JOHOR BARU: Pulau Kukup, said to be among the biggest uninhabited mangrove forests in the world, will remain a national park following confirmation from the Johor palace.
The state assembly also approved an emergency motion yesterday, saying that the national park status should be maintained for environmental preservation.
Pulau Kukup, which is about one kilometre away from the mainland near Pontian, came under the spotlight when a gazette dated Oct 25 about the state authorities cancelling its status as a protected national park went viral on social media.
Yesterday, Tunku Mahkota Johor Tunku Ismail Ibni Sultan Ibrahim tweeted a letter from the office of the Johor Sultan’s Private Secretary to the state Land and Mines Office.
The letter, dated Dec 5, carried the signature of Johor Ruler Sultan Ibrahim Ibni Almarhum Sultan Iskandar and made clear Pulau Kukup’s status as a national park.
According to the letter, Pulau Kukup will remain a national park despite its status being changed to a “Sultanate land”.
The letter also stated that Sultan Ibrahim had agreed to the position of Pulau Kukup under the Sultanate Land Enactment.
However, the island will continue to be used as a national park where it must be guarded and regulated by the state government through the Johor National Parks Corporation and become a tourism attraction for the state.
Tunku Ismail said that under Sultan Ibrahim’s vision and plan, Pulau Kukup would remain a national park, similar to the Sultan Iskandar Marine Park in Mersing.
“I’m confident that whatever decision made by His Majesty and the state government is in the best interest and sovereignty of Johor,” he said.
“I do not understand why this issue has to be blown up and politicised, as land matters are the prerogative of the state government.”
It is learnt that the state executive council will hold a meeting, chaired by Johor Mentri Besar Datuk Osman Sapian, on Dec 12 to discuss the matter.
Yesterday, the state assembly adopted an emergency motion that the Johor executive council review the move to de-gazette Pulau Kukup.
During the debate on the motion, the assemblymen noted how Pulau Kukup could be a buffer for waves and erosion and that it is rich in flora and fauna.