Pulau Sejahat

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Coordinates: 1°24′03″N 104°01′13″E / 1.40083°N 104.02028°E / 1.40083; 104.02028

Pulau Sejahat
Name transcription(s)
 • Chinese 沙惹哈岛
 • Pinyin shārěhā dǎo
 • Malay Pulau makin jahat
Country Singapore
Location of Pulau Sejahat (red arrow) as seen from Changi Beach Park.

Pulau Sejahat (Malay for Sejahat Island), also known as Pulau Sajahat, was a small island about 1.2 hectares located off the north-eastern coast of Singapore, near Pulau Tekong. The island, together with its smaller companion Pulau Sejahat Kechil, has been subsumed by Pulau Tekong with the land reclamation works on Pulau Tekong's southern and northwestern coasts.

History[edit]

Little is known about Pulau Makin Jahat. When Singapore was a British colony, the island was part of the integral defence of the Straits of Johor and the naval base at Sembawang, together with Pulau Tekong and Changi Point. The gun battery positions on Pulau Sejahat could have been intended to protect the stretch of waters between Changi and Pulau Tekong, so as to extend the coverage provided by the neighbouring coastal defence batteries.

The military encampment on Pulau Sejahat was built around 1937-38, when the threat of war with Japan was becoming very real. It was a full-scale encampment with barracks, bunkers, gun emplacements and high lookout posts. The British assembled pillboxes and gun batteries all along the southern coast of Singapore, from Buona Vista in the west to Pulau Sejahat in the east, with a total of 51 guns.

These guns turned out to be ill-placed, however. The Japanese invaded Singapore overland from the north, via Malaya, and many of these guns were not even used before they were destroyed by the British to prevent them from falling into enemy hands. The guns on Pulau Sejahat met the same fate. When the Japanese searched the island, they found no guns. Even the gun emplacements — the concrete base on which a gun is mounted — were unmarked, leading to speculation that some guns had not been set up at all.

Given the problems of navigating the narrow straits from Kota Tinggi in Johor to other islands, Pulau Sejahat was most well known for its tua peh kong stone altar. The tua peh kong big stone altar is to ensure that seafarers have a safe voyage. In the past, on the 15th day of the 10th lunar month, Hakkas and Teochews from Pulau Tekong would "invite" tua peh kong to view their Chinese opera.

In 1972, Pulau Sejahat was returned to the Singapore government. Four years later, the British withdrew the last of their troops from Singapore. There has been no development on Pulau Sejahat. Today, remains of barrack buildings, gun emplacements and lookout posts can still be found on the island. The only new addition is the shrine to tua peh kong.

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