PULAU PISANG (Johor): Malaysia should start negotiations with Singapore on taking over the administration and management of the lighthouse on Pulau Pisang, said Pontian Member of Parliament Ahmad Maslan.
“I hope the matter of Pulau Pisang is resolved through diplomatic negotiations. The lighthouse can be a tourist attraction,” he said.
Ahmad said he had asked Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim to initiate immediate discussions with the island state on the takeover.
“Datuk Seri Rais was receptive to the suggestion,” he told reporters at the 53m-high Pulau Pisang lighthouse, currently managed by staff members of the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore.
It is about 1,000m above sea level.
Earlier, Ahmad led a 60-member delegation comprising representatives from various government agencies, Umno and the mass media to the 178.4ha Pulau Pisang, located 8km off the Pontian coast.
Although Pulau Pisang is located in Malaysian territory, the lighthouse is managed by Singapore according to the 1900 agreement between Sultan Ibrahim of Johor and the British Government.
Following the International Court of Justice's decision that Singapore had sovereignty over Batu Puteh, concerns have arisen about Pulau Pisang, which also has a lighthouse run by Singapore.
Pulau Pisang is strategically located on the southern shipping route of the busy Straits of Malacca.
“We need to revisit the 1900 agreement allowing Singapore to manage the lighthouse on Pulau Pisang,” Ahmad said.
He said plans to develop Pulau Pisang should be executed as soon as possible to ensure Malaysia's sovereignty over the island is never challenged.
In a symbolic gesture that plans to develop Pulau Pisang has started, a surau, costing RM50,000, would be built on Pulau Pisang soon, with Ahmad contributing RM25,000, he said.
He said the federal and state governments have agreed to develop Pulau Pisang for eco-tourism.
“What we need to do now is to promote the potential of Pulau Pisang as a tourist spot to local and foreign investors.
“To spur development, I will propose Pulau Pisang be placed under the development plans of Iskandar Malaysia. I believe investors from West Asian countries will be interested,” he added. – Bernama
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