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ISKANDAR PUTERI, Dec 6 — The Johor State Assembly has today approved an emergency motion to urge the state government to review its decision to degazette Pulau Kukup as a national park.
The motion was supported by all Pakatan Harapan (PH) members of the State Assembly.
PH’s Senggarang assemblyman Khairuddin A. Rahim, who proposed the motion, said he was shocked to learn that the degazettement was done without public participation or discussion.
He also cited the National Policy on Biological Diversity 2016-2025 as stating that Malaysia is committed to preserving at least 20 per cent of hinterland and 10 per cent of coastal land.
“Malaysia is one of the signatories of the United Nations (UN) Convention on Biological Diversity and we should put an effort into Pulau Kukup as a national park,” said Khairuddin.
Speaking in support of the motion, Tenang assemblyman Mohd Solihan Badri and Bukit Naning assemblyman and Md Ysahrudin Kusni said the island is a tourism enclave and a national asset.
State senior executive committee member Aminolhuda Hassan said the matter will be brought to the state executive committee on December 12.
Malay Mail had learnt that Pulau Kukup’s degazettement was actually approved by the previous Barisan Nasional (BN) government on March 7 this year but it was never formalised.
On September 24, the state executive committee under PH had approved the degazettement and this time, a gazette on the decision was published on October 25.
Aminolhuda told reporters yesterday that the state government was unaware of the previous government’s decision.
The decision was met with criticism from environmental groups and politicians.
The move will nullify Pulau Kukup’s status as a Ramsar Convention ‘Wetland of International Importance’ site.
Defending the state government’s decision, Johor Crown Prince Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim said yesterday that the island would become Sultanate Land, allowing it to be better protected.
He said this was practised in the United Kingdom, where all the parks belong to the Crown, but does not change the status, policies and usage of the park as it continues to retain its national park status.
Besides Pulau Kukup, Johor has five other national parks, which are Endau-Rompin Peta, Endau-Rompin Selai, Tanjung Piai, Gunung Ledang, and Sultan Iskandar Marine Park.
Pulau Kukup measures approximately 647 hectares and is surrounded by some 800 hectares of mudflats.