Mersing Laguna Island project
The project was cancelled as announced by The Sultan of Johor, Sultan Ibrahim Almarhum Sultan Iskandar last September after the developer failed to fulfil a condition in the agreement. It was a relieving cancellation news although the cancellation was not due to environmental concern. Thanks to the ruler of Johor.
About the cancelled project
The sleepy town of Mersing will soon become a bustling metropolitan resort city as the Department of Environment (DoE) has approved plans for the establishment of three new islands off the town’s coast encompassing an area of 809 ha. The reclamation works will not only change the hydrology of the area, but inadvertently cause irreversible impacts to the ecology of the area.
For an area that is host to a wide variety of ecosystems such as intertidal mudflats, sea grass beds, and mangrove forests, a project of this magnitude will surely result in environmental damages. These ecosystems ecological services such as water purification, coastal protection, and food stock replenishment that are vital to sustain the nation’s wellbeing.
MNS questions the need for yet another resort island in Mersing when the town’s location itself is a boat ride away to the Mersing Islands Marine Park and Tioman Island Marine Park. These islands already face threats that we have been unable to address for many years – ranging from waste management, coastal development and reclamation, and many others. How does this justify the creation of artificial islands without first addressing pre existing problems? Are the states equipped to address resulting problems? Does the cost benefit analysis indicate that the nation will gain more, instead of using the needed resources to address current problems? Reclamation of our coast will not help promote ecotourism if coral reefs and marine life are killed off in the process.
MNS advocates that the authorities put a stop to this project and conserve our natural marine heritage. Losses from reclaiming an island at the magnitude of this project will be devastating, unnecessary, and detrimental to the nearby local communities and nation as a whole.