GEORGE TOWN: Once known as the “Alcatraz of Malaysia”, the currently abandoned Pulau Jerejak is being proposed for listing under the Penang Heritage Trail Map, said Tourism Malaysia northern territory director Ahmad Husni Ahmad Basri.
“Penang has a heritage trail map but I don’t see Pulau Jerejak on it.
“The island is not only a resort island but there are historical points of interest, ” he said at the “Hidden Pearls of Penang Island: Pulau Jerejak” programme here.
He expressed concern that significant structures such as the old prison would be lost to damage after being left abandoned.
“We are worried that the building will be damaged and will eventually disappear.
“There is also a former leprosy centre as well as other historical landmarks including a pre-war underground bunker.
“In conjunction with Experience Penang Year 2020 (EPY2020), we hope the state government will take the initiative to preserve these tourist attractions, ” he added.
He said the map was an initiative of the state government to provide a guide to tourists planning on exploring the state.
Located between George Town and Seberang Perai, the island housed a prison, a leper colony as well as a tuberculosis (TB) hospital and has a history dating back to World War II.
Meanwhile, the Jerejak Island Resort is offering packages such as cycling and jungle trekking for visitors to historical landmarks scattered across the island such as the “Alcatraz of Malaysia” prison; pre-war bunkers; quarantine centre (used for newly arrived immigrants then); leprosy centre; TB hospital; 1896 Roman Catholic church as well as the staff quarters for hospital staff and prison wardens.
The Pulau Jerejak maximum security prison began operating in 1969 and currently only three blocks out of the original 23 blocks remain. — Bernama