Traffic congestion on Penang Island is getting worse

WHEN we talk about the best developed states in Malaysia, topping the list has got to be the country’s capital, Kuala Lumpur. This is an indisputable fact.  

But also found on the list is no doubt the Pearl of the Orient: Penang. As one of the most-visited state in the country and one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, the recognition and honour is well-deserved.  

However, the issue following that honour is that the state is often flooded with many vehicles, which has also led to a significant increase in traffic congestions on Penang Island. 

Penang is just a tiny place – the second smallest state in Malaysia. Those who have visited Penang or lived in Penang must have shouted at the sky in frustration during traffic jams at least once: “How many cars are there in Penang to make it so jammed every day at all times?” 

According to the observation of Datuk Mohd Shuhaily Mohd Zain, who was promoted as the Penang Police Chief a year ago, one of the reasons for the severe traffic jam in Penang is the low awareness of car-sharing among Penangites.  

The most intuitive example is that 7 out of 10 vehicles are driven by the driver alone. 

Next, according to the Penang Institute, it has been estimated that the population of Penang is 1.6 million, and the ratio of people to transportation has risen from 1:1.17 in 2008 to 1:1.39 in 2014.  

This means that every Penangite owns at least one form of transportation. Moreover, by 2022, most of the family will have at least two cars, which is not a feasible situation for Penangites.  

In addition, according to the report data by the Penang Institute in 2014, only 11% of Penangites use public transportation during the peak period from 7am to 9am. 

Among the 11%, 8% use student or factory buses, while only 3% use public buses. This also means that up to 89% of people use private vehicles to travel.  

Among them, those who use private cars accounted for the majority, reaching 56%, while those who rode motorcycles accounted for 33%.  

During the same period, nearly 90% of the people used private transportation, crowded on the narrow road. It is terrible to imagine how congested the traffic would be.  

Therefore, the Penang government should pay more attention to the issue of traffic congestion by arranging a meeting to discuss with the police and other law enforcement to solve this problem.  

Last but not least, the people should also support the government with their utmost cooperation to solve the traffic congestion issue on Penang Island.  

I believe that with the collaboration of the Penang government and its citizens, the road congestion problem will be alleviated. – Nov 30, 2022 


Keoh Ni Ni is a third-year student studying Bachelor of Business (Engineering Entrepreneurship) (Hons) at Universiti Malaysia Perlis (UniMAP). 

The views expressed are solely of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Focus Malaysia. 


Main photo credit: Kwong Wah Yit Poh 

Subscribe and get top news delivered to your Inbox everyday for FREE