We, the undersigned NGOs, call on Johor Menteri Besar Osman Sapian and the state executive council to immediately reverse the degazetting of Pulau Kukup and restore its status as a national park.
We also want the menteri besar and his exco members to give a solemn undertaking that there will not be any more degazetting of other national parks in the state, like Endau-Rompin Peta, Endau-Rompin Selai, Tanjung Piai, Gunung Ledang, Taman Laut Sultan Iskandar and the Sungai Pulai Ramsar site.
These national parks are part of our natural heritage, and protecting them preserves the diversity of ecosystems for the enjoyment of our future generations, both locally and globally. Once lost, the rich flora and fauna that are found in these national parks would be irrecoverable, and therefore they are priceless.
Pulau Kukup is a Ramsar-site (one of seven Ramsar sites in Malaysia), which means that Malaysia is a “contracting party” to the Convention on Wetlands (called the Ramsar Convention). It is an inter-governmental treaty that provides the framework for the conservation and wise use of wetlands and their resources.
Wetlands provide us with water; they protect us from floods, droughts and other disasters; and they provide food and livelihoods to millions of people globally.
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Pulau Kukup is unique example of an intact mangrove island, which is a rarity in Malaysia. In South East Asia, mangrove islands have disappeared more frequently in the name of development as compared to coastal or riverine mangroves.
The Johor government has a duty to guarantee that this natural heritage is protected by law and no commercial development should ever encroach their borders. Degazetting these protected lands is to betray the trust people placed in the state government.
We stand in support of the motion passed by the Johor Legislative Assembly on 6 December for the state government to review the degazetting. Such a review and reversal of the degazette would be most welcomed, we believe, by all Johoreans and Malaysians.
We hope that the menteri besar and state exco will learn from this unfortunate episode that they need to consult all stakeholders, be more transparent and accountable before undertaking any major policies.
A full report of the events that led to this degazetting incident should be made public.
In the new political environment after the recent general election, Malaysians have a higher expectation for the Pakatan Harapan government to be more consultative and responsive to the concerns of the rakyat.
The above statement is endorsed in its entirety by the following civil society organisations:
- Agora Society Malaysia
- Center for Orang Asli Concerns (COAC)
- Center to Combat Corruption & Cronyism (C4)
- Childline Malaysia
- Eden Welfare Charity Society
- Friends of Penang Botanic Gardens
- Gema Johor
- Green Earth Society
- Himpunan Hijau
- Ikram Johor
- Institut Kesedaran Rakyat (IKR)
- International Women’s Peace Group (IWPG) Malaysia
- Jobada Johor
- Johor People’s Action Group (JPAG)
- Johor Yellow Flame (JYF)
- Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall (KLSCAH)
- Kluang Bersih
- LLG Cultural Development Centre
- Malacca Johor Diocese Catholic Lawyers Guild
- Monitoring Sustainability of Globalisation
- Movement for Change, Sarawak (MoCS)
- Muslim Professionals Forum (MPF)
- Peka Malaysia
- Penang Forum
- Penang Heritage Trust
- People Ideas Culture
- Perak Heritage Society
- Persatuan Aktivis Sahabat Alam (Kuasa)
- Persatuan Sahabat Wanita Selangor
- Pertubuhan Alam Sekitar Sejahtera Malaysia (Grass Malaysia)
- Pertubuhan Kasih dan Sokongan (Anbum Tharavum) Johor
- Pusat Komas
- Sahabat Rakyat
- Sam Addams
- Saya Anak Bangsa Malaysia (SABM)
- Selamatkan Kuala Lumpur (SKL)
- Suara Rakyat Malaysia (Suaram)
- Sustainable Development Network M’sia (Susden M’sia)
- Tamil Foundation
- Teoh Beng Hock Trust for Democracy
- Toy Libraries Malaysia
- United Chinese School Alumni Associations of Malaysia (UCSAAM)
- UUM Progressive Front