What is going on at Pulau Jerejak?


Something is afoot at Pulau Jerejak. The local government must explain what is going on. Has any development plan been approved? If not, who has built this contraption next to the old resort jetty and for what purpose? Is this part of the work to build a new jetty for handling building materials? It looks as if they are surveying the soil on the sea bed to assess its conditions?

The photo below was taken a few years ago showing the island’s natural beauty in the area surrounding the old jetty.

In November, it was announced that Uda and Ideal Property Development Sdn Bhd would be involved in a large project on the island. The project involves building 1,200 homes over 80 acres, a marina, luxury hotels, a theme park and a cycling track.

Ideal Property is also involved in a reclamation project in front of Queensbay Mall, facing Pulau Jerejak. That’s not all: it has a 20 per cent stake in SRS Consortium, which has proposed RM46bn in transport infrastructure for Penang.

Pulau Jerejak, a green lung for Penang, is rich in biodiversity. Research understaken about eight years ago revealed over 100 plant species.

The island was once a thriving colony serving multiple purposes at different stages of its history: a settlement for leprosy patients (with the first camp being built in 1867), a quarantine centre for migrants, workers and pilgrims arriving in Penang (from the 1870s), a tuberculosis sanitorium (from after 1948 to 1969), a Japanese military base, and later a detention centre for drug offenders and political dissidents (from the 1960s until 1993).

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Three leprosy camps were located on the eastern side of the island and two later ones on the western side. By the 1930s, the settlement housed 1,500 leprosy patients.

Remains of these buildings, including a courtroom and a prison (see below), can still be seen inside the jungle. A shipyard, now operated by Boustead, lies in the south.

Kelly’s maps from the late 19th Century show several villages once existed on the island until 1900: Kampung Hilir, Kampung Tengah, Kampung Panchor, and Kampung Labuhan Dagang (Trading Port Village), a study stated.

So the place has a rich and diverse history.

The settlement, which grew into a thriving agricultural and fishing colony, would have included a school (see below), hospital, shops and places of worship.

Not many are aware that remains of places of worship including a church/chapel or two can be found on the island. A Buddhist temple, a mosque and a Hindu shine were also built.

These are the ruins of a church on the eastern side of Pulau Jerejak, believed to have been a Roman Catholic chapel known as Leper Asylum Church (under the bishop of Malacca) that was opened on 4 January 1896:

The structure below was perhaps an operations theatre of sorts and later apparently illegally altered into a Ma Zu Temple.

Other ruins and remains of places of worship can also be found on the island. This was perhaps a chapel for former leprosy patients near one of the camps.

Many graves are also believed to be on the island, said one person familiar with the place. “They may have been built over by the shipyard (on the eastern side of the island), so they are now ‘gone’ under extensive stretches of concrete, BUT there are also graves on the western side.” Will these surviving graves be treated with respect?

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It is time to carry out a proper independent heritage and ecological assessment of the island.

Save Pulau Jerejak!

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  1. Ivory has caused the damage around Queensbay Mall with its WorldCity as depicted on the front page of Kwang Hwa newspaper on New Year’s Day. Pulau Jerejak will suffer the same fate.

  2. Latest front cover story of Buletin Mutiara confirms a theme park in the making for Pulau Jerejak.

    Written by Lilian Chan, some call her the “Tokong’s Jocelyn Tan”.

    • theme park at jerejak, so likely there may be a cable linking Queensbay Mall to the island.

      can have simulated Belum Forest Adventure on Jerejak, haunted Japanese WW2 mansions etc

      • More than that – a CAT Walk similar to Karpal Singh Walk!
        What better way to leave a legacy behind.
        I kesian the Pulau Jerejak ghosts of past who will have no where to emigrate!
        So you see, social engineering also happens to the spirit realm!
        Blame it on Arrogant Greedy CAT!

      • Can collect toll for the use of bridge to Jerejak? Penang folks 30 sen, other Msians RM1, foreigners RM3 ? Revenues collected to sustain the angpow giveaways to deserving seniors!

      • Jerejak Theme Park brainstorming :
        a) Penang Street Food adventure rides – along the way the visitors get to see iconic figurines of ori-maestro sifu like Chendol King CEO Tan, Red Beret Char Kway Teow, AirHitam Curry Mee Sisters, Bangkok Lane Mee Goreng talking Hokkien, LineClear Mamak all immortalised.
        b) Penang Heritage buildings past and present eg Mdm Pickett building recreated with historical legendary story
        c) Legacies of past Boh Hoot, and present Niao Kong …

      • Good to have theme park for locals who cannot afford to travel away from the island for family outings.

      • Please do not ask how many theme parks are needed. Just ask why there are so many cars on the road? Why every family needs more than one car?

      • Wong Chun Wai of The Star should support this development in Jerejak to bring tourist dollars and to create mor jobs.

    • Still not too late for fed up Penang Islanders who want old charms to ” migrate” to Taiping. The namesake for Peace. People there speak hokkien like Penang. The street food not bad and more important affordable. Also they have a good MP there.

      • So you support social engineering, an ill of capitalism?
        Is not Penang, a place for everyone regardless of class & creed?
        It is very irresponsible & prejudicial to encourage the souls (Penangites) to leave & make room for the rich & famous & recalcitrants
        such as Niao Kong & the greedy developers + property gurus + speculators.

      • Nothing wrong for some to change place of residence. From condo to tree top house or from mainland to islandor vice versa

    • Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia’s (Bersatu) ongoing opposition to the Forest City project in Johor will likely dominate the next general election campaign, said prominent analysts.

      In a report by the South China Morning Post today, analysts said they believed that Putrajaya’s recent multi-billion deals with China and the of influx Chinese real estate developers had caused public unease.

      Bersatu, in particular its chairperson Dr Mahathir Mohamad, had in recent weeks been continously accusing Putrajaya of undermining the country’s sovereignty through the Forest City project.

      Similarly, rakyat in Melaka and Penang must question their local governments how those mega reclamation/luxury condominiums could benefit the local middle class and B40 folks.

  3. same. last week had teh tarik with 4 sekawan and comments on tun lang. a dedak and grumpy old man from elvis era taking over as cat king aka mau wong. complain any and everything.

  4. A sanitarium in Pulau Jerejak?
    It should be revived to treat a cat with chronic illness – Niao Kong to be more precise.
    This evening, I met my businessman friend with wide social circle who threw scorns at Penang CM for all the fiascos & arrogance, never seen since the days of Dr Lim Chong Ewe. It was an indignation against politicians who once tasted power can change…!

  5. Would Penang government listen to the voices of the people – preserve the biodiversity and rich heritage ?


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