ISKANDAR PUTERI, Dec 6 — Johor Crown Prince Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim said he did not see a need for all the fuss over the move to degazette Pulau Kukup as a national park because the mangrove island will remain under the protection of the sultanate.
“I do not understand why this issue has to be blown up and politicised as land matters are the prerogative of state government,” he said on his Twitter account today.
“I am confident that whatever decision made by His Majesty and the state government are in the best interest and sovereignty of Johor,” Tunku Ismail added.
The tweet came after the Johor State Assembly approved an emergency motion today to urge the state government to review its decision to cancel Pulau Kukus’s national park status.
The state executive committee’s decision on September 24 to degazette the island, which is recognised as a Ramsar Convention ‘Wetland of International Importance’ site, had caused an uproar among environmental groups and politicians.
Tunku Ismail also shared on his Twitter account, an official letter, dated December 5, from the Sultan of Johor’s private secretary’s office on Pulau Kukup’s status which was addressed to the Johor Land and Mines director.
It said that Johor Ruler Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar had agreed that Pulau Kukup should be placed under the Sultanate Land Enactment.
It also said that it will continue to enjoy the status of a national park where it must be guarded and regulated by the state government through the Johor National Parks Corporation to become a state tourism product.
Tunku Ismail said the move was part of the planning and vision of Sultan Ibrahim similar to the Sultan Iskandar Marine Park in Mersing.
Earlier, Pakatan Harapan’s Senggarang assemblyman Khairuddin A. Rahim, who tabled the emergency motion, said people were worried about the pollution and damage to the mangrove island’s ecosystem if it were to lose its national park status.
He was shocked to learn that the degazettement was done without public participation or discussion.
Pulau Kukup, located off the coast of Pontian, is a 647-hectare island surrounded by some 800 hectares of mudflats. It was gazetted as a national park in 1997.