Johor Bahru, also spelled
Johor Baharu, Johor Baru,
("Baru" means "new" and "Johor" means "Jewel" in Malay) or Johore Bahru and
abbreviated as JB, is the capital city of Johor in southern
Johor Bahru is the southernmost city of the Eurasian
mainland, and Pasir Pelangi
, the royal village, is located
within Johor Bahru city.
population of approximately 900,000 in the city, and over 1.8
million in its metropolitan area, it is the second largest urban
area in the country after the national capital, Kuala Lumpur and its associated Klang
The total population of the
Singapore-Johor Bahru conurbation is 6.5 million, and part of the
7.8 million metropolitan area of the Sijori Growth Triangle
, which is one
of the highest in Southeast Asia
Bahru is within walking distance from Singapore, and receives 49.9% of the country's annual 22.5
million foreign tourists via its bridges and road links to
The city is an important industrial
hub for southern Malaysia and
one of the biggest industrial centers of the country. The
population growth rate of Johor Bahru is among the highest in
The city of Johor Bahru is located at . The city council
administers the highly developed southern central coast of the
metropolitan area, with a total area of 185 kmÂ². It is situated on the
Johor (also known as the Straits of Tebrau), which
separates Malaysia and Singapore.
Metropolitan Johor Bahru occupies extensive
coastal land consisting of ecologically rich swamp lands and
important river systems such as Sungai Johor, Sungai Pulai and
Sultan Abu Bakar mosque at night
Johor Bahru was founded in 1855 as when the sovereign ruler of
established his administrative headquarters here. It was then-known
as "Tanjung Puteri", and was a small Malay fishing village.
Temenggong Ibrahim renamed "Tanjung Puteri" in 1858, and son and
his successor, Temenggong Abu
(Sultan from 1885) renamed it as "Johor Bahru" on 1
January 1866. Johor Bahru quickly expanded into a town under Abu
Bakar's direction. Many of the town's buildings were constructed
during Abu Bakar's reign, notably the State
Mosque, Istana Besar and the
Menteri Besar's residence, many of
which were built by Wong Ah Fook, a Toisanese-Chinese contractor who became a close patron of Abu
The town also saw an influx of Chinese immigrants
settling in the town.
Sultan Ibrahim's reign,
Johor Bahru continued to witness modest developments; the Malay Peninsula railway extension was
completed in 1909, and the completion of the Causeway in 1923 linked the railway and road systems between
Singapore and Malay Peninsula.
Johor Bahru witnessed a
modest rate of development during the interwar period
. The state secretariat
building, Sultan Ibrahim
was completed in 1940 as the British colonial
government attempted to streamline the state's
Japanese army invaded Johor Bahru on 31 January 1942 during
the Battle of Malaya, and the
Sultan's residence at Istana Bukit
Serene became the military's preparatory base for their
Shortly after the war ended in 1946, Johor
Bahru became a hotspot for Malay
in the state. A local politician, later to become
the Menteri Besar of Johor, Onn Jaafar
formed the United
Malay National Organisation
(UMNO) in May 1946 after the Malays
expressed widespread disenchantment with the British government for
granting lax citizenship laws to non-Malays.
Bahru expanded in size from the 1960s onwards, and new townships
and industrial estates were built in villages and hamlets such as
Tebrau and Plentong that were north and east of Johor Bahru during the
1970s and 1980s.
By the early 1990s, Johor Bahru had
considerably expanded in size, and was officially granted
recognition as a city on 1 January 1994. Johor Bahru's city
council, Majlis Bandaraya Johor Bahru (MBJB) was formed and the
Dataran Bandaraya Johor
was constructed to commemorate this event.
A Central business district was
developed in the centre of the city from the mid-1990s in the area
around Jalan Wong Ah Fook and the
The state and federal government channelled
considerable amount of funds for the development of the city,
particularly more so after 2006, when the Iskandar Malaysia
blueprint was formalised.
