KOTA ISKANDAR, Dec 5 — The Pakatan Harapan (PH) Johor state government has denied degazetting Pulau Kukup’s national park status, insisting that the decision was made by the previous Barisan Nasional (BN) administration.
Senior Johor state executive councillor Aminolhuda Hassan claimed that the current administration had no knowledge about the matter.
“We did not know about this (Pulau Kukup’s degazettement) because the approval came during an executive committee meeting by the previous (BN) administration in March.
“We only knew about this after the decision was made and approved,” said Aminolhuda, who is also the Parit Yaani assemblyman, when met at the state assembly at the Sultan Ismail Building in Kota Iskandar here today.
Malay Mail learnt that Pulau Kukup’s degazettement was approved by the previous BN government on March 7 this year, just before the May 9 general election.
The present PH state government was ostensibly not aware of the decision.
Earlier, Johor Crown Prince Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim said Pulau Kukup will become “Sultanate Land” to protect it after the island was degazetted as a national park by the state government.
It was reported yesterday that Pulau Kukup may cease having its Ramsar Convention ‘Wetland of International Importance’ recognition after the Johor government cancelled its status as a national park.
Currently, Johor has six national parks, including Endau-Rompin Peta, Endau-Rompin Selai, Tanjung Piai, Pulau Kukup, Gunung Ledang, and Sultan Iskandar Marine Park.
Pulau Kukup measures approximately 647 hectares and is surrounded by some 800 hectares of mudflats.
The uninhabited island was gazetted as a national park 21 years ago and is touted as among the world’s protected wetlands. In January 2003, Pulau Kukup was granted the status of a ‘Wetland of International Importance’ or Ramsar Site, by the Geneva-based Ramsar Convention Bureau.
It is one of the few remaining pristine wetlands in South-east Asia and one of five Ramsar sites in Malaysia.
Ramsar sites are wetland sites designated to be of international importance under the United Nations Convention on Wetlands.