Malaysia and Singapore may have amicably split 56 years ago but did you know there’s still land belonging to Malaysia in Singapore that is not the embassy?
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A few clicks here and there on the Internet has brought to our attention that there are “foreign territories” in Singapore belonging to Malaysia.
In fact, Malaysia is the only country to have plots of land in Singapore with “extraterritorial jurisdiction” which means we have the right to exercise control over these areas.
While Malaysia controls these two plots of land, it actually belongs to the state of Johor and the Sultan of Johor.
How did this come about?
Possession of both pieces of land pre-dates Singapore’s Independence.
Although under Malaysian jurisdiction, there are no immigration or customs checks to enter these territories.
Where in Singapore are these 2 plots of lands belonging to Malaysia?
Masjid Temenggong Daeng Ibrahim
Situated in the southern part of Singapore, this mosque was named after “one of the richest Malay chieftains in the Malay world” during his rule – Temenggong Daeng Ibrahim.
It sits on 1.2 hectares of land in Telok Blangah where the Istana Lama used to be when it belonged to his father, Temenggong Abdul Rahman, the Temenggong of Johor at the time.
There is a Muslim cemetery adjacent to the mosque that holds the royal tomb of both Temenggongs.
The mosque is open to the public and despite it being located across a busy shopping mall in Singapore, it is still very peaceful and highly recommended to visit at night.
Location: 30 Telok Blangah Rd, Singapore 098827
Istana Tyersall and Istana Woodneuk
It may not come as a surprise but the other plots of land belonging to Malaysia in Singapore are related to Masjid Temenggong Daeng Ibrahim as it was then passed to Temenggong Abu Bakar (aka as the 1st Sultan of Johor / Sultan Abu Bakar) who later moved his residence to Tyersall – which he acquired from prominent newspaper editor and lawyer William Napier.
This brings us to Istana Tyersall and Istana Woodneuk. Both places sit on 24.4 hecactres of land beside the Singapore Botanic Gardens. It was formerly the site for the Sultan and his wives.
While Istana Tyersall has since been demolished, Istana Woodneuk still stands albeit in dilapidated condition. It has even been featured several times in different urban exploration videos and blogs of abandoned buildings.
What is the significance of having Malaysian land in Singapore?
Aside from bragging rights for those in Singapore to say “I’ve stepped on Malaysian land” during a time where borders are closed, there really isn’t much importance aside from its historical value.
Although it isn’t advisable to visit Istana Woodneuk due to its condition, Masjid Temenggong Daeng Ibrahim is very much open to visit and pray in – though access may be limited due to the COVID-19 restrictions.
Former advertising mad woman - turned mother to an amazing little girl born 3 months early - and now a returned writer. Also a textbook ambivert with no clue about today's pop music but a walking encyclopedia of music from the 80s and 90s.