The National Heritage Department (JWN) is understood to have proposed to the Penang state government that Pulau Jerejak be included with the National Leprosy Control Centre in Sungai Buloh, Selangor as joint candidates for Unesco world heritage site listing.
It is believed both have complementary elements to strengthen the case for Unesco listing.
The department had visited Pulau Jerejak twice earlier this year to survey the historical remnants on the island, many of which are still visible including workers’ quarters, wards, a prison, a court, and a church.
Based on these site visits, it is understood the department found Pulau Jerejak to have important historical significance in the development of anti-leprosy initiatives leading up to the setting up of the National Leprosy Control Centre in Sungai Buloh.
So it is believed that the department wants the Penang state government to consider its proposal for a joint candidacy for Unesco listing before any development project on Pulau Jerejak can be carried out.
Check out the Pulau Jerejak slideshow.
Meanwhile, the department is also believed to be interested in carrying out research and excavation to gather more historical data on the leprosy initiatives on the island. To this end, the site has to be preserved and conserved for its immense historical significance.