The Malay name for this island is literally translated as "dead back" or "behind the dead"; belakang means "at the back" or "behind"; mati means "dead". It is also called the dead island or the island of the dead.
Different versions of how the island came to acquire such an unpropitious name abound. One account attributed the ominous name to murder and piracy in the island's past. (source: Wikipedia)
In a 1972 contest organised by the Singapore Tourist Promotion Board, the island was renamed Sentosa, a Malay word meaning "peace and tranquillity". (source: wikipedia)