|District of Malaysia|
|State||Johor Darul Takzim|
|• District officer||Tuan Haji A. Rahim Bin Haji Nin|
|• Total||2,825.4 km2 (1,090.9 sq mi)|
|• Density||65/km2 (170/sq mi)|
Segamat is a town and district located in the north of the state of Johor in Malaysia, bordering two other states of Malaysia (Negeri Sembilan on the west and Pahang on the north). It is located roughly 172 kilometres from Johor Bahru, the capital city of Johor State. It is 95 km travel distance via North-South Expressway from Johor Bahru to Yong Peng. It is another 77 km via Federal Route 1.
Strategically situated between Kuala Lumpur, Johor Bahru and Singapore, Segamat is a fast-growing agricultural oil palm and rubber district, famous for its delicious durians, and the recent slogan used to attract tourists to Segamat is Selamat Datang ke Segamat - Tanah Raja Buah-buahan (Welcome to Segamat - The Land of King of Fruits). Segamat town is a typical medium size town with a blend of old and new cultures. A mere 45 minute drive from town offers a variety of hiking and swimming sites namely the famous Gunung Ledang, Air Panas Waterfall and Bekok Waterfall which make an enjoyable weekend getaway.
- 1 History
- 2 Origin of name
- 3 Segamat District Facts
- 4 Residences in Segamat
- 5 Economy of Segamat
- 6 Transportation
- 7 Segamat town center
- 8 Environment
- 9 Local legends
- 10 Other towns in Segamat District
- 11 References
- 12 External links
According to a local historian, Hassan bin Muhammad, the area used to be known as Rantau Panjang. In around 1511, a Bendahara (Prime Minister) of Melaka (Malacca), Bendahara Tepok and his troops were retreating to Johor after the fall of Melaka to the invading Portuguese forces led by Afonso de Albuquerque. The Bendahara and his troops stopped and rested by a river in the area and drank water from the river. After the drink, the Bendahara exclaimed, "Segar amat!", or "Very refreshing!" in Malay, and named the river Segar Amat, which over time evolved into Segamat. However, initially the name Segamat only applied to the river. The settlement which later became Segamat was originally called Rantau Panjang. The town assumed the river's name only at the turn of the 20th century.
By the end of 19th century, the four original districts have several minor districts, for example the previous Muar District has 4 minor districts - Parit Jawa, Chohong, Lenga and Segamat. The first District Officer of Segamat Minor District was Encik Menthol bin Haji Ahmad. In 1933, the district of Segamat was formed after a major district boundary realignment was made by the government of Johor to split the original 4 districts (Muar, Batu Pahat, Johor Bahru and Sedili) into 8 districts (before the 2008 realignment which added the Kulaijaya and Ledang districts to form 10 districts in Johor).
After the formation of Segamat District, the government began to develop Segamat, mainly with agricultural activities to boost the economy of Segamat. This included the construction of the national railroad system passing the town of Segamat and also the construction of the main road known today as Federal Route 1.
In the 1970s, Tun Razak Highway was constructed to boost the economy of Segamat as an agricultural hub, to shorten the traveling time to Kuantan and to speed up the development progress of the poorly developed areas in southern Pahang.
The Johor branch campus of Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM) was constructed at Jementah in the end of 1980's and started its operation in 1991. The construction of UiTM campus in Segamat district turned Segamat into another important educational hub in Johor besides Skudai, which houses Universiti Teknologi Malaysia.
In 1996, Segamat Land Port was constructed to make Segamat an important transportational hub, like Nilai in Negeri Sembilan. By constructing the land port, manufacturers may just transport their goods to Segamat Land Port and then the goods can be transported to the nearest sea ports such as Pasir Gudang by train and this will increase the transportation efficiency. However, the plan did not materialize as planned, the space is subsequently rendered largely vacant as of latest 3 February 2012.
In 1999, the second bridge of Segamat,funded mainly by private developers was constructed to reduce congestion at the main bridge. The second bridge was included as a part of Segamat Inner Ring Road package consisting the road upgrade to 4-lane road at Jalan Pemuda, Jalan Hassan, Jalan Pee Kang Hai and Jalan Chia Chin Koon, which was completed in August 2005. The inner ring road package is useful to divert the traffic flow when the main roads at the town center are closed for special occasions and events such as National Day.
Origin of name
The name Segamat is believed to have been derived from the combination of these two Malay words - Segar-Amat which literally means Extremely (Amat) Fresh (Segar). It was uttered by Bendahara Tepok, the last Bendahara from Malacca on the year 1511. There is no truth in it and is just a folklore. It seems ridiculous that when a Bendahara said ' Segar amat' or 'fresh, highly' after drinking it, the followers named the place as that. Segamat could also be 'se gamat' which means lone sea cucumber or any other word from the other languages used by residents at that time. There were Chinese, Indian and Javanese residents and the name could have also originated from one of those languages.
