Johor Bahru

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Johor Bahru
Tanjung Puteri/Iskandar Puteri
Other transcription(s)
 • Jawi جوهر بهرو
 • Simplified Chinese 新山
 • Tamil ஜொகூர் பாரு
Clockwise from top: Night view of Johor Bahru, Sultan Ibrahim Building, Tebrau Highway and Johor–Singapore Causeway.
Clockwise from top:
Night view of Johor Bahru, Sultan Ibrahim Building, Tebrau Highway and Johor–Singapore Causeway.
Flag of Johor Bahru
Official logo of Johor Bahru
Nickname(s): JB,
Bandaraya Selatan (Southern City)
Motto: Berkhidmat, Berbudaya, Berwawasan
(English: "Servicing, Cultured, Visionary")
Johor Bahru is located in Peninsular Malaysia
Johor Bahru
Johor Bahru
Location of Johor Bahru in Peninsular Malaysia
Johor Bahru is located in Malaysia
Johor Bahru
Johor Bahru
Location of Johor Bahru in Malaysia
Coordinates: 1°29′N 103°44′E / 1.483°N 103.733°E / 1.483; 103.733Coordinates: 1°29′N 103°44′E / 1.483°N 103.733°E / 1.483; 103.733
Country  Malaysia
State  Johor
Administrative areas
Founded by Temenggong Daeng Ibrahim 10 March 1855
(as Tanjung Puteri)
Granted city status 1 January 1994
 • Mayor Haji Ismail Karim
 • Council Johor Bahru City Council
 • City 647.63 km2 (250.05 sq mi)
Elevation 36.88 m (121.00 ft)
Population (2010)
 • City 497,097
 • Metro 1,350,000
 • Demonym J.B-ians
Time zone MST (UTC+8)
 • Summer (DST) Not observed (UTC+8)
Area code(s) 07

Johor Bahru (Malaysian pronunciation: [ˈjohorˈbahru], Jawi: جوهر بهرو‎, Chinese: 新山; pinyin: xin shan, Tamil: ஜொகூர் பாரு), formerly known as Tanjung Puteri and Iskandar Puteri, is the capital of the state of Johor, located in Peninsular Malaysia. Johor Bahru has a population of 497,097[1] and, including the areas of Iskandar Malaysia, the metro area has an estimated population of 1,350,000.[2]


The present area of Johor Bahru was originally known as Tanjung Puteri, which is a fishing village of the Malays located near Singapore. Temenggong Daeng Ibrahim then renamed Tanjung Puteri to Iskandar Puteri once he arrived to the area in 1858 after acquiring the territory from Sultan Ali;[3] before been renamed to Johor Bahru by Sultan Abu Bakar after his deaths.[4] The British preferred to spelled the town as Johore Bahru or Johore Bharu,[5] but the current accepted western spelling are Johor Bahru as "Johore" are only spelt "Johor" (without the letter "e" at the end of the word) in Malay language.[6][7] Today, the present-day city was also spelled as Johor Baru or Johor Baharu.[8][9]


Temenggong Daeng Ibrahim, founder of Tanjung Puteri, which he renamed Iskandar Puteri (present-day Johor Bahru).

Due to a dispute between Malays and the Bugis, the Johor-Riau Empire was already split in 1819 with the mainland Johor Sultanate came under the control of Temenggong Daeng Ibrahim while the Riau-Lingga Sultanate under the Bugis.[10] The Temenggong has a dream to built a new administration centre for the Johor Sultanate to create a dynasty under the entity of Temenggong.[11] As the Temenggong already maintaining a close relationship with British and the British had intention to control over trade activities in Singapore; in 10 March 1855, a treaty was signed between Sultan Ali and Temenggong Ibrahim in Singapore.[12] According to the treaty, Ali will be crowned as the Sultan of Johor and receiving $5,000 (Spanish dollar) with an allowance of $500 per month.[13] But as a return, Ali must ceded the sovereignty of the territory of Johor (except Kesang of Muar which will be the only territory under his control) to Temenggong Ibrahim.[10][13] When agreement was reached on both sides with Temenggong acquiring the territory, he start to rename the place as Iskandar Puteri and administer it from Telok Blangah in Singapore.[4] As the area was still an undeveloped jungle, temenggong encouraged the migration of Chinese and Javanese to clear the land and start to develop Johor agriculture economy.[14] The Chinese plant the area with black pepper along with gambier, while the Javanese dug parit or canal to drain the waters in the land, built roads and plant coconuts.[15] During this time, a Chinese businessman, pepper and gambier cultivators, Wong Ah Fook arrived as well with the introduction of Kangchu and Javanese Labour contract systems by the Chinese and Javanese communities.[14][16][17]

After Temenggong deaths on 31 January 1862, the town was renamed to Johor Bahru and the administration position was succeeded by his son, Abu Bakar with the administration centre in Telok Blangah been moved to the area on 1899.[4] At the first stage of his administration, the British only recognised him as a Maharaja rather than a Sultan. It was only in 1855, the British Colonial Office start to recognise his status as a Sultan after he met Queen Victoria.[18] He managed to regain Kesang territory for Johor after a civil war with the aid of British forces and he boost the town infrastructures and Johor agricultural economy.[18][19] Infrastructures such as the State Mosque and Royal Palace was built with the aid of Wong Ah Fook who have became a close patron for the Sultan since his migration during Temenggong reign.[20] As the Johor-British relationship have became very close, he also set-up his administration under a British-style and implemented a constitution known as Undang-undang Tubuh Negeri Johor (Johor State Constitution).[10][18] Although the British have long became the adviser for the Sultanate of Johor, the Sultanate never came under direct colonial control.[21] It was only effectively came under the control when the status of "adviser" was elevated to the level similar to that of a Resident in the Federated Malay States (FMS) during the reign of Sultan Ibrahim in 1904.[22] While Johor Bahru continued to develop; the Malay Peninsula railway extension was completed in 1909,[23] and the completion of a causeway in 1923 linked the railway and road systems between Singapore and Malay Peninsula.[24] Johor Bahru developed at a modest rate between the First and Second World Wars. The secretariat building—Sultan Ibrahim Building—was completed in 1940 as the British colonial government attempted to streamline the state's administration.[25]

