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Pinang or Penang (both: pənăngˈ), state (1991 pop. 1,065,075), c.400 sq mi (1,040 sq km), Malaysia, on the Strait of Malacca. It consists of Pulau Pinang (an island of 108 sq mi/280 sq km), formerly known as Georgetown; and Province Wellesley (292 sq mi/756 sq km), a strip of territory on the Malay Peninsula adjacent to Pulau Pinang. On the island is the capital, the city of Pinang, also known as George Town (1991 pop. 219,376); it is Malaysia's second-busiest port. It was founded in 1786 by British merchants and was ruled by Great Britain until it became part of what is now Malaysia in 1957. The city has a botanical garden, museums, and performing arts center. The island has large tin-smelting works, and large areas are devoted to rice and rubber. Well over half the inhabitants of the state are Chinese. Indians are less numerous; less than a third are Malays.
Pinang Island was the first British settlement on the Malay Peninsula. It was occupied in 1786 by Francis Light of the British East India Company with the permission of the sultan of Kedah. After an unsuccessful attempt to retake the island (1791), the sultan agreed on a settlement from the British of an annual stipend, and in 1800 he also ceded Province Wellesley. Pinang, together with Province Wellesley, Malacca, and Singapore, became known as the Straits Settlements. Under the British, Pinang grew rapidly in commercial importance, although it was surpassed by Singapore. Pinang joined the Federation of Malaya (see Malaysia) in 1948.
(Penang), a state in Malaysia. Located in the northwestern Malay Peninsula and on the island of Pinang. Area, 1,000 sq km. Population, 776,800 (1970). The state’s capital and chief port is the city of Pinang.
Pinang is one of the most economically developed states in the country; a considerable portion of Malaysia’s industry is concentrated there. It has tin-smelting plants owned by British capital in the cities of Pinang and Butterworth, vegetable-oil mills, and enterprises engaged in the primary processing of rubber. Also in Pinang are electronics and garment industries. Rubber plants and coconut and oil palms are cultivated, as well as rice and other crops.
(Penang, the former George Town), a city and port in Malaysia, located on the island of Pinang. Capital of Pinang State. Population, 270,000 (1970).
Pinang is linked by ferry with the Malay Peninsula. It has a tin-smelting plant, as well as rubber-processing, food-processing (coconut oil), garment, and electronics industries. A significant part of the population is employed in the service industry, especially in the fields of trade and transportation. Much of the country’s foreign trade is handled by the port of Pinang, including the export of rubber and tin and the import of industrial goods and petroleum products. In 1973 the port handled 3.3 million tons of cargo.