AMID PUBLIC UPROAR, JOHOR SULTAN DECREES PULAU KUKUP TO STAY NATIONAL PARK – BUT QUESTIONS REMAIN OVER WHO WILL ACTUALLY OWN & CONTROL THE LAND: WILL PULAU KUKUP STAY ‘SULTANATE LAND’ – OR WILL OWNERSHIP REVERT TO STATE GOVT, WHICH HAS TO FOOT THE BILL TO MAINTAIN PARK

PULAU Kukup will remain a national park despite it being degazetted as one by the Johor government to become “sultanate land”.

This was decreed by Sultan of Johor Sultan Ibrahim Iskandar to the Johor Land and Mines Department.

“The sultan has consented that Pulau Kukup, which has been placed under the Sultanate Land Enactment, remains to be used as the Johor National Park, and has to be maintained and supervised by the Johor state government,” said the sultan’s private secretary Jaba Mohd Noah in a letter to the department director.

In the letter dated December 5, Jaba also said the island would be managed by the Johor National Park to turn it into a “tourism product” for the state.

The status of Pulau Kukup became hot news after the state government degazetted the island as a national park during a state executive committee meeting on September 24.

The gazette on the decision was published on October 25.

Following criticism from various parties, Tunku Ismail said Pulau Kukup, the world’s second largest uninhabited mangrove island, was degazetted from a being fully protected national park to become crown land so that it would be “better protected”.

“In the past, several national parks were privatised. But in Johor, His Majesty Sultan Ibrahim has a different vision.

“To better protect all national parks, Sultan Ibrahim decreed that all the national parks be changed to Sultanate land,” he had tweeted.

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 647ha and is surrounded by some 800ha of mudflats.

The uninhabited island was gazetted 21 years ago and touted as one of the world’s protected wetlands. -the malaysian insight

Johor assembly approves motion to review Pulau Kukup’s national park status

ISKANDAR PUTERI— 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.

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. – MALAY MAIL

THE MALAYSIAN INSIGHT / MALAY MAIL

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