A group of NGOs have criticised the Johor government’s lack of commitment in tackling land issues in the state that also concerns the environment.
In a joint-statement by 42 organisations, they urged the state government to be bold in addressing the issue of a golf course being constructed in a mangrove reserve.
“This issue surfaced just two months after the media reported the de-gazettement of Pulau Kukup’s national park status.
“It is very obvious that the state government has not responded positively on both issues and shows little or no effort to rectify them.
“In our opinion, the new state government should demonstrate the administrative boldness to the public and to rectify any misconducts of the previous regime,” it said.
On Feb 14, Malaysiakini, in a special report, highlighted the construction of a golf course and hotel development in the Sungai Pulai Wetland, which is the largest remaining intact riverine mangrove system in Peninsular Malaysia.
In December last year, it was also revealed that the Pulau Kukup was degazetted as a national park and to be made into a sultanate park, under the ownership of the Johor sultan.
Johor ruler Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar had said the area’s use will remain as the national park but Putrajaya has opposed the move, pointing out that such an arrangement meant Pulau Kukup would not have official and legal recognition as a national park.
The Pakatan Harapan-led Johor government has blamed both projects on the previous BN-led government.
The NGOs, led by Johor Yellow Flame, said the Johor government must halt further development of sensitive areas and to provide the public with a full account of the situation for the preservation of mangrove reserves.
They added that if necessary, the federal government should intervene.
“Should the Harapan government do nothing or remain silent…. the approval rating and public confidence in the Harapan government will be severely affected but also tarnish the reputation of our nation,” he said.