Jelutong, Penang

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Suburb of George Town
Other transcription(s)
 • Chinese 日落洞
 • Hokkien ji̍t lo̍h tōng
Karpal Singh Drive at the coast of Jelutong
Karpal Singh Drive at the coast of Jelutong
Jelutong is located in George Town, Penang
Coordinates: 5°23′42″N 100°18′37.8″E / 5.39500°N 100.310500°E / 5.39500; 100.310500Coordinates: 5°23′42″N 100°18′37.8″E / 5.39500°N 100.310500°E / 5.39500; 100.310500
Country  Malaysia
State  Penang
District Northeast Penang Island
 • Local Government Penang Island City Council
 • Mayor of Penang Island Patahiyah Ismail
 • State assemblywoman Lim Siew Khim (DAP)
 • Jelutong Member of Parliament Jeff Ooi Chuan Aun (DAP)
Time zone Malaysian Standard Time (UTC+8)
 • Summer (DST) Not observed (UTC)
Postal code 11600
This article is about a suburb of George Town. For the federal constituency represented in the Malaysian Parliament, see Jelutong (federal constituency). For other uses, see Jelutong (disambiguation).

Jelutong is a suburb of George Town in Penang, Malaysia.[1] Located south of the Pinang River, Jelutong has been inhabited since as early as the late 18th century, when traders from Aceh and India settled around the area.[2] It was once notorious as a turf for gangsters and triads until the 1980s, when urbanisation transformed the area into a residential suburb of George Town.

Cityscape of George Town, as seen from Jelutong.
The Pinang River separates George Town proper to the north and its suburb of Jelutong to the south.


Jelutong was named after the Jelutong tree, known scientifically as Dyera costulata.[3] It was believed that this species of trees was once abundant around the area now known as Jelutong.


Jelutong was already inhabited before the arrival of Captain Francis Light in 1786. Merchants from Aceh and India established resting places and villages along the mouth of Pinang River.[2][4]

In the mid-19th century, the then forested area was first cleared for agricultural purposes.[2] Factories were set up much later in Jelutong, as the urban population spilled southward from George Town proper. In spite of industrialisation, some fishing communities continued to exist up until recently and charcoal makers still make a living from the mangrove swamps along the coast.[1]

The growing population in Jelutong led to rampant crime and thugs roaming the streets.[1][2] It was only in the 1980s with a rise in the standards of living and urbanisation that Jelutong's criminal notoriety was eradicated.

It was in the Jelutong parliamentary constituency where Karpal Singh, a prominent Malaysian lawyer, first entered the national political scene. The Democratic Action Party politician held the seat for over 20 years until 1999, earning him the nickname the 'Tiger of Jelutong'.

Karpal Singh Drive, an up-and-coming seaside promenade, was named after Karpal Singh.