Singapore does not lay claim to Indonesia's Pulau Manis

Funtasy Island resort on Pulau Manis.
PHOTO: The Straits Times

A storm whipped up by the Indonesian media over a 'disputed' island has puzzled Singapore officials.

It all began when Indonesian news websites such as The Jakarta Post and reported that Singapore had "claimed" Pulau Manis as part of its territory. The news sparked calls by Indonesian officials to protect its sovereignty over the island, which is about 16km south of Singapore.

In a statement issued last night, Singapore's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) said it was "deeply puzzled" by the Indonesian reports because the country has never lay claim to Pulau Manis.

MFA said: "We are deeply puzzled by these reports. Singapore has never disputed Indonesia's sovereignty over Pulau Manis and does not lay claim to the island."

The misunderstanding came about when the island on the map on the website of Funtasy Island, a resort on Pulau Manis, was highlighted in the same colour as Singapore - which probably gave the impression that it was part of the Republic.

Following the brouhaha, the map was edited with the island highlighted in red, and Singapore in turqoise blue. An arrow links Sentosa to Pulau Manis, a connection which takes about a 30-minute boat ride from Harbour Front, according to Funtasy Island.

Billed as the region's largest ecopark resort, Funtasy Island is managed jointly by an Indonesian and Singaporean company, The Jakarta Post reported.

The site is also being developed by Indonesian property firms, said Indonesian Ambassador to Singapore, Ngurah Swajaya, who added that foreigners going to Pulau Manis would need to go through immigration and customs on nearby Batam island.

Ngurah told The Jakarta Post: "I can assure you that it is Indonesian territory."

Funtasy Island site manager Oke Yusma Nurjaman had previously revealed that the resort was already sold out, with most of the buyers coming from Singapore, reported the Post.