Tuesday, 15 January, 2019 05:22:42 PM

Sebatik   Island


A world with no boundaries

The development in Pulau Sebatik brought a positive impact to Tawau as the island is divided between Malaysia and Indonesia.

Malaysian government has been developing Pulau Sebatik to spur the economy and uplift the living standard of residents on the island.

Sabah Economic Development Corporation (SEDCO) plans in 2011 was to build eight shop houses to uplift the economic status of residents on the island.

The newly completed RM2.5mil jetty made easy for allows Pulau Sebatik residents taking their agriculture products to processing factories in Tawau.

‘Give us roads, schools, hospital’ : http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2013/08/22/give-us-roads-schools-hospital/


Sebatik Assemblyman Abdul Muis Picho
Sebatik Assemblyman Abdul Muis Picho

Clinic proposed for Pulau Sebatik
Published on: Thursday, June 14, 2012
Sebatik Assemblyman Abdul Muis Picho proposed the setting up of a clinic at Pulau Sebatik to cater to the island's more than 4,000 inhabitants. The island is shared with Indonesia.

He said a two-hectare site in Kg Bergosong Besar has been identified for the clinic, with beds, a permanent doctor and emergency ward.

"I visited the site with a Tawau Health Department officer and motion for the department to apply for the lot with the Land and Survey Department.

We hope this endeavor would succeed as we wish to see improved health facilities for the island's 4,500 inhabitants," he said.

Abdul Muis said he had raised the matter with Deputy Health Minister (Datuk Rosnah) during her visit to Tawau and was given to understand the Government needed a suitable site for the purpose.

On a separate development, Abdul Muis said youths at Kampung Bergosong Besar could now enjoy the new RM150,000 futsal court in their village. It was the third futsal court on the island.


Sebatik IslandSebatik Island

Aerial View of Sebatik Island, Tawau, Sabah

Sebatik Island

Sebatik Island viewed from Tawau Town

Nunukan is the main transit point to Tawau.

Sebatik island has nine sub-districts :
1) Krayan,
2) Krayan Selatan,
3) Lumbis,
4) Sembakung,
5) Nunukan,
6) Nunukan Selatan,
7) Sebatik,
8) Sebatik Barat
9) Sebuku.

The later three sub-districts is well known among Tawau natives.

Sejahtera mini oil palm estate (Mesej)
Sejahtera mini oil palm estate (Mesej) project is a 300ha project for hardcore poor in Kampung Sungai Laba, Pulau Sebatik.

Basic infrastructure at the mini estate include roads and houses.

This is the first of 15 such projects earmarked for Sabah in efforts to eradicate poverty in Sabah.

Some oil palm trees in the Pulau Sebatik Mesej project had started to produce fruits in 2009. Besides earning dividend from the harvest, the participants could also get salaries if they chose to work in the mini estate.

Pulau Sebatik is an island known for being bisected by the Indonesia-Malaysia border.

This unknown Island to many Malaysian has the potential to be another Tawau’s tourism destinations.

The island  is already a popular destination for anglers due to its rich marine life.

Its multi-cultural community is also an attraction for visitors who want a taste of the unique Sabahan lifestyle.

Sebatik island is also a habitat for proboscis monkeys.

Home stay programmes is a GOOD way to increase the ISLAND residents’ income.

The science, technology and innovation ministry has chosen the sea-bed off Pulau Sebatik as the first location in Sabah to be planted with ceramic 'reefs' to encourage fish breeding.

The placement of the eight artificial reefs, each weighing 1.2 tonne, at a depth of about 23 metres under the sea, was launched by Sebatik State Assemblyman Abdul Muis Picho in January 2011

About 200 fishermen in Pulau Sebatik are expected to benefit from the artificial reefs.

The artificial reefs were built by Sirim Berhad and the local community in Sulabayan, Semporna, under the ministry's Technology Application Programme (TAP).

The environmental-friendly 'reefs' are the first to be placed in Sabah and can last up to 50 years.

Similar reefs would be placed in Pulau Sapi, Sandakan, Kota Belud and Kukup in Johor.

Reference Source :

Indon swimmer sets Cowie Bay record : http://www.dailyexpress.com.my
Jellyfish, strong current stop Malaysia-Indonesia friendship ocean swim : http://www.mysarawak.org

Ibrahim Rusli
1st man across Cowie Bay

Indonesian swimmer, Ibrahim Rusli, 46 became the first man to swim 8km across the Cowie Bay from Sebatik Island to Tawau Town on 12th January 2011.

He is the first Indonesian to swim across international waters.

Ibrahim Rusli

Rusli Ibrahim achieved his wish to swim across Gulf Cowie.

He landed at Batu-Batu at Sabindo area, Tawau Town at 10.30am after swimming for five hours from Sungai Nyamuk, Indonesia.

