List of cities in Malaysia

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This is a list of cities of Malaysia. In Malaysia, there are populated areas which are granted city status by law (bandar raya). However, there are also highly urbanised and populated areas which does not have city status, but are sometimes colloquially also referred to as cities. City status is granted to a place within a local government area. Other populated areas which does not have city status are legally categorised as a municipality or town.

Cities of Malaysia[edit]

The following is a list of places in Malaysia in order by the date they were granted city status.


George Town became a city on 1 January 1957 by a royal charter granted by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, becoming the first town in the Federation of Malaya to become a city (Singapore became a city in 1951). However, local government elections were abolished by the federal government in 1965, and the functions of the City Council were transferred to the Chief Minister of Penang in 1966. A Municipal Council for the whole of Penang island was set up in 1974-6.

Although the city status of George Town was never officially revoked, George Town's existence as a corporate entity was in doubt, let alone as a city. This is similar to the position of the former city of Rochester in England, the site of England's second-oldest cathedral, which had been a city from 1211 until 1998, when it was merged with a neighbouring borough. As the new council was not granted city status, and the city through oversight failed to appoint charter trustees to inherit the city charter, the city ceased to exist.

This view was disagreed with by most local residents, who held that as George Town's city status has never been revoked, it remains a city to this day. As city status is a matter of law, the actual legal position will depend on an analysis of the City Council of Penang (Transfer of Functions) Order 1966 and the Local Government Act 1976.

On 1 January 2015, Penang island, on which George Town is located, was awarded city status by the Malaysian government.[1] Thus, George Town is the only city in Malaysia to have been conferred city status twice.

Subsequent cities[edit]

Kuala Lumpur, Kuching, Kota Kinabalu, Shah Alam, Malacca City, Alor Setar and Miri's royal charters were from the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, while Ipoh and Johor Bahru were granted by their respective state sultans. Malacca was declared a "historical city" prior to being granted city status in 2003.

Kuala Lumpur, the largest city, is the federal capital and a federal territory, but as of 2003, most government executive bodies are moving to the new administrative capital and federal territory of Putrajaya.


Among the latest (2008) basic criteria for granting City status on a local government is that it has a minimum population of 500,000 and an annual income of not less than RM 100 million.[2]


Kuala Lumpur is by far the largest urban area as well as the largest metropolitan area in Malaysia. Penang is the second largest city and urban area in Malaysia as well as second largest metropolitan in Malaysia while Johor Bahru is the third largest metropolitan in Malaysia. Other major cities with a population of more than 500,000 include Ipoh, Kajang, Kuching, and Kota Kinabalu. The following table shows the largest populated area within a local government area.

Largest cities of Malaysia (2010)[3]

Kuala lumpur skyscrapers.jpg
Kuala Lumpur
Johor Bahru City.jpg
Johor Bahru

Rank City State Population

Ipoh, Perak.jpg
Shah Alam Lake Gardens, Selangor.jpg
Shah Alam

1 Kuala Lumpur Federal Territory 1,475,337
2 Johor Bahru  Johor 916,409
2 Alor Setar  Kedah 1,916,409
2 Kangar  Perlis 316,409
3 Ipoh  Perak 704,572
4 Shah Alam  Selangor 671,282
5 Petaling Jaya  Selangor 638,516
6 Kuching  Sarawak 617,887
7 George Town  Penang 510,996
8 Kota Bharu  Kelantan 491,237
9 Kota Kinabalu  Sabah 462,963
10 Kuala Terengganu  Terengganu 343,284
11 Malacca City  Malacca 331,790

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Looi Sue-Chern (24 March 2015). "George Town a city again". The Malaysian Insider. Retrieved 10 July 2015. 
  2. ^ "Criteria Status for Local Authority". Local Government Department. 30 June 2011. Archived from the original on 15 July 2015. Retrieved 24 April 2012. 
  3. ^ "List of cities, Malaysia (2010)" (PDF). Department of Statistics, Malaysia. p. 17. Archived from the original (PDF) on 6 October 2014. Retrieved 28 November 2013. 

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