According to an advertisement, the popular diving hotspot Mantanani is currently for sale at RM12 million. The island is made up of three islands, Mantanani Besar, Mantanani Kecil and Lungisan and is well-known among divers for its sightings of dugongs.
The sale is open to non-citizens and is approximately 80 kilometres from the city, off Kota Belud. Mantanani has previously also been put up for sale.
A 2.95ha lot was listed for RM14.3 million in 2021, with the seller stating that he could convert the native title (NT) to a country lease.
In 2011, Mengalum island was listed for sale for US$18 million (RM75.21 million), Pandanan island off Semporna was listed for US$2 million, and Montukod island off Papar was listed for RM35 million.
Islands in Sabah are frequently listed for sale.
According to The Vibes, after owner Potensi Bernas Sdn Bhd was liquidated, Daat Island, which is part of Labuan, will be auctioned on January 21.
The 237.55-hectare island has a reserve price of RM135 million.
Mantanani gained attention in 2017 after the theft of the Usukan shipwreck, which is 38.2 kilometres from the islands and a renowned diving spot, was discovered.
The Usukan wreckage involves three Japanese ships, the Kokusei Maru, Higane Maru, and Hiyori Maru, which were sunk by the US during the Pacific War in 1944. The ships were allegedly destroyed in a malicious metal salvage operation.
The Ministry of Tourism, Culture, and Environment in Sabah hopes to complete the project of the territory around Mantanani which is being gazetted as a state marine park, by 2023. However, a state ministry source told The Vibes that the government is unable to prevent the selling of private islands.
“If the villagers or locals decide to sell their land, this is beyond the state government’s control.”
Some areas of the island are now owned by commercial corporations, while others are still owned by locals with NTs. Furthermore, the Tunku Abdul Rahman Park's Gaya Island is separated into three categories of land ownership: resorts, Sabah Parks, and locals.