state of Penang. It is situated on the Malay Peninsula opposite Penang Island, bordering Kedah to the north and east and Perak to the south. Its city centre is located in Butterworth, while its local authority, the Seberang Perai City Council, is centred near Bukit Mertajam. It is the second most populous city in Malaysia.

Originally a part of Kedah, the territory containing the present-day city was ceded to the British East India Company in 1800. The British acquired Province Wellesley, as they subsequently named it, to provide more agricultural land and as a defensive bulwark against any cross-strait invasion of Penang Island from the mainland. Since then, it has become part of Penang, which was made a British crown colony in 1867.

Seberang Perai has witnessed substantial economic development in the decades after Malaya's independence. Massive industrial estates have been established within Seberang Perai, while the relocation of the Port of Penang's core operations to Butterworth in 1974 has also boosted the city's economy. Improvements in connectivity and transportation were facilitated by several major projects, such as the constructions of the North–South Expressway, the Penang Bridge and the Second Penang Bridge. Today, Seberang Perai forms part of Greater Penang, the second largest conurbation in Malaysia.

Economy While the economy of Seberang Perai has traditionally been driven by agriculture, since the mid-20th century, the city has become heavily industrialised. The first industrial estate was established in Mak Mandin, near Butterworth, in the 1950s under the leadership of the then Chief Minister of Penang, Wong Pow Nee. The relocation of the Port of Penang to Butterworth in 1974 and the completion of several expressways have also boosted the growth of manufacturing as one of the economic mainstays of Seberang Perai, by facilitating the ease of transportation of goods and services.

The resulting rapid urbanisation of Seberang Perai has fueled the city's housing market; in particular, the Central District has benefited the most in terms of newly built housing units due to its greater industrial activity and the location of the Penang Bridge's terminus within the said district.

In recent years, Batu Kawan, within the Southern District, has witnessed massive transformation, with an industrial park, an international technology hub and several other mixed-development projects being planned for the town.

Manufacturing The main industrial zones within Seberang Perai are located in Mak Mandin, Perai, Bukit Mertajam and Nibong Tebal. There has been a higher concentration of manufacturing activities within the Central District, which encompasses Perai and Bukit Mertajam, making it the most industrialised district within Seberang Perai.

In particular, several multinational corporations and Malaysian manufacturing giants, including Honeywell Aerospace, Sony, Mattel, Pensonic, Chevron and Malayawata Steel are based in Perai, due to its proximity to the Port of Penang. Smaller industries, such as foodstuff and textiles, are concentrated in inland areas like Mak Mandin and Nibong Tebal, while Bukit Tengah near Bukit Mertajam has a significant engineering industry that includes international names like Blaupunkt and Schlumberger.

The Batu Kawan Industrial Park is another upcoming manufacturing zone, attracting multinational companies such as VAT, Bose Corporation, Boston Scientific and Robert Bosch GmbH.

Entrepôt trade The Port of Penang was relocated from George Town to Butterworth in 1974, in order to expand its container and cargo services. To date, the Port of Penang operates six cargo and container terminals around Butterworth. This has led to the manufacturing boom in Seberang Perai, as the Port of Penang has facilitated the ease of export from the factories in Perai.

The Port of Penang handled more than 1.44 million TEUs of cargo in 2016, making it the third busiest seaport in Malaysia. The Port's strategic location allowed it to service not just northern Malaysia, but also southern Thailand.

Agriculture In terms of land usage, agriculture remains the dominant economic sector in Seberang Perai, with about 12,000 hectares (30,000 acres) of land being utilised for agricultural purposes in both the Northern and Southern districts. Seberang Perai has historically served as an agricultural rice bowl for Penang, as the inherent lack of land on Penang Island necessitated the choice of the mainland for plantations and paddy fields. In addition, Bukit Mertajam was once well known as a production centre for rubber, cloves and nutmegs.

However, within the State of Penang, the agricultural sector has been declining. This sector has contributed a mere 2.2% of Penang's GDP as of 2014, while only 2.7% of Penang's workforce was employed in agriculture-related occupations in the fourth quarter of that year.

Services Seberang Perai has also witnessed a growing services sector; while the city is not as well known as Penang Island as a tourist destination of choice, it does have a developing retail scene. Eco-tourism is another sub-sector that has been recently promoted within Seberang Perai, taking advantage of the mangrove forests.

More recently, Batu Kawan has emerged as a potential growth centre for technological services and the shared services out-sourcing sub-sector, with the Penang International Technology Park in the works.

