Save Pulau Kukup National Park

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We respectfully wish to draw His Majesty's attention to a major threat to Johor's mangrove ecosystem, brought about by the revocation of the legal status of Pulau Kukup National Park on the 24th of September 2018 by the Johor State Government.

Although not required by law, the de-gazettement was done without any prior public consultation, thus denying the public an opportunity to raise any arguments on this matter of public interest. Some of the arguments as to why the park should not have been revoked include:

  1. Established in 1997 under the National Parks (Johor) Corporation Enactment 1989, the 647.5-ha Pulau Kukup National Park protected the second largest mangrove island in the world.
  2. The park, which was an integral component of Malaysia’s protected area network, is also of global conservation significance. It was designated as a Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar site) in 2003 and forms the heart of the Southwest Johor Coast Important Bird Area (IBA) that was designated in 2004.
  3. The withdrawal of legal protection will pave the way for large scale development of the island. This is likely to cause the loss of biodiversity and critical ecosystem services, with detrimental impacts at the local, national and global levels.
  4. At the local level, for example, our fish stock will be affected, as mangroves are breeding grounds for many commercial fish species.
  5. On the global scale, it will contribute towards climate change, since mangroves are important carbon sinks (more carbon is stored in mangroves than most other habitats, including dipterocarp forests).
  6. This action is in direct contravention to Malaysia’s own National Policy on Biological Diversity 2016-2025. For example, Target 6 of the policy states that: “By 2025, at least 20% of terrestrial areas and inland waters, and 10% of coastal and marine areas, are conserved through a representative system of protected areas and other effective area-based conservation measures”.
  7. This action is also in contravention to a number of multilateral biodiversity agreements that the nation is signatory to, such as the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar Convention) and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
  8. From a geopolitical perspective, the location of Pulau Kukup at the southern entrance to the Straits of Malacca as well as its proximity to Singapore and Indonesia means that any development there is liable to have a wide range of implications including strains on bilateral ties, transboundary pollution and ship navigation.

We therefore appeal to Tuanku, as the sovereign Ruler of Johor, to help avert this impending tragedy that will affect all of us, from occurring. We raise these concerns without prejudice.

Daulat Tuanku.