Japanese troops crouch in the street of Johor Bahru in their final stages of Battle of Malaya to conquest Singapore, image taken on 31 January 1942.
A view of the causeway, after been blown up by Allied forces as a final decision to counter the Japanese advancement.

The continuous development of Johor Bahru was however halted when the Japanese under General Tomoyuki Yamashita invaded the town on 31 January 1942. As the Japanese had reached northwest Johor by 15 January, they easily captured Johor major towns such of Batu Pahat, Yong Peng, Kluang and Ayer Hitam.[26] The British and other Commonwealth forces were forced to retreat towards Johor Bahru but with a further series of bombing by the Japanese on 29 January, the British decide to retreat to Singapore and blown up the causeway in the next day as a final attempt to stop the Japanese advancement in British Malaya.[26] The Japanese then use the Sultan's residence of Istana Bukit Serene located in the town as their main temporary base for their future initial plans to conquest Singapore while waiting to reconnect the causeway.[27][28] The reason the Japanese choose the palace as their main base are due to they already knew the British would not dare to attack as it would harm their close relationship with Johor.[26] Within less than a month, the Japanese already manage to repaired the causeway and easily invading the whole Singapore island.[29] Soon after the war ended in 1946, the town became the main hotspot for Malay nationalism in Malaya. Onn Jaafar, a local Malay politician who later became the Menteri Besar of Johor, formed the United Malay National Organisation party in 11 May 1946 when the Malays expressed their widespread disenchantment over the British government action for granting citizenship laws to non-Malays in the proposed states of Malayan Union.[30][31]

During the Indonesian confrontation, the impact did not directly affect Johor Bahru as the main Indonesian landing point in Johor was in Labis.[32] Only one active Indonesian spy organisation in the town known as Gerakan Ekonomi Melayu Indonesia (GEMI) frequently engaging relations with Indonesian communities living there to contribute information for Indonesian commandos during the bombing of the MacDonald House in Singapore.[33][note 1] After the end of confrontation and Communist insurgency, more development was done with the town expanded its size and more new townships and industrial estates were built in villages and hamlets north and east of the town between 1970s and 1980s, such as in Tebrau and Plentong.[34] By the early 1990s, the town had considerably expanded in size, and was officially granted a city status on 1 January 1994.[35] Johor Bahru City Council was formed and the city's current main square, Dataran Bandaraya Johor Bahru, was constructed to commemorate the event. A central business district was developed in the centre of the city from the mid-1990s in the area around Wong Ah Fook Street and the Johor–Singapore Causeway. The state and federal government channelled considerable funds for the development of the city—particularly more so after 2006, when the Iskandar Malaysia was formed.[36][37]

Capital city[edit]

As the capital city of Johor, the city plays an important role in the economic welfare of the population of the entire state. There are one members of parliament (MPs) representing the one parliamentary constituency in the city: Johor Bahru (P.160). The city also elects two representatives to the state legislature from the state assembly districts of Tanjong Puteri and Stulang.[38]

Local authority and city definition[edit]

International relations[edit]

Several countries have set up their consulates in Johor Bahru, including Indonesia[39] and Singapore.[40][41]

Sister cities[edit]

Johor Bahru currently has six sister cities:

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Another early attack to destabilise Malaysia was done with the murder of Malay trishaw in Singapore that led to the racial conflict between Malay and Chinese there. At the first stage of the conflict, it was alleged the murder was done by a Chinese but this was however turned down when further investigation revealed the murder was actually done by Indonesian agents who had infiltrate Singapore in an attempt to weakening the unity of race there during the state was still part of Malaysia. (Drysdale, Halim and Jamie)


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  2. ^ "Iskandar Malaysia". Johor State Government. 26 December 2013. Archived from the original on 30 June 2015. Retrieved 1 July 2015. 
  3. ^ Zainol Abidin Idid (Syed.). Pemeliharaan warisan rupa bandar: panduan mengenali warisan rupa bandar berasaskan inventori bangunan warisan Malaysia (in Malay). Badan Warisan Malaysia. ISBN 978-983-99554-1-5. 
  4. ^ a b c "Background of Johor Bahru City Council and History of Johor Bahru" (PDF). Malaysian Digital Repository. 12 March 2013. Archived (PDF) from the original on 27 June 2015. Retrieved 27 June 2015. 
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  10. ^ a b c Swaran Ludher (22 January 2015). THEY CAME TO MALAYA. Xlibris Corporation. pp. 60–. ISBN 978-1-5035-0036-5. 
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  23. ^ Winstedt (1992), p. 141
  24. ^ Winstedt (1992), p. 143
  25. ^ Oakley (2009), p. 181
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  34. ^ Guinness (1992), p. 177
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External links[edit]