Butterworth, Penang

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Butterworth
Town
Other transcription(s)
 • Malay Bagan
 • Chinese 北海
 • Tamil பட்டர்வொர்த்
Butterworth, Penang.jpg
Flag of Butterworth
Flag
Official seal of Butterworth
Seal
Butterworth is located in Penang
Butterworth
Butterworth
Butterworth is located in Peninsular Malaysia
Butterworth
Butterworth
Coordinates: 5°23′38.4354″N 100°21′59.1372″E / 5.394009833°N 100.366427000°E / 5.394009833; 100.366427000Coordinates: 5°23′38.4354″N 100°21′59.1372″E / 5.394009833°N 100.366427000°E / 5.394009833; 100.366427000
Country  Malaysia
State  Penang
District North Seberang Perai
Government
 • Local government Seberang Perai Municipal Council
 • President of Seberang Perai Rozali Mohamud
 • Bagan Dalam State Assemblyman Satees Muniandy (DAP)
 • Bagan Member of Parliament Lim Guan Eng (DAP)
Elevation 8 m (26 ft)
Population (2010[1])
 • Total 71,643
Time zone MST (UTC+8)
 • Summer (DST) Not observed (UTC)
Postal code 120xx to 134xx
Area code(s) +6043
Website mpsp.gov.my

Butterworth, within the North Seberang Perai District, is the largest town in Seberang Perai, the mainland half of the Malaysian state of Penang. It lies approximately 3 km (1.9 mi) east of George Town, the capital city of Penang, across the Penang Strait.[2] As of 2010, Butterworth contained a total of 71,643 residents.[1]

Butterworth was named after a Governor of the Straits Settlements in the mid-19th century. The town came into being as a transportation hub, due to its proximity to George Town. While the British East India Company initially obtained Seberang Perai (then named Province Wellesley) for agricultural purposes, Butterworth has also witnessed massive industrialisation during the latter half of the 20th century.[3][4] In 1974, the Port of Penang was relocated into the town.[5]

Currently, Rapid Ferry is the main transportation link between Butterworth and George Town. The Port of Penang handled 1.52 million TEUs of cargo as of 2017, making it one of the busiest seaports in Malaysia.[6] In addition, the Butterworth railway station, situated adjacent to the town's ferry terminal, is a major Malayan Railway station, with train services operated by both the Malayan Railway and the State Railway of Thailand.

Butterworth is also home to RMAF Butterworth, a British-built facility which now functions as a major Royal Malaysian Air Force base.

Etymology

The town of Butterworth was named after William John Butterworth, who became the Governor of the Straits Settlements between 1843 and 1855.[7]

History

Historical Affiliations Period
Kedah Sultanate 1136–1821
Siam 1821–1831
British East India Company 1831–1867
Straits Settlements Straits Settlements 1831–1941; 1945–1946
Empire of Japan Empire of Japan 1941–1945
Malayan Union Malayan Union 1946–1948
Federation of Malaya Federation of Malaya 1948–1963
Malaysia Malaysia 1963–Present

A fishing village named Bagan had existed prior to the acquisition of the area by the British East India Company.[8] The town of Butterworth only came into being in the mid-19th century and was concurrently named after the then Governor of the Straits Settlements, William John Butterworth.[7][8]

Butterworth was developed as a mainland counterpart to the bustling entrepôt of George Town on Penang Island, directly across the Penang Strait.[8] During the latter half of the 19th century, Butterworth grew into a major transportation hub. Passengers and goods were transported across the strait by sampans, and in 1894, the first cross-strait ferry service between Butterworth and George Town was introduced.[9] By 1900, a nascent railway line running the length of British Malaya was extended to Butterworth.[10][11] These developments allowed tin to be transported more efficiently to Butterworth, which functioned as a transit point whereby the tin would then be shipped to George Town for smelting and export.[12]

As with the rest of Penang, Butterworth was occupied by the Japanese between December 1941 and September 1945. During the early days of the Japanese invasion of Malaya, the Royal Air Force and the Royal Australian Air Force units stationed at RAF Butterworth struggled to counter Japanese air raids over Penang and took heavy casualties. These Allied units had to withdraw southwards by 15 December, while RAF Butterworth was seized by the Imperial Japanese 25th Army on 20 December.[13]

After Malaya's independence in 1957, as part of an effort to advocate import substitution industries in the 1960s, the Alliance-led Penang state government, led by the then Chief Minister Wong Pow Nee, developed Mak Mandin as the first industrial estate in Penang.[14] The Mak Mandin Industrial Estate was founded in 1961.[15] In 1974, the Port of Penang was relocated from George Town to Butterworth, substantially boosting the town's economy.[5]

The Butterworth Town Council had been established in 1953.[16] However, the town council was amalgamated with the Seberang Perai North Rural District Council in 1962. The local governments in Seberang Perai were eventually merged and upgraded into the Seberang Perai Municipal Council in 1976.

