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    Jun 25, 2014

    Forest City reclamation suspended


    MALAYSIA'S Department of Environment has issued a temporary order to stop all coastal land-reclamation works for the Forest City development near the Second Link at Tuas, over which Singapore had raised concerns, the New Straits Times (NST) reported yesterday.

    The chairman of the state health and environment committee, Ayub Rahmat, said the order was issued a week ago.

    "The order came about a week ago, and all land-reclamation works in the area have been suspended pending further studies on the environmental effects of the project," he told NST on Monday.

    The reclamation works for the Forest City tourist-hub project started in March, and could be completed by the end of the year, NST said.

    Mr Ayub said that the project's developers, China's Country Garden Holdings and Malaysia's state-owned Kumpulan Prasarana Rakyat Johor, would have to negotiate with the department to have the suspension lifted.

    Meanwhile, the state government will monitor the discussions.

    "We will wait for the department to complete its studies on the project, after which we will ensure that all guidelines are met," he told NST.

    On Monday, Malaysian news agency Bernama reported that the reclamation works were under way, quoting the Johor director of the Department of Environment, Mokhtar Abdul Majid.

    Singapore had over the weekend expressed concern to Malaysia about the reclamation works in the Johor Strait.

    On Singapore's concerns, Mr Ayub said that the state government valued ties with its neighbour.

    "We will look into the issue of other transboundary effects because of the land-reclamation works," he said.

    Environmentalists have said that the project may affect the coastal eco-system and the livelihood of fishermen in the area, The Malaysian Insider reported earlier.