BUTTERWORTH: Penang’s mainland Seberang Perai was declared a city today, making it the country’s largest city council covering 747sq km.
Governor Abdul Rahman Abbas made the proclamation at a ceremony at the Dewan Milenium in Kepala Batas following royal assent from the Yang di-Pertuan Agong recently.
Rozali Mohamud, who was president of the municipal council, was proclaimed the mayor and presented with his mayoral chain of office and mace by the governor.
Seberang Perai is a geographical term used to describe the combination of three towns on the mainland – Butterworth, Bukit Mertajam and Nibong Tebal.
It joins 13 other recognised cities in the country – Kuala Lumpur, Ipoh, Petaling Jaya, Shah Alam, Alor Setar, Johor Bahru, Melaka, Kuala Terengganu, Kota Kinabalu, Miri, Kuching North, Kuching South and Penang Island.
Seberang Perai’s path to city status began in July 2018 after it fulfilled the criteria of having a population of more than 500,000 and revenue of RM100 million.
Its current population is 946,200, according to Seberang Perai City Council (MBSP).
The federal Cabinet gave its nod to the city status application by the Penang government in May. Penang Island had received city status in 2015.
Today’s proclamation comes as a proud moment for Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow and executive councillor Jagdeep Singh Deo, who had worked for city status for Seberang Perai for a long time.
Rozali told reporters there was “good news” in store for the people of Seberang Perai with 18 new plans drawn up for the city.
He said the long-term goal was to turn Seberang Perai into a low-carbon city by 2022 – reducing eight tonnes of carbon dioxide by then – and being carbon neutral by 2030 and attaining “zero carbon” status by 2050.
“It is a world vision and we are trying to achieve this goal in our programme to battle climate change.
“A zero-carbon city means there will be fewer vehicles on the road, with cars used mainly for long-distance trips, and switching to bicycles for most journeys,” he said.
Rozali, a surveyor by training, joined the Valuation and Property Services Department of the finance ministry in 1982.
He became an assistant director of the Seberang Perai Municipal Council’s valuation department in 1990 and headed the department in 2002. He was made council secretary in 2011 and municipal president in 2017.