The Johor Bahru metropolitan area runs across several districts and
is jointly managed by the following local councils:
Johor Bahru District
Kota Tinggi District
In announcing the 9th Malaysia Plan in May 2006, the area has been
identified as a focus development area of national priority, which
will see government investment of over RM12 billion (Ringgit
) between 2006 and 2010.
The District of Johor Bahru's population was around 1 200 000 (2000
census including non citizens) with current population in 2008 to
be in the region of 1.7 million. It consists of 44% Malay
, 41.5% Chinese
, 9.1% Indian
and 5.4% of other minorities.
Chinese community is represented by several dialect groups,
Teochew, Hakka, Hokkien, Cantonese,
Hainanese and Hokchew (Foochow). are the five major dialect groups
in Johor Bahru.
A small, significant minority of
Hokchew/Foochow does exist. Teochew was the lingua franca of the Chinese community until
the 1970s and a large proportion of the Chinese trace their
ancestry back to Chaozhou.
Economic development from the 1970s has
brought many Chinese from other parts of the state to resttle in
Johor and were generally from other dialect groups.
Indian community consists of Tamils,
Malayalees, Telugus, Punjabis and other
smaller groups and include a large number of migrants from states
like Perak, Selangor, Negeri
Sembilan, Penang, Kedah etc., lured
by the availability of jobs in manufacturing and services both in
Johor Bahru and Singapore.
The Indian community is one of the fastest
growing ethnic groups with their percentage of the population
increasing at every census. The increasing number of Hindu
temples being built and the establishment of
more and restaurants, retail and small businesses in the city
centre and many of the new residential areas is a reflection of
While Johor Bahru has grown and developed tremendously since
Malaysia's Independence in 1957, the social development did not
match its economic development. Crime rates have increased over the
years, from petty theft to robbery with assaults. Public
transportation is adequate to accommodate the needs of its
800,000-plus inhabitants although its roads are getting
increasingly congested as dozens of new suburban residential areas
However all these issues are being addressed under the Iskandar
Development Region (IDR) masterplan. New road and expressway
construction, multi-modal public transportation, tackling crime and
overall socio-economic development are going to change the current
The Chief Police of Johor City and the family of political
secretary of Deputy Prime Minister were the latest victims attacked
by the thieves.
As one of
the three main urban centres on the peninsular Malaysia (Kuala Lumpur and Penang being the
other two), Johor Bahru is an important industrial, logistical and
Its major industries include electronics,
resource and petrochemical refinery and shipbuilding.
Bahru is often thought of as Singapore's hinterland, similar to
what Shenzhen is to Hong
The presence of Singapore-owned companies
and tourists are significant. Johor Bahru's many shopping complexes
cater to tourists from Singapore who visit the city for shopping
and entertainment, taking advantage of the stronger Singapore
dollar. As such, Johor Bahru's retail scene is highly developed for
a city of its size. The main shopping districts are located within
Johor Bahru city, with a number of large shopping malls located in
industrial areas are Pasir Gudang and
Langsat, located east of the metropolitan area.
contain clusters of refineries, chemical processing plants, and
shipbuilding factories. Light to medium industrial areas are mainly
located north and north-west of the metropolitan area in Tebrau, Tampoi, Senai, Skudai and Kulai.
Johor Bahru enjoys a close economic relationship with Singapore. A
large number of residents in Johor Bahru work in Singapore due to
higher salaries for the same jobs in Malaysia, partially because of
the stronger Singapore Dollar (roughly 1 Singapore Dollar to 2.43
Malaysian Ringgit as of Sept 2009). For the same reason, many
Singaporeans visit Johor Bahru for shopping, entertainment and
dining, or live there. Many Singaporeans own property, businesses
and factories in Johor Bahru. It is estimated that 300,000 Malaysians work
in the republic and as many as 150,000 commute daily to work in
The daily severe traffic jams at the
Immigration Checkpoints reflects the sheer volume
of people working in the republic as well as the large number of
Singaporeans entering Johor Bahru.
Under the Iskandar
masterplan, Johor Bahru is expected to grow
to a large urban area of over 3 million residents by 2025, second
in Malaysia only to the Klang Valley
growth is also expected to spill over into the neighbouring
districts of Pontian and Kota Tinggi, creating an urban area that would be even larger
than that envisaged in the masterplan, possibly over five times the
size of Singapore.