Retail At the time of writing, among the major shopping malls within Seberang Perai are Megamal Pinang in Perai, Sunway Carnival Mall in Seberang Jaya and The Summit Bukit Mertajam Plaza in Bukit Mertajam. As of 2017, another shopping mall, GEM Mall in Butterworth, is under construction; it has been touted as the largest shopping mall in northern Malaysia.

In 2016, Design Village, Malaysia's largest outlet mall, was opened in Batu Kawan, offering various international fashion and accessory brands such as Gap, Pierre Cardin, Padini, Adidas and Levi's. Spanning a total area of 37,161 m² (400,000 sq ft), Design Village is also the first outlet mall in northern Malaysia.

Another famous component of Seberang Perai's retail sub-sector is Juru's Auto-City. An entertainment and retail precinct in Juru, it not only contains several automobile showrooms, but also a varied assortment of retail outlets, eateries and other services. Some of the international names at Juru Auto-City include Audi, Ferrari, Fiat, Porsche, Nando's, Starbucks, Secret Recipe and Subway.

In 2016, IKEA, the world's largest furniture retailer, announced that it will open a store in Batu Kawan by 2018, making it the first IKEA outlet in northern Malaysia.

Transport Since the latter half of the 20th century, several infrastructural projects have been completed in Seberang Perai, boosting the city's connectivity with Penang Island, as well as the rest of Peninsular Malaysia. Seberang Perai is connected to Penang Island via a ferry service, the Penang Bridge and the Second Penang Bridge, the latter of which is the longest bridge in Southeast Asia. The feasibility of more cross-strait links are being explored at the time of writing.

Malaysia's North–South Expressway, part of Asian Highway 2, runs through Seberang Perai, as is Penang's sole section of inter-state rail track operated by the Malayan Railway.

Land The North-South Expressway is the main highway that runs across the more developed western Peninsular Malaysia; the expressway forms part of Asian Highway 2, as it is connected to Thailand's Phet Kasem Road at its northern end and the Singapore Causeway at its southern end. This expressway runs through Seberang Perai, thus connecting major areas, such as Butterworth, Seberang Jaya, Perai, Juru, Batu Kawan and Nibong Tebal, with other cities and towns along western Peninsular Malaysia, southern Thailand and Singapore.

Other major roads and expressways within Seberang Perai include the Butterworth Outer Ring Road (BORR) and the Butterworth–Seberang Jaya Toll Road. The BORR was constructed in the 2000s to alleviate traffic congestion along the North–South Expressway, providing drivers from Butterworth with an alternative route to Perai to the south. The Prai River Bridge was also built for this purpose, traversing the Perai River that separates Butterworth and Perai. In addition, the BORR is linked to the Butterworth–Seberang Jaya Toll Road, which was completed in 2007.

Aside from roads and expressways, rail transportation has historically played a vital role in Seberang Perai's economy. The first railway tracks were laid in the 1900s, connecting the area with the rest of Malaya for the first time, and facilitating the transportation of agricultural and mining commodities for export via the Port of Penang. Today, about 34.9 km (21.7 mi) of rail track stretches within Seberang Perai as part of the Malayan Railway's West Coast Route. Out of the six train stations in Seberang Perai, the two major stations are in Butterworth and Bukit Mertajam, with the former offering services by both the Malayan Railway and the State Railway of Thailand; the Butterworth rail station is also one of the major stops of the Eastern and Oriental Express between Bangkok and Singapore. Domestically, the Malayan Railway runs the inter-state Electric Train Service along much of its West Coast Route, allowing train commuters from Penang to travel to Kuala Lumpur in as little as four hours.

The two bridges that connect Seberang Perai with Penang Island are the Penang Bridge and the Second Penang Bridge. The Penang Bridge links Perai and Gelugor, a southern suburb of Penang's capital city, George Town, and was completed in 1985. At the time of its opening, the bridge was the longest in Southeast Asia. In 2013, it was superseded by the 24 km (15 mi)-long Second Penang Bridge to the south, which runs between Batu Kawan and Batu Maung near the south-eastern tip of Penang Island.

A major transportation hub, Penang Sentral, is being constructed in Butterworth, and the first phase of the project, which consists of an intercity bus terminal, is slated for completion in 2017. Penang Sentral is strategically located next to the Sultan Abdul Halim Ferry Terminal and the Butterworth rail station. Overall, there are eight phases of the Penang Sentral project, which aims to integrate all bus, rail and ferry services under a single mixed complex that will also incorporate commercial, residential and retail elements, akin to Kuala Lumpur Sentral.

