Pulau Kukup, one of the world’s largest mangrove forests, almost lost its protected status and now belongs to the Johor crown

Pulau Kukup is a Ramsar site – a wetlands of international importance under the United Nations’ Ramsar Convention on Wetlands.
Johor National Parks Corporation
  • One of Johor’s six national parks, Pulau Kukup, was stripped of its status following a government de-gazetting of the island.

  • There has been huge public outcry to preserve the park’s wildlife and ecology.

  • The Johor Sultan has converted the park into Sultanate land, and promised to let it retain its national park status.

Malaysia’s Pulau Kukup – said to be among the biggest mangrove forests in the world – has managed to hold on to its national park status following a move by the Johor Sultan to claim the island as Sultanate land.

Previously, the island was at the heart of major public outcry when photos of an unannounced government gazette to strip it of its protected national park status went viral on social media, the Star reported.


The largely-uninhabited island, located off the coast of Pontian in southern Johor, first gained national park status in 1997.

It is also one of five Ramsar sites in Malaysia. Ramsar sites are wetland sites of international importance as designated by the United Nations’ Ramsar Convention on Wetlands.

Following furor over the state government’s move to de-gazette the island, the Johor State Assembly approved an emergency motion on Wednesday (Dec 5) urging the government to reconsider, the Malay Mail reported.

Now the island has been claimed as Sultanate land.

In a tweet on Thursday (Dec 6), Johor crown prince Tunku Mahkota Johor Tunku Ismail Ibni Sultan Ibrahim published a letter signed by Sultan Ibrahim Ibni Almarhum Sultan Iskandar addressed to the Johor Land and Mines Department, the Star said.

The letter stated that Sultan Ibrahim would place Pulau Kukup under the Sultanate Land Enactment.

In another tweet, the Johor prince added that the island would keep its status as a national park – a similar arrangement to the Sultan Iskandar Marine Park in Mersing.

There are six national parks in Johor. Apart from Pulau Kukup and Sultan Iskandar Marine Park, the other parks are Endau-Rompin Peta, Endau-Rompin Selai, Tanjung Piai, and Gunung Ledang.

Endangered animals living in Pulau Kukup include flying foxes, otters, bearded pigs and long-tailed macaques.

The prince also agreed to meet nature lovers who wanted to know how the island’s ecosystem would be preserved.

Read also: