PONTIAN: The Johor government has allocated RM10 million to upgrade six national parks in the state, in preparation for the arrival of tourists in conjunction with the Visit Johor Year 2026.

State Health and Environment Committee chairman Ling Tian Soon said the upgrade work has been carried out, involving the existing facilities and infrastructure, to provide comfort to visitors at these locations.

He said that the upgrading efforts which have been included in the state Budget 2024, are not only to preserve these locations but also to encourage health-related activities and loving the environment.

“Upgrading work in these six national parks has already commenced this year (2024), and it needs to be completed before Visit Johor Year 2026.

“Pulau Kukup National Park that we visited today, although the upgrade work (jetty) is in progress, it will re-open on May 17, with a target of 100 visitors per day,” he told reporters, after a working visit in conjunction with the re-opening of Pulau Kukup National Park, here today.

Ling said that tourists visiting Pulau Kukup National Park, which is one of the Ramsar sites in Malaysia, have the opportunity to see a hybrid mangrove tree which is over 100 years old, Rhizophora x Lamarkii.

He said the tree is the only one found on the island, and the state government, through the Johor National Park Corporation, will ensure that the tree will be well looked after as the main attraction to Pulau Kukup.

“We have also collaborated with Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) to ensure that the Rhizophora x Lamarkii tree, which is very rare in the world, is protected from threats which could result in the tree being damaged or killed.

“This team (UKM researchers) also act as advisors to the National Park for the care of the island, and also life, especially the mangroves found here,” he said.