BN made the decision but you enforced it, lawyer tells Johor govt on Pulau Kukup

Lawyers for Liberty adviser N Surendran.

PETALING JAYA: Rights group Lawyers for Liberty (LFL) has continued its attack on the Johor government over Pulau Kukup’s loss of national park status, saying it is unacceptable to pin the blame on the previous Barisan Nasional (BN) administration.

In a statement, LFL adviser N Surendran said the onus was on the Pakatan Harapan (PH) state administration as the decision to de-gazette the park, although made under the BN state government in March this year, was enforced by the new state authority on Sept 24.

“While it is true that the BN state government made the decision to de-gazette Pulau Kukup in March, it was not responsible for the actual de-gazetting.

“The de-gazetting order was made by the PH state authority on Sept 24 through Gazette No.3808, more than four months after the fall of the BN state government.

“Hence, de-gazetting was the act of the PH state government, not BN.”

He was responding to senior Johor state exco member Aminolhuda Hassan, who said yesterday that the current administration had no knowledge of the matter.

Aminolhuda told The Malay Mail that the PH-led state government only knew about the issue after the decision had been made and approved.

However, Surendran who yesterday accused the new Johor administration of being “even worse than BN in terms of environmental preservation and protection”, asked why PH had then gone through with the decision to de-gazette Pulau Kukup.

“The PH state exco had every opportunity to reverse the decision of the previous BN government. They did not do so.

“Hence they must take full responsibility for the revocation of national park status for one of the most important ecological areas in Malaysia as well as Southeast Asia.”

He urged the Johor government to revoke or reverse the de-gazetting, saying Pulau Kukup could easily be restored as a national park.

He also called on the federal government to preserve the park by invoking the National Heritage Act 2005, under which any site with “natural heritage” may be declared a heritage site by the commissioner of heritage.