I’ve ‘surrendered’ all logging quotas, says Johor ruler

The Sultan of Johor, Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar, during his meeting on the state of Johor’s forests. (Facebook pic)

PETALING JAYA: The Sultan of Johor, Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar, has “surrendered” all quotas allocated to him for logging, said the Johor Forestry Department in a statement today.

The statement, posted on Sultan Ibrahim’s official Facebook page, comes in the wake of reports scrutinising a foreign company-owned golf course built on protected wetlands in Sungai Pulai, Johor.

State Forestry Department director Jeffri Abd Rashid clarified that Sultan Ibrahim advised the state to stop issuing logging quotas five years ago and then “surrendered” the quotas issued to him.

“He also decreed that enforcement efforts to preserve the forests must be improved and an action plan must be drafted to protect forests and wildlife,” the statement added.

Sultan Ibrahim earlier granted an audience to Jeffri, Johor Menteri Besar Osman Sapian and Johor state secretary Azmi Rohani. Jeffri briefed the group on the state of Johor’s forests.

Earlier, a green group and rights group had called for federal intervention to stop further destruction of the Sungai Pulai wetland, which is a protected wetland under the Ramsar Convention 1971.

Activists raised the alarm on the golf course project — which includes a hotel — which they claim is within the Sungai Pulai mangrove reserve in Gelang Patah.

Sources told FMT the project, which opened its doors to the public late last year, reportedly cost RM2 billion.

The company involved in the project has repeatedly ignored requests for comments after a recent news expose.

Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad is said to be aware of this, but one of his Cabinet ministers has since said Putrajaya is unable to do anything except relay its disappointment to the state government.

FMT understands Water, Land and Natural Resources Minister Xavier Jayakumar is in discussions with Osman over this matter.