"A further 13,561ha of mangrove swamps and mudflats in Johor are to be gazetted as permanent forest reserves and national parks. This is being done by the State Government in order to have more buffer zones against tidal waves and coastal erosion.
State Forestry director Che Hashim Hassan said this "proactive move" had put Johor in the forefront of efforts to conserve the environment. "The State Government agreed to gazette seven mangrove and mudflat areas last May," he said. "This is an 80 per cent increase of the current 16,000ha gazetted mangrove and mudflat areas."
These areas are to be gazetted under Section 7(i) of the Forestry Act, 1984, and Section 3(i) of the National Parks Corporation (Johor) 1989. The areas proposed for gazetting are Sungai Kesang, Parit Bakar, Sungai Bagan, Tanjung Piai, Sungai Melayu towards Sungai Perepat, Sungai Sebana to Sungai Johor, Kuala Endau and Pulau Kukup.
Che Hashim said mudflats and mangroves would be buffer zones against tidal waves and tsunamis and create traps for oil slicks. Sungai Kesang and Parit Bakar are also bird sanctuaries. "The flora and fauna in these areas have better protection when gazetted. Offenders in these areas face stiff penalties," he said.