Towards the end of the 20th century, Butterworth underwent a period of decline. The town suffered significantly due to administrative decentralisation.[12][16] The North Seberang Perai District Office, along with the district's police headquarters and a government-run hospital, was moved out of the town.[16] By the time of the relocation of the Seberang Perai Municipal Council from Butterworth to Bukit Mertajam in 2006, the town's infrastructure had deteriorated extensively. In 1988, the passenger platform of the town's ferry terminal collapsed, costing 32 lives, while in 2001, a fire destroyed a three-storey bus station near the ferry terminal.

In recent years, more efforts have been undertaken to revive the town's fortunes. At present, the ongoing infrastructure projects within Butterworth include Penang Sentral, which is mooted as the main transportation hub within the State of Penang, and by extension, northern Malaysia. Plans to rejuvenate parts of the town centre through the promotion of arts and culture have also been implemented through public-private partnerships.[5][17]

Geography

The town centre of Butterworth as seen from the Penang Strait

The town of Butterworth lies at the southernmost tip of the North Seberang Perai District, between the Perai River to the south and the Penang Strait to the west. The Perai River forms a natural boundary between Butterworth and the neighbouring town of Perai, with the latter situated on the southern banks of the river. Both towns are connected via the Prai River Bridge, which spans the width of the Perai River.

Within the town of Butterworth are a number of neighbourhoods, such as Bagan Ajam, Bagan Dalam, Bagan Jermal, Bagan Luar and Teluk Air Tawar.[1][18] The industrial estate of Mak Mandin is situated within Butterworth as well.[15][18]

Demographics

Ethnic composition of Butterworth (2010)[1]
Ethnicities / Nationality Percentage
Chinese
52.72%
Malays
24.63%
Other Bumiputeras
0.43%
Indians
16.47%
Others
0.39%
Non-Malaysians
5.36%

According to the 2010 Census conducted by Malaysia's Department of Statistics, Butterworth had a population of 71,643, equivalent to nearly 8.8% of Seberang Perai's population.[1] This makes Butterworth the largest town by population within the municipality of Seberang Perai.

More than half of Butterworth's population consisted of ethnic Chinese, whilst the Malays and Indians formed significant minorities within the town.[1]

Economy

North Butterworth Container Terminal of the Port of Penang

The economy of Butterworth is primarily driven by its industries and the maritime trade at the Port of Penang. The Mak Mandin Industrial Estate forms the heart of Butterworth's manufacturing sector and is home to a number of major local firms, including Federal Oats Mills, Fujikura Federal Cables and Zenman Industries.[19][20][21] In addition, Butterworth has active steel and tin industries.[22] The former includes steel fabrication, and smaller businesses dealing with automotive parts and scrap metal.[23] The town's tin industry players include Malaysia Smelting Corporation, the world's second largest supplier of tin and a subsidiary of the Singapore-listed Straits Trading Company.[24]

Meanwhile, the Port of Penang is the third busiest seaport in Malaysia, handling 1.52 million TEUs of container in 2017.[6] The Port's strategic location enabled it to service not just northern Malaysia, but also southern Thailand.

Transportation

Butterworth is the main transportation hub within the State of Penang, due to its location by the Penang Strait and its close proximity to George Town on Penang Island.

Sea

View of the Port of Penang and George Town in the background.
A People's Liberation Army Navy destroyer, PLANS Changchun, in Butterworth. George Town can be seen to the far left.[25]

In 1974, the Port of Penang moved its cargo and container operations from George Town on Penang Island to Butterworth.[5] Currently the most important harbour within northern Malaysia, the Port of Penang now operates four facilities within Butterworth.[26]

  • North Butterworth Container Terminal
  • Butterworth Wharves
  • Vegetable oil tanker pier
  • Bagan Dalam Dockyard

Rapid Ferry is a shuttle ferry service that links Butterworth with George Town. The oldest ferry service in Malaysia commenced operations in 1894, and to this day, serves as a convenient mode of transportation across the Penang Strait for the residents of Butterworth.[27] At present, six ferries ply the Penang Strait between the Sultan Abdul Halim Ferry Terminal in Butterworth and George Town daily.[28]

Land

The Butterworth railway station is one of the major train stations in Peninsular Malaysia.

The Butterworth railway station is one of the major stations along the Malayan Railway's west coast route. As such, regular Malayan Railway services are available to other cities along western Peninsular Malaysia, including Ipoh, Kuala Lumpur, Malacca and Johor Bahru, as well as on to Woodlands in northern Singapore. Aside from these, the Butterworth railway station is also the terminus of the State Railway of Thailand's Southern Line (via Padang Besar) and the International Express from Bangkok. Notably, the train station is one of the main stops of the Eastern and Oriental Express service between Bangkok and Singapore as well.

