Penang Island (Malay: Pulau Pinang; Chinese: 檳榔嶼 Tamil:பினாங்கு தீவு) is part of the state of Penang, on the west coat of Peninsular Malaysia
. It was named Prince of Wales
Island when it was occupied by the British East India
Company on 12 August 1786, in honour of the birthday of the Prince of Wales, later King George IV. The capital, George Town
, was named after the reigning King George III.
Malaysia has another island called "Pulau Pinang", which is a diving site located in South China
Sea and part of the Johor Marine Park, which consists of a group of islands: Pulau Aur, Pulau Dayang, Pulau Lang, and Pulau Pinang itself.
Penang was originally part of the Malay Sultanate of Kedah. On 11 August 1786, Captain Francis Light of the British East India Company landed in Penang and renamed it Prince of Wales Island in honour of heir to the British throne. Light then received it as a portion on his marriage to the daughter of the Sultan of Kedah. Light ceded Penang to the Government of India and promised the Sultan military protection from Siamese and Burmese armies who were threatening Kedah. Light is now credited as the founder of Penang.
With an area of 295 km sq (114 sq mi), Penang Island is the fourth-largest island wholly in Malaysia, after Banggi Island, Bruit Island and Langkawi Island. It is also the most populated island in the country with an estimated population of 678,000. The island is connected with the mainland by the Penang Bridge. The bridge begins at Gelugor on the island and ends in Perai
on the mainland. The mainland portion of the Penang state is known as Seberang Perai (Province Wellesley), and together with Penang Island and other smaller islands, form the state of Penang.
The local authority on the island is the Municipal Council of Penang Island (Majlis Perbandaran Pulau Pinang). Local councillors have been appointed by the state government since local elections were abolished in Malaysia in the 1960s. Both municipal councils are made up of a president, a municipal secretary and 24 councillors. The president is appointed by the State Government for two-year terms of office while the councillors are appointed for one-year terms of office. Penang Island is divided into 2 administrative districts.