From Sebatik Island, he was flagged off by the Sebatik Indonesia District Officer.

During the duration, Ibrahim was accompanied by 25 media personnel from Indonesia.

He was tired by the waves and current but continued on in his bid to bring Indonesia's name up to a higher pedestal with strong support from family and friends.

He made his first attempt on Aug. 3, 2010 but failed by stinging jellyfish in the sea.

Rusli Ibrahim, 46, is an employee of the Information Department in Indonesia. This successful attempt made him the first swimmer to complete the journey from Sebatik Island's  Mosquito River to Tawau Town 8 kilometers away.

His main barriers across the Gulf Cowie is poisonous jellyfish that habitat at Cowie Bay sea water. It was these poisonous jellyfish that failed him in the middle of the sea August 2010 last year.

This time the sea water was calm, jelly fish did not show up.

"I'm really proud and excited to finish this swimming. When doing the swimming today, I do not think about giving up. " Rusli Ibrahim said

Acting Chief Consul at the Indonesia Consulate General Office in Tawau W.R. Hendro hoped Ibrahim Rusli success would be able to foster greater relationship between the two neighboring countries.

The Government of Malaysia through Tawau Municipal Council (MPT) warmly welcomed the arrival of Ibrahim Rusli and his entourage.

Ibrahim has his next goal : to climb Kilimanjaro mountain in northeastern Tanzania, Africa. This mountain height is 4600 meters from mountain foot. This is the highest peak in Africa, with the height of 5895 meters above sea level.

Ibrahim Rusli
perenang pertama takluk Teluk Cowie, Tawau.



Siapa Ibrahim Rusli?
Ibrahim Rusli berusia 46 tahun yang merupakan seorang kakitangan Jabatan Penerangan Indonesia di wilayah Kalimantan Timur.

Apa kejayaan Ibrahim Rusli?
Ibrahim Rusli menjadi perenang pertama yang melengkapkan perjalanan dari Sungai Nyamuk di Pulau Sebatik ke pelabuhan Tawau yang jaraknya adalah sejauh 8 kilometer.

Apa halangan utama Ibrahim Rusli merentasi Teluk Cowie?
Semestinya hidupan ubur-ubur berbisa yang menjadikan Teluk Cowie sebagai habitatnya kerana faktor geografi Teluk Cowie.

Kenapa aku menganggap kejadian ini bersejarah adalah kerana aku mengikuti perkembangan perenang ini sejak kegagalannya merentasi Teluk Cowie pada Ogos 2010. Kegagalan itu disifatkan sebagai kejayaan tertunda… Ayat ini sangat bermotivasi.

Ibrahim Rusli perenang pertama takluk Teluk Cowie, Tawau.


  • Rural Electricity Supply (BELB) project costing RM120 million expected to be completed by the end of 2010
  • Sebatik water project  costing RM27 million expected to be in operational 2011

The RM27 million Pulau Sebatik Rural Water Supply (BALB) project is expected to be operational by June 2011, benefiting about 5,000 residents there.  The project, which started in October 2009, is expected to solve the clean water supply problem on the island.


Several other development projects for Sebatik Island are in the pipeline including :

  • Upgrading 90km farm roads that will benefit about 2,000 people in the agriculture industry and the Kg Sungai Tamang and Kg Sg Tongkang bridges. These projects will be carried out during the 10th Malaysian Plan period.

Original reference source : By Nashir Mansor July 29, 2008 Gutsy Smallholder 'Strikes' Big With Oil Palm http://www.bernama.com/bernama/v5/newsindex.php?id=349136

20 years ago, a 22-year-old  young man went ahead with a bold venture to cleared 18 hectares of his family-owned land for oil palm cultivation at Sebatik Island.

Doubts expressed by the other farmers do not deter him from becoming  a successful farmer. With a capital of RM15,000 saved from his previous cocoa-trading , he  went on to becoming a successful farmer on  cultivate oil palm trees in his village Kg Sungai Haji Kuning.

This family style plantation farming has not been easy on Sebatik Island that lacks basic amenities. In those days, the source of electricity was own generators and the mud roads were in bad shape that it was almost impassable even on bicycles. Affandi used to recalled the  toughest in the early pioneer years when the  Sebatik Island lacked basic infrastructure. At that time, the farmers had to entirely depend on the rain and wells for source of water. When there was no rain for a week, the farmers were forced to get their water supply from Tawau. Some workers gave  up living on the island as they could not stand having to fetch water from the well everyday.

Today (2011) Affandi's hard work is  pay off when  his earnings from oil palm fruits reached RM100,000 a month.