, a snack
food company, has its registered office in Johor Bahru.
Picture showing the main road in the
Johor Bahru City Centre (2009)
Johor Bahru Central Business District (CBD) or Daerah Sentral Johor Bahru
located on the southern tip of the metropolitan area. Two major
highways link the CBD to outlying suburbs, with Tebrau Highway
linking the city to the north-east and Tun Abdul Razak Highway/Senai-Skudai Highway
linking it to the north-west. Pasir
and the connecting Johor Bahru Parkway crosses
and TAR Highway about
midway and serves as the middle ring road of the metropolitan
The Johor Bahru Inner Ring
, which connects with Sultan Iskandar customs complex
aids in controlling the traffic in and around the CBD.
Access to the national expressway system is possible via the
, with entry-exit points located strategically within
the metropolitan area.
Causeway links the city to the Singapore with a six-lane road and a railway line via the
Sultan Iskandar Complex
constructed in 2008. Whereas , the Second Link Expressway located west of the metropolitan area was
constructed in 1997 to help alleviate the congested
It is linked directly to Johor Bahru Parkway and
Airport and Seaports
Johor Bahru is well served with strong connectivity to regional and
international centres: The Senai International Airport
located north-west of the metropolitan area, serves regional and
national airlines. It is one of the hubs of AirAsia
. To the west of the metropolitan area in
Nusajaya is the Port of
Tanjung Pelepas and currently ranks as Malaysia's biggest
, otherwise known as the Pasir
Gudang Port, is located on the eastern side of the metropolitan
area in the industrial area of Pasir
. It is the country's most important commodity and
mineral resources seaports as Johor is home to a large number of
major commercial plantations and Pasir Gudang is home to majority
of Malaysia resources refineries. In addition, Singapore's
world-renowned seaports and airport also caters to Johor Bahru's
transportation/logistics need, as they are both less than an hour's
drive from the city.
Johor Bahru is also home to three radio stations. Best 104
is the country's first private radio
station, Johor FM
is a government-owned
regional station, and FMJB
is another government-owned station covering only the city.
A number of urban development projects in the city centre with the
aim of making the city centre more pedestrian friendly has recently
been completed. Among these projects are:
- Pedestrianisation of Jalan Meldrum by narrowing the two-way
street into a single-lane street with the accompanying pedestrian
mall with outdoor cafe kiosks.
- Pedestrianisation of the area around OCBC Bank and City Council
- The construction of Legaran
Segget, or Segget Walk.
- The construction of Laman Tun
Sri Lanang, a small park in the heart of the city.
future plans in Johor Bahru are the construction of a monorail using Maglev
technology to link JB Sentral to Carrefour Pandan or Ã†ON Tebrau
City Shopping Centre and from JB central to Danga Bay and
Similar to the KL Monorail
all the structures are elevated, the project will have eight
stations between Johor Sentral, located next to the causeway, and
Ã†ON Tebrau City near the Pandan Hospital.
Jalur Mudra expects the Johor monorail
to ferry some 98,000 passengers daily with tickets priced between
RM1.50 and RM2.60 for the 13-minute ride between Johor Sentral and
Ã†ON Tebrau City.
- Guinness, Patrick, On the Margin of Capitalism: People and
Development in Mukim Plentong, Johor, Malaysia, Oxford University Press, 1992, ISBN
- Historical Society, Universiti
Malaya, Jernal Sejarah, 1972
- Lim, Pui Huen, Wong Ah Fook: Immigrant, Builder and
Entrepreneur, Times Edition, 2002, ISBN 9812323694
- Oakley, Mat; Brown, Joshua Samuel, Lonely Planet Singapore
City Guide, Lonely Planet, 2009,
- Winstedt, R. O, A History of Johore
(1365â€“1941), (M.B.R.A.S. Reprints, 6.) Kuala Lumpur: Malaysian
Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, 1992, ISBN 9839961462