Sunday August 10, 2008 - The Star
Johor MB: Singapore has no right!
JOHOR BARU: Singapore has no right to expand the area around the lighthouse on Pulau Pisang as an agreement signed more than 100 years ago had clearly stated how much space was allocated for the building.
Johor Mentri Besar Datuk Abdul Ghani Othman said the agreement stated that only 0.809ha of land was to be used for the lighthouse, 0.404ha for the road leading to the lighthouse and 17 poles for the jetty.
He said the agreement was signed between the late Sultan Ibrahim Abu Bakar and Straits Settlements Governor on Oct 6, 1900.
Abdul Ghani said there were clauses in the agreement which stated that Malaysia shall take over operations of the lighthouse from Singapore if the latter stopped or failed to manage or maintain it.
“Action can be taken against Singapore if allegations that the republic is expanding the demarcation area around the lighthouse were true,” Abdul Ghani told reporters at the launch of the Johor small and medium-sized enterprises exhibition at Plaza Angsana yesterday.
Two weeks ago, a local private TV station interviewed one of the orchard owners on the island and he claimed that the Singapore Port Authority which manages the lighthouse had expanded its land area around the structure.
On Friday, Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim said the Johor Government must draw up a plan to develop Pulau Pisang to ensure Johor did not lose the island in the same manner as Batu Puteh.
The minister said Pulau Pisang should not be left idle by Johor and the state must be proactive in developing the island for the sake of future generations.
“The rightful ownership of Pulau Pisang and its clusters namely Pulau Kemudi, Pulau Sauh and Pulau Kunda should not arise as they clearly belong to Johor,” Abdul Ghani said.
He said locals were given the permission to open up orchards by the state government under the Surat Akuan Dusun 1897.
Presently, there are 87 rightful owners of the orchard land, 15 houses belonged to local Malays including seven which are inhabited and four transit houses.
Pulau Pisang and the other three islands with a total acreage of 145.68ha were gazetted as part of Mukim Pontian on Jan 1, 1985 and under the administration of Pontian District Council on May 9, 2008.
Abdul Ghani said the state government had received several proposals to develop Pulau Pisang but had yet to decide on it.