Johor Menteri Besar Datuk Osman Sapian must explain how Pulau Kukup had been taken over and is now considered Sultanate land after being degazetted as a National Park.
Osman urged to provide answers to:
- how Pulau Kukup had been taken over and is now Sultanate land
- whether he was telling the truth about the Johor palace not interfering with the administration of the state
- if taking over the island is legal
In a posting on his popular blog, veteran newsman Datuk A Kadir Jasin said if the Pakatan Harapan (PH) state government under Osman approved the deal then it is no better than the last Barisan Nasional (BN) government.
“If Osman can’t explain to the satisfaction of the people who voted him and the PH in seven months ago, then he should consider resigning,” he said in his latest posting titled ‘Poser to the Johor MB on island transfer’.
Kadir also questioned Osman about the Johor palace’s interference in the administration of the state.
“I would like to ask Osman if he was telling me the truth when he told me before the start of the Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM) Supreme Leadership Council meeting on November 28 that the Palace did not interfere with the administration of the state.
“I asked him if there is truth to the rumours that the Palace was taking state lands – even those measuring as little as half an acre.
“He said no. But said he wouldn’t know if such a thing happened during the last (Barisan Nasional) state government.”
Kadir said he reminded Osman that the latter was a member of the BN state government for three terms – from 1999 to 2013 and that it was only in the May 9 general elections that he contested as a PH candidate.
“So I am surprised to read media reports that quoted the Crown Prince of Johor, Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim, as saying that Pulau Kukup had been taken over and is now Sultanate land – tanah raja.
“There is no need to beat around the bush. I would like to ask Osman and his PH colleagues if this is true and legal.”
Concerns about the island’s status were sparked by a gazette dated Oct 25, that had gone viral on social media, notifying that the state authorities will cancel the whole area as a national park under subsection 3(3) of the National Park Environment Enactment (Johor) 1989.
It was reported that Pulau Kukup will become Sultanate land after the Johor government de-gazetted it from a national park.
However, the Johor state assembly yesterday passed an urgent motion for the state government to review the matter.
The motion was approved and passed by the state assembly with a majority support of the Pakatan Harapan-led assembly.
Earlier this week, Tunku Ismail was quoted as saying that the island, one of the few pristine wetlands in South-East Asia, will be “better protected” after its status is changed from national park to Sultanate land.
Tunku Ismail said it was also practised in the United Kingdom where all the parks belong to the Crown.
However, in a twitter post yesterday, Tunku Ismail said Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar had decreed that Pulau Kukup would remain a national park after it became Sultanate Land.
Pulau Kukup, located off the coast of Pontian in south Johor, has been a national park since 1997 and mostly uninhabited.
Renowned as the world’s second largest uninhabited mangrove island, it is one of five Ramsar sites in Malaysia.
Ramsar sites are wetland sites accorded international importance under the United Nations’ Convention on Wetlands.
According to the Johor National Parks Corporation website, Pulau Kukup plays host to endangered animals such as the flying fox, smooth-coated otter, bearded pig and long-tailed macaque. – NST
Earlier report: Dec 5, Johor Exco Claims BN Degazetted Pulau Kukup