Segamat District Facts
- 2,825.4 km²
- 178,000 (1991 census)
- 270,000 (2010 projected)
Residences in Segamat
Segamat is divided into 11 residences, or mukim in Malay. Each mukim is administered by a headman or penghulu.
The residences of Segamat are as follows:-
- Mukim Sungai Segamat - houses about three-quarter of Segamat town.
- Mukim Gemereh - The smallest mukim in Segamat.
- Mukim Bekok - the largest mukim in Segamat.
- Mukim Jabi
- Mukim Sermin
- Mukim Buloh Kasap
- Mukim Jementah
- Mukim Pogoh
- Mukim Labis
- Mukim Chaah
- Mukim Gemas
Mukim Sungai Segamat is the most populous residence in Segamat District since it houses the majority of Segamat town. The highest population density is in Mukim Gemereh, followed by Mukim Sungai Segamat with over 200+ residents per square km. The lowest population density is in Mukim Bekok with about 50 residents per square km.
The Segamat district is divided by two municipal administratives namely Majlis Daerah Segamat or Segamat District Council based at the town of Segamat and Majlis Daerah Labis or Labis District Council seated at the town of Labis.
Economy of Segamat
Agriculture is the main contributor of Segamat's economy, contributing about 61.8% of the total employment in 1991. The second economic contributor is manufacturing sector, with 13.1% of total work force in 1995. This is followed by the government service sector, with 12.2% of total work force in the same year.
Segamat is well-linked by both federal and state road networks. The Federal Route 1 is the main north–south trunk road, which is connected to the main national expressway, the North-South Expressway (southern route), via exit 227 (Simpang Ampat Interchange) and exit 243 (Yong Peng South Interchange); both exits are located outside from the Segamat District.
The Federal Route 23 links Segamat with the southwestern towns and cities such as Tangkak, Malacca City, Muar and Batu Pahat. It is also linked to the North-South Expressway Southern Route via exit 235 (Tangkak Interchange). Meanwhile, the Tun Razak Highway route 12 links Segamat with Kuantan and the east-coastal states.
Besides, there are several main state roads in Segamat, namely:-
- J14 - Jalan Pogoh
- J32 - Jalan Muar-Labis
- J43 - Jalan Batu Enam
- J150 - Jalan Bekok
- J153 - Jalan Tasek Alai
There are three main intercity bus lines that serve the Segamat District:-
- Yow Hoe (Gemas-Ayer Hitam)
- North-West Johor (Segamat-Muar)
- Kenderaan Bas MARA DARA (Segamat-Muadzam Shah)
Segamat town center
The town of Segamat is the fifth largest town in the state of Johor with about 80,000 residents. According to local residents of Segamat, the town center of Segamat can be divided into two, where both neighborhoods are separated by Segamat River:-
- Bandar Atas (Uptown) - The original town center of Segamat. The official site of Segamat town center today is Dataran Segamat, or Segamat Square.
- Bandar Seberang (Crosstown) - Located at the other side across Segamat river. This neighborhood is known as Bandar Seberang because of its location across Segamat river. This area houses most of the supermarkets and shopping centers in Segamat.
In addition to the town center, the urban area of Segamat also covers some villages and towns namely Pekan Jabi, Bukit Siput, Segamat Baru and Bandar Putra Segamat, which makes up the overall population of Segamat urban area to 100,000 residents.
- Dataran Segamat - Dataran Segamat or Segamat Square was constructed in 1996 as the main venue for Johor's state level celebration of the Malaysian National Day. In 2005, when Segamat was once again chosen as the state-level host, Dataran Segamat was renovated beautifully. It also houses the clock tower and a durian replica that makes Dataran Segamat the landmark of Segamat. Location: 2°30'40"N ; 102°48'50"E.
- Taman Bunga Batu Hampar (Rock Garden) - The Rock Garden is the main recreational park in Segamat. It also houses the official residence of the District Officer of Segamat and also the Istana Hinggap, Johor royal retreat. Location: 2°30'59"N ; 102°48'43"E.
- Bendahara Tepok Tomb - The tomb of the final Bendahara of Sultanate of Malacca is located at Kampung Lubok Batu, about 2 km from Segamat town center via Federal Route 23. Location: 2°30'03"N ; 102°48'30"E.
- Universiti Teknologi Mara Kampus Johor (UiTM Johor Campus) - Located about 8 kilometres or 10 minutes drive from Bandar Segamat, UiTM Kampus Johor are major in Business and Accounting learning in Diploma and Degree level. Surrounded by a green landscape and rubber trees, this campus is a suitable place to study and enjoy a life in "kampung style".
