|• Hokkien POJ||Jū-lông|
Colonial Era and Post-Independence
Jurong is probably derived from the Malay word jerung, which means a "shark". The first road in the area, Jurong Road was cut around 1852-1853, during the time of John Thomson's tenure as Chief Surveyor. In the early 1900s, Jurong was uncharted territory, mainly dominated by swamps with low hills covered by shrubs and a thick jungle. The word jurong (jurung in current Indonesian spelling) refers to the elevated porch of a traditional house. Thus considering the area's many small hills in a swamp, Jurong may refer to these small elevated lands in the swamp. In 1929, Jurong Road was extended to Bukit Timah, connecting it to the rest of Singapore Town. Jurong remained a sleepy rural area until 1959, when Singapore became a self-governing colony. In 1963, the then Prime Minister of Singapore, Lee Kuan Yew, made Jurong the initial constituency on his first visit to constituencies in the Republic. At that time, Jurong was without a citizen's consultative committee.
Many roads within the Jurong Industrial Estate named in the late 1960s and early 1970s drew inspiration from the nature of industrial activities in the estate and related aspects of industrialisation. For the local Chinese population, Jurong was formerly called peng kang, a reference to a gambier plantation located in the area. After 1906, rubber plantations dominated the area — Bulim Estate, Lokyang Estate, Chong Keng Estate, Seng Toh Estate and Yunnan Estate, giving rise to many of the local names for areas in Jurong.
Formation of Jurong Industrial Estate
The government saw industrialisation as a solution to the country's economic problems and Jurong was picked as a prime area for development. Jurong's coastal waters were deep, making it suitable for a port; the land was mostly state-owned; and landfill was readily available from the area's many hills. It is also relatively far from Singapore's Central Business District and residential areas, and thus it is suitable to locate heavy industries there.
In the 1950s, it was developed into an industrial estate, supported by low-cost housing. Investors were encouraged to set up factories here and received pioneer certificates providing them with tax exemptions and protective status for their goods. But getting workers to work in Jurong was a problem as the lack of infrastructure meant companies had to pay workers extra to commute. To solve the manpower issue, the Government decided to build housing estates in Jurong. Amenities such as government dispensaries, a private hospital, creches, hawker centres and banks were built in the 1970s during efforts to develop Singapore economically.
In 1961, the Economic and Development Board (EDB) was formed to industrialise Jurong and earthworks began that same year. In 1962, the Finance Minister Dr Goh Keng Swee, laid the foundation stone for the National Iron and Steel Mills, the first factory in the new industrial estate. Many Singaporeans doubted the success of Dr Goh's plan to develop the area, giving it the name "Goh's Folly". They were quickly proven wrong as 24 factories were established in 1963. In May 1965, Jurong Port became operational.
In 1968, the Jurong Town Corporation was created to manage Jurong's development. By this time, 14.78 square kilometres of industrial land has been prepared, 153 factories were fully functioning and 46 more were being constructed. With the Singapore economy constantly expanding, finding space for new industries is an ever-present challenge. Seven islets off the coast of Jurong were merged to create the 30 square kilometre Jurong Island, which is to be the base for oil, petrochemical and chemical industries. Construction of Jurong Island began in the early 1990s and is scheduled to be completed in 2010. A number of plants began operating there in the late 1990s. A bridge, the Jurong Island Causeway, links Jurong Island to the mainland. Access to the island is restricted which may improve its security against terrorist attacks.
Jurong KTMB Railway Line
The Keretapi Tanah Melayu railway from Malaysia used to have an extension branching out from the Bukit Timah railway station to Shipyard Road and Jurong Port via Teban Gardens. This railway extension was intended for goods transportation as Jurong lacked good roads at the time. It was opened in 1965 amid much fanfare, but failed to generate satisfactory traffic. It was consequently closed in early 1993 during the electrification project, and has since been partially dismantled.
- "Jurong's journey from sleepy outback to bustling gem". Channel NewsAsia. Retrieved 27 September 2014.
- Victor R Savage; Brenda S A Yeoh (2003). Toponymics - A Study of Singapore Street Names. Eastern Universities Press. ISBN 981-210-205-1.
- National Heritage Board (2002). Singapore's 100 Historic Places. Archipelago Press. ISBN 981-4068-23-3.
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