Jerejak Island Destination Guide
Pulau Jerejak gained its alias
as The Alcatraz of Malaysia, because of the Jerejak
Prison. Located towards the south eastern tip of Penang
Main Island, this 362ha island is rich with history,
flora and fauna.
This island, though not as famous compared to other
islands in Malaysia, has had its fair share of auspicious
historical events. Francis Light, founder of Penang
was said to have arrived in Pulau Jerejak in early
1786 before heading on to Penang.
As a result of Francis Light's earlier ruling whereby
immigrants were allowed to claim whatever land they
could clear Penang became flooded with immigrants.
As a precaution step these immigrants were sent to
Jerejak's health inspection centre before they were
deported to Penang.
Later in the late 1930's, the British Empire built
a hospital that could house 150 Tuberculosis patients
at a time. This was located at the eastern part of
A RUSSIAN CEMETARY
Jerejak saw military action during World War II, when
a German submarine attacked a Russian naval vessel.
It is believed that Jerejak was the site for a German
submarine base from June of 1943 to March 1944. A
ceremonial cemetery dedicated to Russian soldiers
still remains on the island. However, no records indicate
that actual bodies were buried at the site.
The Jerejak Rehabilitation Center began operating
from 12 Jun 1969 to August 1993 with its first batch
of 200 detainees. This first batch of inmates consisted
of those detained during the 13ph May 1969 race riots.
In 1982, an upsurge in drug related convictions resulted
in the highest number of detainees in Jerejak, 982
to be exact.
7 inmates on the island who worked outside the prison
area and were nearly finishing their sentences managed
to escape. The first escape incident in January 1988,
saw 4 inmates 'leaving' the island while the second
incident in Mac 1988 saw 3 inmates flee.
In its course of closing down the prison, 900 detainees
were transferred to prisons in Johor. The first transfer
involved 100 detainees whom were sent to Muar prison,
Johor. The following transfers were in-groups of about
60 detainees and were all stationed at the Simpang
Ranggam Prison, Johor. The last group left on 13 August
Jerejak, an island covered with thick coastal forest
aging approximately 4,000 years, hosts about 210 species
and 71 families of plants. Many types of plant communities
can be found here, the main ones are Dipterocarp &
Dipterocarp is a timber species found on hilly areas
of the island. It usually forms a high proportion
of the emergent and main canopy strata of the forest.
A Dipterocarp forest is richly diversified and contains
timber such as Meranti (Shorea spp.), Mersawa (Anisoptera
spp), and Keruing [Dipterocarpus spp) which are highly
There are also Mangrove Swamps in the area. The largest
is located near the old prison building, north side
of the island. The mangrove swamps are named so because
of the mangrove trees, which dominate these wetlands.
These trees are tolerant of the brackish water and
saltier coastal conditions, and they are usually surrounded
by a watery wilderness. This area also provides habitat
and breeding ground to organisms such as crabs and
Besides the wide range of flora available on the island,
there are also a variety of fauna species on Pulau
Jerejak. Among the 39 animal species here are White
Bellied Sea Eagles, Monitor Lizard and Long Tailed
The White Bellied Sea Eagle, also known, as Haliaectus
Leucogaster is black in color with a white spot underneath
thus the name white bellied. Its major resting site
is at the southern tip of the island. This is an ideal
place for bird watching as this is also the perching
area for many other bird species.
Penang Island jetty to Jerejak
Jerejak Island to Penang
12:30 am (Fri & Sat only)
1:30 pm (12:45 pm on Fri only)
1:30 am (Fri & Sat only)
Ferry Tickets must be purchased from the Ticket Counter
at Penang Island Jetty.
Guests with Room / Event Reservations : RM10.00 nett
per Adult / RM5.00 nett per Child Return Trip
View Pulau Jerejak in a larger map