His success does not stop there, as Affandi S. Mohd, now 42, has expanded his estate to 50 over hectares in his island.............................Read full story By Nashir Mansor July 29, 2008 Gutsy Smallholder 'Strikes' Big With Oil Palm http://www.bernama.com

RM1.5mil to build roads on Sebatik

In 2004, the federal government has allocated RM1.56 million to build roads on Pulau Sebatik
Another  RM12.6 million water supply project also completed that  benefit 5,000 residents of the island.

DailyExpress: The federal government has allocated RM1.56 million to build roads on Pulau Sebatik here, said Rural and Regional Development Minister Datuk Abdul Aziz Shamsuddin Sunday. 

Sebatik Island is just 20 minutes by speed boat from Batu Jetty of Tawau Town.

The Island

Pulau Sebatik is located near the border with East Kalimantan. The majority of the people are farmers and fishermen. The Island is separated from Nunukan Island by narrow strait.

Proposed plans on the island, including the administrative centre at Sungai Bergosong in Sungai Tongkang, and the RM6 million police station project site there.

The water supply project in Wallace Bay, which is nearing completion and will be able to supply water to about 5,000 islanders in three villages.

Federal agencies in Sabah were allocated about RM16 billion to carry out development projects over five years from 2006 to 2010.

Sebatik Island is divided in to two parts. The southern part belongs to Indonesia, and the northern to the Malaysia. The inhabitants of this island are mostly fishermen and unskilled laborers. Some engage in trading along the border between Indonesia and Malaysia. The island is inhabited by almost 15,000 people, who live in two main villages, Sungai Nyamuk and Sungai Pancang. The distance between Sungai Pancang and Tawau can be covered within 15 minutes by motorboat.

Day Travelers to Tawau

A simpler entry procedure may be implemented for day trippers to Tawau, Sabah from Indonesia, especially nearby Nunukan and Tarakan islands, to help ease congestion at the Tawau jetty.

Day travelers are those who come to Tawau and return the same day. The number of day travelers from Indonesia  is big with about 3,000 each day.

The present system for day travelers is the use of  border pass for Indonesian day travelers entering Tawau. This is a frustrations for day trippers who had to endure long queues and waiting hours to get their border passes stamped at the Immigration counters in Tawau.

State Government was also discussing with Suria Capital, which owns Sabah Ports Sdn Bhd, to upgrade the old jetty in Tawau for international arrivals, especially day travelers, while turning the present jetty into a domestic landing point.

KKIP Communication had also conducted a survey in 2005 on the possibility of setting up a system using the card reader machine it had set up at the Kota Kinabalu International Airport to record particulars of non-Sabahan Malaysian citizens.

Tanjung Arang - the proposed new border town

Tanjung Arang is strategically located to do border trading and being the closest point to Indonesia's Nunukan Island in the south, which is visible from the proposed border town.

The setting up of the border town in Tanjung Arang, the economic development in Sebatik would be spurred.

Tanjung Arang to be developed by a government-linked company. The border town in Tanjung Arang has the potential to be developed into an economy-spinning centre just like Rantau Panjang and other border towns in the peninsula, especially to capitalize on the huge Bimp-Eaga market.

The proposed border town in Tanjung Arang in Sebatik on the Malaysia side would be realized soon as it would provide an alternative for day travelers to conduct trading. Facing Tanjung Arang is the new Nunukan port.

Tanjung Arang could be the Customs, Immigration and Quarantine (CIQ) centre here as well.

Federal agencies have been directed by Federal government to render their fullest co-operation to the implementation of all development plans of the proposed border town in Tanjung Arang, Sebatik Island.

Sabah State Federal Secretary, Amiruddin Abdullah, said the border town proposal by Sebatik Assemblyman, Datuk Dr Patawari Patawe, must be given attention as it has tremendous potential to develop the socio-economy not only of the people in the island but also those in the mainland.

Dr Patawari is also Chairman of Warisan Harta Sabah Sdn Bhd for his proactive and far-sighted vision.

In 2006  the State Economic Planning Unit (EPU) had given the green light for a State-owned company to kick-start the proposed Tanjung Arang border town project.

The State-owned project would most likely go to Warisan Harta Property, which is a subsidiary company of Warisan Harta Sabah Sdn Bhd, an investment arm of the State government.

Proposed facilities for  Sebatik Island in Ninth Malaysia Plan (9MP)

Among the proposed facilities were:

1) Health clinic

2) Community college

3) A fully-residential school

4) Water Treatment plant project

5) Proposed Wallace Bay resettlement scheme

6) Kampung Bergosong police station.

Bee-keeping project

A bee-keeping project will be implemented in Pulau Sebatik, off the east coast of Sabah, for the benefit of the residents who are mostly poor.

Sebatik Assemblyman Datuk Dr Haji Patawari Haji Patawe said the honey-producing project would be carried out with the co-operation of the Koperasi Pembangunan Desa (KPD), a State Government agency.

