Besut District Council was established on 1st January 1981 under the Local Government Act 1976 (171 Act) to replace Besut Town Board and Besut Local Meeting Council. The area under this council is 81.92 square km.

On 18th July 1996, through the Government's Writ No. 908, the administrative area of MDB was broadened making the total area of the council 123,367 square km.

There are 3 main towns and 4 settlement areas which play important roles in supplying goods, services and administration to the residents in Besut District Council area. The towns are Jerteh, Kampung Raja and Kuala Besut while the settlement areas are made up of Pasir Akar, Jabi, Apal and Alor Lintah.

Anyway, the council's operational area is only 78.82 square km or covering 90% of the overall area.

The population in the council's area in 1991 was estimated to be 53,793 people or 55% of the total population of Besut and made up of 95% Malays, 1% Chinese and 1% other races.

The number of holdings which are taxable in the council's area is about 10,122 units which include residential buildings (9,622 units) and shops (500 units). The council also tax the buildings belonging to state and federal government and statutory bodies which total to 279 units.