Proposal to build casino on island off Changi

Build a casino on an isle off Singapore?

This had been proposed by the Tourist Promotion Board decades before the integrated resorts made their debut here.

The isle being considered was Pulau Sajahat, off Changi, and the plan was to have infrastructure like a hotel, casino and greyhound racing stadium, as well as Turkish bath and massage facilities.

Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew told the media about the proposal, but said the isle would be aimed at foreign visitors, not Singaporeans.

"Singaporeans will serve them. But, for Singaporeans, we will go to sleep early. We will wake up early. Tomorrow we work hard.

BIG PLANS FOR CHANGE ALLEY

We want to put Change Alley, where the majority of tourists to Singapore shop, on the world map. This must be done because we felt that we in Change Alley are contributing immensely towards the tourist trade of Singapore.

MR SEOW KONG HOE, secretary of the newly set up Singapore Change Alley Merchants' Association, on how the group hoped to paint a good image of Singapore's shopping facilities abroad

"If you go for a massage and tomorrow your bones are weaker, we will never succeed," said Mr Lee.

The uninhabited Pulau Sajahat once served as a British fort and had a smaller isle near it.

The $20 million plan was to reclaim the sea between the two isles to make for a pleasure island of about 1.6ha.

The tourist board's chairman, Mr K.M. Byrne, said the advantage of developing the island was that no one lived there. "Nobody is disturbed. You can go there and gamble. There is no noise, and it is easy to control."

But the plan was called off eventually as Pulau Sajahat, at about 1ha, was deemed too small.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on October 25, 2015, with the headline 'Proposal to build casino on island off Changi'. Print Edition | Subscribe