The project will be implemented on contract with the beekeepers whereby the co-operative will provide them advice and purchase the honey they produce.

The project would apply the bee-keeping concept adopted in three northern districts of Sabah, namely Kota Marudu, Kudat and Pitas, which had been involved in the activity for more then 10 years.

The bee project in Pulau Sebatik has proven to have raised the social status of the people involved in the activity in Kota Marudu, Kudat and Pitas. The income of the participants in the three districts is now around RM2,000 a month. An lucrative income.

In raising the social status of Pulau Sebatik residents, a salted fish project was implemented, along with the introduction of modern fishing technology.

Batu Jetty of Tawau

Jongkong boats is the main transport between Sebatik Island and Tawau Town. This 15 meters in length boat is capable of carrying five tones of goods and 10 passengers per trip. The fare is RM5 per passenger and a maximum of RM20 for goods.

The jongkong long boat ferry passengers and agricultural produce to Tawau from Pulau Sebatik across Cowie Bay. The journey takes 30 minutes and went through  relevant checks by the marine police.

Tawau is the main centre for the marketing of agricultural produce, including fruits, cocoa, oil palm, coconuts and vegetables, from Pulau Sebatik. The Jongkong is the main mode of transportation for residents of Pulau Sebatik to ferry their agricultural produce to Tawau.

  Sebatik Malaysia Sebatik Indonesia
Population 25,000 80,000

UMS Sea Mammals Station at Sebatik Island

Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS) has a base station at Sebatik Island to facilitate studies on sea mammals in the surrounding waters. 

Pulau Sebatik island is partly Malaysian and partly Indonesian. The few main villages in the island are Kampung Sungai Melayu, Kampung Sungai Tongkang, Kampung Sungai Pukul and Bergosong.

This Sea Mammals Study Station is under the supervision of the UMS Marine Biology Centre.

An inaugural scientific expedition to Sebatik Island jointly organized by UMS and Sabah Parks, in collaboration with the Sebatik Assemblyman's Office was carried out in February 2007. The expedition was due to the Sebatik Assemblyman, Datuk Dr Patawari Patawe's persistence in inviting UMS to the island with the prime intention of conducting detailed studies from various aspects to uplift the people's socio-economy standard there.

Sebatik Island is mostly uncharted in terms of many educational aspects, therefore, UMS decided to conduct the expedition similar to other coastal areas in Sabah.

Thriving with crocodiles

On that 2007 expedition, Prof Mohd Noh said initial findings on studies conducted at the mangrove swamp areas found it to be thriving with crocodiles besides sea mammals.

Earlier, Prof Mohd Noh, who brought the entire deans of UMS for the expedition where they stayed on the island for several nights, hoped the people in Sebatik would render full cooperation to any UMS research team in the future.

Apart from the proposed centre for sea mammals, he has also discussed with a Federal Deputy Minister on the possibility of establishing a healthcare study centre on the island, especially with the imbalance between Sebatik Malaysia that has an estimated 25,000 population, against 80,000 on the Sebatik Indonesian side.


"Selangkah Ke Menara Gading" (One Step Towards the Higher Learning Institution).

UMS is also playing its role to promote education among the rural folk by conducting programmes like the "Selangkah Ke Menara Gading" (One Step Towards the Higher Learning Institution). Invitation was extended to the parents, especially mothers and their children to visit the UMS under the programme where they would see for themselves the condition and rewards that lie ahead should their children succeed in their studies.

Greater development is expected under the Ninth Malaysia Plan (9MP)  in Sebatik Malaysia

Sebatik Assemblyman - Datuk Dr Patawari Patawe

Sebatik Assemblyman, Datuk Dr Patawari Patawe, hopes that the proposed border town and Customs checkpoint at Tanjung Arang on the island would materialize during the 9MP period.

Dr Patawari who is also Chairman of State investment arm, Warisan Harta Sabah Sdn Bhd

The establishment of both are currently being studied by a special committee under the Local Government and Housing Ministry, he said.

Sebatik Malaysia is currently lagging behind even when compared to the Indonesian side of the island.

Sabah's East coast to have better roads 04 November, 2004

Abdul Aziz said four areas would be given emphasis in Sarawak, namely the districts of Julau, Mukah, Asajaya and BaKelalan, while in Sabah the areas are Tawau, Pulau Sebatik, Pulau Bumbum and Telupid in the East Coast.


Sebatik folk to get clean water supply 15 August, 2004

Tawau: A RM12.45 million water project to be launched at Kampung Wallace Bay, Sebatik Island, off here, today (Sunday) heralds the end of the hardship faced by the community there.

Tax-free zone status for Sebatik  30 June, 2004

Tawau: Recommendations are being made to turn Sebatik Island, off the Tawau township, into a tax-free zone.