GEORGE TOWN, Sept 10 — Seberang Perai will finally be declared a city this September 16, more than a year after the state government took the first steps to apply for the status.
State local government, housing and town and country planning committee chairman Jagdeep Singh Deo said the state is now waiting for Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah to approve and sign the city declaration.
“The state exco has on June 19 decided to fix September 16 as the date to declare the Seberang Perai Municipal Council (MPSP) as a Seberang Perai City Council,” he said.
He said the city declaration letter for MPSP was already submitted to the Istana Negara by the Housing and Local Government Ministry.
With the declaration, both local authorities in Penang would be city councils.
Jagdeep said he had instructed MPSP President Datuk Rozali Mohamud to prepare a roadmap for the management of MPSP after it is upgraded to city status.
The Penang Island City Council (MBPP) obtained city status in 2015 and soon after, MPSP implemented several initiatives to achieve the same.
To be classed as a city, a municipality must meet prerequisites such as having over 500,000 residents; a revenue of more than RM100 million each year; and contain facilities such as industrial estates, educational institutions, medical facilities, financial institutions and amenities to attract investors to the state and development that focuses on sustainable development.
Jagdeep said MPSP has met all the criteria and had on February 22 last year approved a proposal to apply for upgrading MPSP to Seberang Perai City Council, A Low Carbon City.
“The state exco approved the proposal on November 7 last year and the state submitted an application to the ministry on December 31 last year,” he said.
He said the proposal to upgrade MPSP to city status hit a snag early last year as the ministry under the previous administration had told the state that each state could only have one city council.
“I did not agree with that so after the change in government, I spoke with the new minister in November last year and she said there were no such laws that limit each state to having only one city council,” he said.
The Local Government and Housing Ministry approved the application to upgrade the MPSP to city status on May 8 this year and informed the state government of it through a letter dated May 16.
Jagdeep said Rozali will also be appointed as the mayor on the same day the MPSP was declared as the Seberang Perai City Council (MBSP).
Rozali said the declaration of Seberang Perai as a city is an important milestone for the state.
He said they have prepared 18 programmes in line with the city status declaration.