Public transportation The ground public transportation needs within Seberang Perai are currently being met by Rapid Penang, the primary public transit bus brand in Penang. At the time of writing, Rapid Penang operates 19 public transit routes within Seberang Perai, three cross-strait BEST shuttle bus services towards Penang Island, and four interstate routes towards neighbouring Kedah and Perak. Most public transit bus routes originate and terminate in Butterworth, linking it with other towns such as Perai, Bukit Mertajam, Nibong Tebal and Simpang Ampat, while other routes operate specifically within each of the three districts of Seberang Perai.

Other than Rapid Penang, the only other public transit bus operator is Cityliner, which handles a handful of routes within Seberang Perai as well.

Sea Currently the most vital harbour within northern Malaysia and one of the largest in the country, the Port of Penang now operates the following facilities around Butterworth. • North Butterworth Container Terminal • Butterworth Wharves • Prai Wharves • Vegetable oil tanker pier • Bagan Dalam Dockyard • Prai Bulk Cargo Terminal The Port of Penang handled more than 1.44 million TEU of cargo in 2010, the third largest cargo volume amongst seaports in Malaysia. The Port's strategic location enabled it to serve not just northern Malaysia, but also southern Thailand.

Rapid Ferry, which links Butterworth and George Town, has been managed by Prasarana Malaysia since 2017. This cross-strait shuttle ferry service commenced operations in 1894, making it the oldest surviving ferry service in Malaysia. At present, six ferries ply the Penang Strait between the Sultan Abdul Halim Ferry Terminal in Butterworth and George Town daily.

Retail • AEON Mall Bukit Mertajam • AEON BiG Seberang Jaya • AEON BiG Bukit Minyak • Aspen Vision City • Sunway Carnival Mall • Megamal Pinang, Prai • Pearl City Mall • Design Village Outlet Mall • IKEA Batu Kawan, Penang • Tesco Extra Seberang Perai • Tesco Bukit Mertajam • Tesco Kepala Batas • Tesco Bagan Ajam • Summit Bukit Mertajam Plaza • Billion Kota Permai • Billion Seberang Jaya • Econsave Jawi • Econsave Butterworth • Econsave Chain Ferry.

Private hospitals • KPJ Penang Specialist Hospital • Bagan Specialist Centre

Sports • Batu Kawan Stadium • Penang Golf Resort • Jalan Betek MBSP Stadium

Education There are several higher learning institutions located in Seberang Perai but the most prominent are Universiti Sains Malaysia Engineering Campus located in Nibong Tebal; Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM) with branches in Penang and Bertam; and Politeknik Seberang Perai (PSP). Both are situated in the town of Permatang Pauh.

Tourist Industry Penang Bird Park in Seberang Jaya boasts a collection of over 300 species of birds with enormous walk-in aviaries and is the first and largest bird park of its kind in Malaysia. Popular among bird enthusiasts, the park was built in a garden landscaping concept with natural ponds and a vast collection of flora and several other wildlife including mousedeer, giant alaipaima fish, phytons and monitor lizards.

A popular recreational park among locals and outsiders alike, the Bukit Mertajam Recreational Forest in Cherok Tok Kun, Bukit Mertajam is a tropical rain forest reserve sprawls over 37 hectares of hilly terrain including the Mertajam hill. The forest contains indigenous rain forest trees that could be over a hundred years old such as the Meranti Seraya (Shorea curtisii) and Meranti Rambai Daun (Shorea acuminate). For the adventurous hikers, there are numerous jungle trail branching out towards the peak and also accessible by jeep and cycling. Other activities include picnicking, swimming by the waterfall and camping.

A small village of Mengkuang Titi provides homestay programmes for foreign tourists which is the opportunity to live with the local Malay family while experiencing Malay culture and the laid-back lifestyle of rural living. Among the activities during the programme were fruit picking in the orchard, visiting a handicraft centre, Mengkuang-mat-weaving demonstration, a trip cottage industry factories (Malaysian Muffins), bedak sejuk (traditional beauty powder made from rice flour) and soy bean products), visiting the Mengkuang Dam vicinity and the Air Itam Dalam mangrove reserve, a cultural performance, a stroll through a rubber plantation and an oil palm plantation.

Bukit Tambun, a small tranquil fishing village located in the South Seberang Perai district, remains a seafood heaven for local and foreign tourists alike. It consists of seafood restaurants dotting along the river mouth with the dining area hovering over the water, serving local delicacies which are fresh daily catch from the sea.