- Kolej Tunku Abdul Rahman (TARC Johor Campus) - The Johor Branch Campus in Segamat began operations on 18 May 1998. Located at the south of Segamat, the College is approximately 10 to 15 minutes drive from the town. Centred on an impressive 50-acre (200,000 m2) campus space, and surrounded by lush greenery and landscaped gardens, the College is equipped with every facility and recreational amenity for the most conducive study environment around.
- Kolej Komuniti Segamat - Located about 7 kilometres drive from Bandar Segamat,  began operation on June 2001. Located at Bandar Putra IOI Segamat.
Segamat Town has quite a number of schools, within its township. Below are the list of secondary schools in Segamat:
- Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Agama Segamat
- SMK Seri Kenangan Batu Anam
- SMK Bekok
- Sekolah Menengah Seg Hwa
- Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Bandar Putra
- Segamat High School
- Sekolah Menengah Teknik Segamat
- Sekolah Menengah Cannosian Convent Segamat
- Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Chaah
- Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Gemereh
- Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Jementah
- Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Tenang Stesen
- Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaa Bandar Putra
- SMK Batu Anam
- SMK Buloh Kasap
- SMK Chaah
- SMK Dato Bentara Dalam
- SMK Paduka Tuan
- SMK Palong Timur
Below is a list of primary schools in Segamat (incomplete):
- SK Batu Anam
- SJK (C) Seg Hwa
- SJK (C) Li Chi
- SJK (C) Bukit Siput
- SJK (C) Kg Tengah
- SK Canossian Convent Segamat
- SK Bukit Hampar
- SK Dato' Wan Idris
- SK Temenggong Abdul Rahman
- SK Dato' Sri Maharajalela
- SJK (C) Pekan Jabi
- SJK (C) Buloh Kasap
- SK Bandar Putra
- SJK (C) Ai Chun
- SJK (C) Jementah 1
- SJK (C) Jementah 2
- SK Melayu Raya
18. SK Kampung Jawa
Cost of Living
The cost of living in Segamat is relatively affordable. Accommodation is readily available at the housing areas in Segamat town. Shophouses, supermarkets, restaurants and hawker centres in the proximity offer various and inexpensive choices for shopping, chilling out and eating out. A popular shopping market in Malaysia, Giant has also been constructed here.
Recently, by year 2012, a new mall - OneSegamat Mall was built and started operating. There is an 8-screen cinema, Lotus Five Star, inside the mall and its capacity is around 1,800 people.
At the same year,a popular shopping KIP MART has been built at the bandar utama
Segamat experienced floods during the 1950s, 1984 and recently in 18 December 2006. The one in 2006, which was caused by Typhoon Utor in the Philippines, was generally considered to be the worst flood to have happened in Segamat and Johor. There is a conspiracy theory that the 2006 flood was caused by improper release of water from the upstream Bekok Dam. The theory is based on the fact that the water level of the Segamat River overflowed at a rate which was believed impossible to have been caused by rain alone.
Segamat has a collection of local legends and folk stories, where some of them describe the name origins of several places in Segamat. However, many of the residents of Segamat have forgotten most of them, even among older generations.
Some of the legends concern the region's tendency to flooding, for example:
- A myth tells of a dragon, whose length spans the distance between Kampung Berata and Kampung Gemereh (~ 5 km). The dragon sleeps underground, and Segamat may experience very bad floods when the dragon changes its sleeping position, said to be caused by gaps made when the dragon moves. The dragon is called Ruby Dragon. This 'myth' is a modern day myth and was not known or spoken of prior to the the great flood of 2006. Old residents of Segamat never heard of Ruby Dragon and it could just be a figment of someones imagination. The story of a dragon sleeping under the river is a modern day creation and has no history to it.
- Legend of Malim Deman: Malim Deman was a king in Segamat who was in love with Princess 'Santan Bertapis'. The princess was kidnapped by a spirit and Malim Deman swore that as long as the princess is not returned, the Segamat area shall experience floods for all eternity. However, with modern town planning and irrigation, flooding is now a rare occurrence in Segamat.
Other towns in Segamat District
- Bandar Putra (IOI)
- Buloh Kasap
- Batu Anam
- Pekan Air Panas
- Gemas Baharu
- Komplek penghulu mukim Bekok
- Sungai Karas
- Kampung Tengah
- Bandar utama
- YM Ungku Mohd. Zaman bin Tahir (1996). Segamat: Sejarah dan Mitosnya. Al-Kafilah Enterprise.
- Segamat District Council official website
- Segamat - Link to Segamat on Bahasa Melayu site
- Segamat.com - community web sites of Segamat.
- Segamat.org - Chinese forum for Segamatians.
- Segamat Fotopages - Pics of Segamat from the webmaster of Segamat.fotopages.com