Malaysia's Department of Environment has ordered a temporary halt to land reclamation works for a man-made island in the Johor Strait, the New Straits Times reported yesterday.
The stop-work order follows a decision to study the environmental impact of the project in greater detail, the newspaper reported.
"The order came about a week ago and all land reclamation works in the area have been suspended pending further studies," Johor State Health and Environment Committee chairman Ayub Rahmat was quoted as saying.
The project, called Forest City, is a joint venture of Chinese property developer Country Garden Holdings and Johor government company Kumpulan Prasarana Rakyat Johor.
It will have luxury homes, a tourist hub and recreational facilities, and is expected to be completed in 30 years' time.
Singapore had raised concerns over the land reclamation project, saying there may be trans-boundary issues involved and there were international obligations for both countries to work closely on such matters.
Environmental activists had also voiced their worries on the shoreline reclamation works, the newspaper said.
Reclamation work for the 49-hectare tourist hub began in early March and was expected to be completed by the year end.
According to Malaysian regulations, projects that are larger than 50 hectares in size require an environmental impact assessment (EIA) report before they can be approved.
Mr Ayub clarified that an EIA report for the tourist hub had already been prepared because of concerns about its density.
"As the project will have an 80-room hotel, increasing the area's density, a preliminary EIA was conducted and its findings submitted to the authorities," he said.
The state government would monitor further discussions between the project developers and the Department of Environment.
"We will wait for the department to complete their studies on the project, after which we will also ensure that all the guidelines are met," he told the New Straits Times.
According to a project map, a part of the island will be under the Second Link, which connects Tuas in Singapore to Johor.
This article was first published on June 25, 2014.
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