Pulau Aman is an island off-coast of Bukit Tambun located at the south-east of Penang island. It consists of a quaint Malay fishing village. The island is accessible to the public via ferry boat from the Batu Musang jetty in Batu Kawan. There is an old well, Telaga Emas (Golden Well) located right next to the sea.

One of the highlights in the town of Nibong Tebal include the firefly watching along the river of Sungai Krian. This can be done late in the evening by boat as visitors can have the opportunity to enjoy the dazzling display of fireflies in the mangrove swamp.

In fact one of the major events in Seberang Perai is the St. Anne's Novena and Feast which is held end of July annually at the St. Anne's Church, Bukit Mertajam which attract nearly over 100,000 pilgrims from all over the country and as far as neighbouring countries such as the Philippines, Russia, Singapore and Australia.

Recently, the North Seberang Perai Local Plan 2020 Draft have developed several heritage trails, namely the Archeo-Tourism Trail, Heritage Trail and Beach Recreation Trail. The Archeo-Tourism Trail would cover an old fort at Kota Kuala Muda, an archaeology complex in Sungai Emas, the Langkasuka ruins in Kota Aur, an early archaeology site in Guar Kepah, a candi (temple) in Permatang Pasir, the Merdeka Bridge-cum-fort in Bumbung Lima and a border cornerstone in Ekor Kucing. Besides that, The Heritage Trail would commence from the Butterworth railway station through the Sultan Abdul Halim ferry terminal, a traditional blacksmith shop in Permatang Benuan, the Capal Jago chapal maker's shop in Kepala Batas and terminates at the whispering market in the Kuala Muda fishing village. Aside from that, the Beach Recreation Trail would cover the Pantai Bersih beach, Bagan Ajam beach, Pantai Teluk Molek (Robina Park) beach, Teluk Air Tawar recreation park, Kuala Bekah beach, Pantai Penaga, Sungai Muda sanctuary park, Pantai Kamloon recreation park, Bertam Vision Park, Padang Cempedak recreation park and Air Hitam Dalam recreation park.

Furthermore, the Central Seberang Perai Local Plan 2020 draft would include the upgrade of the Penang Bird Park, the Seberang Jaya Expo, proposals of rural homestay project in Sama Gagah, Pematang Pasir and Kubang Semang, promoting education-based tourism with MICE facilities in Prai and eco-tourism in Mengkuang Dam and Cherok Tok Kun.

George Town, Penang 
George Town, Penang
Image: Semi-auto

Seberang Perai has a population of over 946,092 people. Seberang Perai also forms part of the wider Penang State which has a population of over 1,783,000 people.

To set up a UBI Lab for Seberang Perai see: Twitter:

Twin Towns - Sister Cities Seberang Perai has links with:

🇰🇷 Gwangju, South Korea
Text Atribution: Wikipedia Text under CC-BY-SA license

Antipodal to Seberang Perai is: -79.533,-5.4

Locations Near: Seberang Perai 100.467,5.4

🇲🇾 Penang 100.457,5.354 d: 5.2  

🇲🇾 Kulim 100.583,5.333 d: 14.8  

🇲🇾 George Town 100.329,5.416 d: 15.4  

🇲🇾 Kampung Sungai Ara 100.267,5.317 d: 24  

🇲🇾 Penang Island 100.251,5.384 d: 24  

🇲🇾 Bayan Lepas 100.267,5.283 d: 25.7  

🇲🇾 Sungai Petani 100.491,5.641 d: 26.9  

🇲🇾 Alor Setar 100.659,5.924 d: 62.1  

🇲🇾 Jitra 100.435,6.129 d: 81.1  

🇲🇾 Ipoh 101.077,4.599 d: 111.8  

Antipodal to: Seberang Perai -79.533,-5.4

🇵🇪 Chiclayo -79.844,-6.764 d: 19859.6  

🇪🇨 Loja -79.2,-3.983 d: 19853.3  

🇵🇪 Chachapoyas -77.873,-6.229 d: 19809.6  

🇵🇪 Cajamarca -78.517,-7.157 d: 19789.8  

🇪🇨 Machala -79.967,-3.267 d: 19773  

🇪🇨 Cuenca -78.983,-2.883 d: 19728.7  

🇵🇪 Trujillo -79.034,-8.103 d: 19709.5  

🇪🇨 Durán -79.817,-2.167 d: 19654.2  

🇪🇨 Guayaquil -79.901,-2.166 d: 19653.2  

🇪🇨 San Francisco de Milagro -79.594,-2.129 d: 19651.3  

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