Province Wellesley, also known as Seberang Perai,

is a thriving municipality located opposite Penang Island. After Malaya’s independence, Province Wellesley’s municipal centre, Bukit Mertajam, experienced rapid development due to its strategic location and prominence in the local and regional economy. Today, Bukit Mertajam is known as a sprawling urban centre with expanding boundaries that retains its historical, natural and cultural charm.

A Historical Treasure


“Bukit Mertajam boasts a unique and illustrious history that has shaped its steady growth and continued development”

Located between two major archaeological sites, Bujang Valley and Sungai Selinsing, Province Wellesley’s background can be traced back to prehistoric times. Archaeological discoveries found in the area shows evidence of human settlements that date back to about 5000 to 6000 years.

The discovery of the Cherok Tok Kun engraved megalith in Bukit Mertajam also shows that it was part of the Bujang Valley civilisation, one of the oldest civilisations in Southeast Asia. Province Wellesley’s modern history, however, began with the advent of British colonialism in the 18th century.

Sugar & Spice shapes Bukit Mertajam

After being ceded to the East India Company in 1800, Bukit Mertajam became known for the cultivation of spices such as pepper, clove and cinnamon. Due to its rich natural resources and landscape, it also became involved in granite production. Although these economic activities declined during the Malayan Emergency that began in 1948, Bukit Mertajam’s prominence endured, thanks to the vibrancy of its sugar industry.

As Bukit Mertajam is located at the crossroads for the transportation of sugar to Prai, the thriving sugar industry led to exponential expansion.

This can be seen as early as 1886, when wealthy businessmen and community leaders built the Hock Teik Cheng Shin Temple, which still stands as a majestic landmark in Bukit Mertajam today.

The Railway – Key Development Milestone

In the 1890s, Bukit Mertajam was made the administrative capital of the Central District of Province Wellesley. This led to the development of various modern amenities in the town, including a hospital, water reservoir, court centre and government-funded vernacular schools. In 1914, a railroad was built in Bukit Mertajam as the only railway intersection to Penang Island. The construction of the railroad further contributed to the township’s growth and prosperity.





Capture the Essence of Bukit Mertajam

Bukit Mertajam is home to historical, lifestyle and tourist attractions, and now it can be your home too.




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