Jerejak Island, Penang
A Great Place For Nature Lovers!

Known as the Alcatraz of Malaysia, Pulau Jerejak or Jerejak Island is a 362 hectare island located off the southeastern tip of Penang, and a short boat ride from Bayan Lepas jetty. It's an the only island in Penang rich with ancient history and preserved flora and fauna.

The History
This island though is not as famous as compared to other islands in Malaysia, but has had its fair share of auspicious historical events. Francis Light, Founder of Penang first step foot in Pulau Jerejak in the early 1786 before heading on to Penang. 11 years later in 1797, it was Colonel Arthur Wellesley who proposed Jerejak as the possible site for Fort Cornwallis. It was known that the idea of establishing a military post in Jerejak Island was to offer protection to a new township called Jamestown, which was to be set up in present-day Bayan Lepas.

This plan did not materialize as George Town was starting to become a profitable port and it soon became unnecessary to establish Jamestown or have a military facility in that location. Jerejak was deserted after that. It was only during 1910 that saw some activities at Jerejak Island. The island was made a heath quarantine centre for immigrants planning to go to the main island to work. Penang at that time started to experiencing economic growth and this has cause the island to be flooded with immigrant. A hospital for patients with Tuberculosis was later built in 1930s and is located at the eastern part of the island.

From 1943 to 1944, Jerejak Island was made a submarine base by the Germans. In the book entitled History of the USA Naval Operations in World War Two, S.E. Morison wrote that German U-boats sunk about 18 Russian ships in the Indian Ocean during World War II. A memorial is located in the island dedicated to the crew members of the Imperial Russian Navy who died when their cruiser Zhemchug was sunk by the cruiser Emden of the Kaiserliche Marine in the Battle of Penang. However, the total amount of bodies that was buried on that site still remains a mystery.

Pulau Jerejak was later turn into a rehabilitation centre from 1969 to 1993. Jerejak at this time was known as the "Alcatraz of Malaysia" due to resemblance of The Alcatraz prison that was situated on a deserted island. After a few incidents of riots and escape of inmates, the prison was closed on 13 August 1993. In its course of closing down the prison, over 900 detainees were transferred to prisons in Johor.

The Jerejak Island Of The Future
As an effort by the state government to promote Jerejak as a popular tourist destination, a beautiful resort was built on the island. Jerejak Resort & Spa provides interesting gateway for those who prefer a relaxing atmosphere with many outdoor activities. Some includes rock climbing, mountain biking or take to nature with fishing, jungle trekking or even camping under the stars.

The Flora and Fauna Of Jerejak
Jerejak Island also boasts of an ancient emerald environment, older than the equatorial forests of the Amazon, thus producing a marvelous ecosystem that is both inspiring and engaging. The island is covered with thick coastal forest ageing approximately 4,000 years and hosts of about 210 species and 71 families of plants. Many types of plant communities can be found here, some of these include Dipterocarp, Mangrove, Revine Coastel and Weedy species.

There is also a coastal plant community that inhabits the Jerejak tropical forest and acts as a barrier between an interior plant community and an exposed beach. These coastal plant species are closely related to the soil texture and effect from the breeze. Another plant with high commercial value found in the Jerejak forest is Eurycoma Longifolia or commonly known as Tongkat Ali. Tongkat Ali is a medical plant which increases strength and energy.

Other than the undisturbed Flora, Jerejak forest is also home to over 35 animal species such as White Bellied Sea Eagles. Monitor Lizards a Long Tailed Macaques. Although there are no endangered species on the island, there are however, quite a number of animals here are protected under the Malaysia Wildlife Act 1972. Others interesting animal species can be found here include mangrove snakes and reticulated python.

The beautiful nature setting of Jerejak brings a mystical touch to the surrounding pristine nature. Jerejak island which is only a minute away from Penang city centre are tucked away among the magnificence lush tropical rainforest also known as the "virgin jungle" island and is one of the only few remaining preserves forest in Malaysia.

Experience it while it last!

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