GEORGE TOWN - The state government is confident that the Penang Municipal Council (MPPP) will be upgraded to Penang Island City Council (MBPP) by this year.
Penang Local Government and Traffic Management Committee chairman Chow Kon Yeow said the application has been met with encouraging response from the Federal Government, adding that the papers were ready and will be presented to the Cabinet soon.
"Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin was receptive to the idea when he brought up the matter during the National Local Government Council meeting in March this year. Also present at the meeting was Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government Minister Datuk Abdul Rahman Dahlan."
"Both the deputy prime minister and the minister agreed to take immediate steps on the matter then."
"We met all the criteria and we are at the final stage for the Cabinet to approve the application that MPPP be upgraded to MBPP," he told a press conference in Komtar yesterday.
Chow said if everything turned out as planned, the council would then be headed by a mayor, and not a president.
In January 2010, Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng had said that the MPPP should be upgraded after George Town was awarded Unesco World Heritage City status.
He had then said they would forward the necessary papers to the Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government and at the same time retain the George Town City status accorded by Queen Elizabeth II on Jan 1, 1957.
Chow said once approved by the Cabinet, the proclamation had to be made by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.
On another matter, he said the local government would standardise road names as it was not unusual for a road in the state to have several variants to its name.
Among the road names were Gelugor/Glugor, Jalan Ayer Itam/Air Itam/Ayer Hitam/Air Hitam and Jalan Batu Ferenghi/Feringghi/Ferringghi/Feringhi.