In recent years, the Penang Sentral project has been underway at a site adjacent to both the Butterworth railway station and Sultan Abdul Halim Ferry Terminal. Mooted as the main transportation hub in the State of Penang and as Penang's answer to Kuala Lumpur Sentral, Penang Sentral is intended to serve as a termini for both public bus and longer-distance intercity bus services.[29]

Public bus services are provided by two firms - Rapid Penang and Cityliner. Due to Butterworth's importance as a transportation hub, most of the Rapid Penang's routes originate and terminate within the town. Rapid Penang's bus routes 601, 602, 603, 604, 605, 608, 701, 702, 703, 709 and 801 connect Butterworth with other towns within Seberang Perai, including Perai, Bukit Mertajam, Kepala Batas and Nibong Tebal, whilst the company's Intercity routes link Butterworth with Sungai Petani in Kedah and Parit Buntar in Perak.[30][31][32][33][34][35][36][37][38][39][40][41][42] Cityliner operates another six bus routes which link Butterworth with a handful of destinations in Seberang Perai, Kedah and Perak.[43]

Meanwhile, the Butterworth Outer Ring Road (BORR) was completed in 2005 in order to reduce traffic congestion along the North–South Expressway east of the town, as well as facilitating traffic dispersion within Butterworth itself. The BORR includes the Prai River Bridge, a cable-stayed bridge that links Butterworth and Perai to the south. Another major expressway within Butterworth is the Butterworth–Kulim Expressway, an interstate highway that connects Butterworth with Kulim in Kedah.

Education

Butterworth contains a total of 20 primary schools, nine high schools, a government-run vocational college and three private tertiary institutions.

Primary schools

  • SRK Assumption[44]
  • SRK Convent Butterworth[45]
  • SRK Bagan Ajam[46]
  • SRK Bagan Jermal[47]
  • SRK Bagan Tuan Kechil[48]
  • SRK Kuala Perai[49]
  • SRK Mak Mandin[50]
  • SRK Seri Gemilang[51]
  • SRK St Mark[52]
  • SRK Sungai Nyior[53]
  • SRK Sungai Puyu[54]
  • SRK Taman Senangan[55]
  • SRK Telok Ayer Tawar[56]
  • SRJK (C) Chung Hwa 1[57]
  • SRJK (C) CHung Hwa 2[58]
  • SRJK (C) Chung Hwa Pusat[59]
  • SRJK (C) Kwang Hua[60]
  • SRJK (C) Li Hwa[61]
  • SRJK (C) Mak Mandin[62]
  • SRJK (T) Mak Mandin[63]

High schools

  • SMK Kampong Kastam[66]
  • SMK Mak Mandin[67]
  • SMK Telok Ayer Tawar[68]

Vocational college

  • Butterworth Vocational College[71]

Private colleges

  • Penang International Dental College[72]
  • Golden Chef College of Culinary Arts[73]
  • Surya College[72]

Health care

Butterworth is served by one private hospital - the Bagan Specialist Centre. Established in 1988, the 150-bed hospital also contains nine operating theatres and offers, among others, orthopaedic and endocrinology treatments.[74][75]

Tourist attractions

Tow Boo Kong Temple at Jalan Raja Uda

The Sree Maha Mariamman Devasthanam Temple, at Bagan Luar, is the oldest Hindu temple in Butterworth.[76] Founded in 1853, the temple is dedicated to the Hindu deity, Mariamman, a goddess of rain.[8] Urban legend has it that the temple was built when a statue of Mariamman was found by the seaside.[8]

The Tow Boo Kong Temple is a Taoist temple which is dedicated to the Taoist principal deity of Doumu and the Nine Emperor Gods.[77][78] Built in stages between the 1970s and 2009, the temple at Jalan Raja Uda now serves as a focal point of the Nine Emperor Gods Festival, which occurs annually on the ninth day of the ninth lunar month in the Chinese calendar.[77]

As part of efforts to revive the fortunes of Butterworth, a number of alleys within the town centre have been decorated with wall murals, similar in style to the street art in George Town.[17] In addition, the Butterworth Fringe Festival, inaugurated in 2015 as a spin-off to the George Town Festival, is an annual arts festival held within the town centre every August.[5][79]

Military

A Royal Malaysian Air Force base - RMAF Butterworth - is located to the north of Butterworth proper. Completed by the British in 1941 just prior to the Japanese invasion of Malaya, the airbase served both the Royal Air Force and Royal Australian Air Force squadrons tasked with defending the airspace over Penang. However, the Japanese immediately gained air superiority, damaging the Butterworth air base in the process. The airbase was then captured by the Imperial Japanese 25th Army on 20 December 1941.[80]

During the post-war period, the Butterworth air base was put to use by the Royal Air Force, and subsequently, the Royal Australian Air Force, to combat the communist threat in Malaya at the time. The Australian squadrons based in Butterworth also saw action during the Indonesian Confrontation in the 1960s.

In 1988, the Butterworth airbase was handed over to the Royal Malaysian Air Force. Now renamed as RMAF Butterworth, the airbase also houses the headquarters of the Integrated Area Defence System that covers both Malaysia and Singapore under the Five Power Defence Arrangements.[81][82]

Neighbourhoods

The following neighbourhoods are situated within Butterworth.

See also

References

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External links

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