From Johor Bahru Directory
|"Johor Bahru is often thought of as Singapore's hinterland, similar to what Shenzhen is to Hong Kong." — Global Oneness |
Johor Bahru (JB) is the capital city of Johor and the southernmost city of the Eurasian mainland. Separated by the Straits of Johor (also known as the "Straits of Tebrau") from Singapore, Metropolitan Johor Bahru occupies a total area of 185 sq km, roughly one-quarter the total size of Singapore. With a population of some 900,000 in the city, and nearly 2 million in its metropolitan area, it is the 2nd largest urban area in the country after the national capital, Kuala Lumpur, and its associated Klang Valley region. The total population of the Singapore-Johor Bahru conurbation is 7 million, which is one of the highest in Southeast Asia. Johor Bahru is also part of the 8-million-person metropolitan area of the Sijori Growth Triangle, one of the largest in Southeast Asia. Johor Bahru's population growth rate is also among the highest in Southeast Asia. "Johor" means "Jewel" and "Baharu" means "new" in the Malay language.
2. Demography: The population of Johor Bahru consists of: 
Teochew was the lingua franca of the Chinese community in Johor Bahru until the 1970s, with a large proportion of the community tracing their ancestry back to Chaozhou in China. Economic development since the 1970s has brought many Chinese from other parts of the state to settle in Johor. As these Chinese were generally from other dialect groups, Mandarin has since replaced Teochew as the lingua franca for intra-communication within the community.
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 in Johor Bahru, with their percentage of the population increasing at every census. As with most Indians in Malaysia, a large proportion of the community are Tamil, tracing their ancestry back to southern India.
3. Economy: Johor Bahru is often thought of as Singapore's hinterland, similar to what Shenzhen is to Hong Kong. It is an important industrial, tourism, and commercial hub for southern Malaysia and one of the 3 main urban centres in Peninsular Malaysia (besides Kuala Lumpur and Penang), apart from being one of the biggest industrial centres in the country. Johor Bahru's major industries include electronics, resource and petrochemical refinery and shipbuilding. The heavy industrial areas are Pasir Gudang to the east and Tanjung Langsat to the west of the metropolitan area. Light-to-medium industrial areas, on the other hand, are mainly located north and north-west of the metropolitan area in Tebrau, Tampoi, Senai, Skudai, and Kulai.
It is estimated that 300,000 residents in Johor Bahru work in Singapore and as many as 150,000 commute daily to work in Singapore. The daily severe traffic jams at the Woodlands and Tuas Immigration Checkpoints reflects the sheer volume of people working in the republic as well as the large number of Singaporeans entering Johor Bahru. The large number of residents in Johor Bahru work in Singapore because of the higher salaries and also because of the stronger Singapore Dollar (roughly S$1.00 = RM2.40 as of 2011). For the same reason, many Singaporeans own property, businesses, and factories in Johor Bahru, as well as visit Johor Bahru for shopping, entertainment and dining. As such, Johor Bahru's retail scene is highly developed for a city of its size. Being within easy reach from Singapore, Johor Bahru also receives half of the country's annual 22.5 million foreign tourists via its bridges and road links to Singapore.
4. Infrastructure of Johor Bahru:
- Internal network: Two major highways link the Johor Bahru Central Business District (CBD) (Daerah Sentral Johor Bahru) to the outlying suburbs:
- the Tebrau Highway, linking the city to the north-east; and
- the Tun Abdul Razak (TAR) Highway/Senai-Skudai Highway, linking it to the north-west.
- Intercity network: Access to the national expressway system is possible via the North-South Expressway, with entry-exit points located strategically within the metropolitan area. The causeway links the city to the Singapore with a six-lane road and a railway line. The Tuas Second Link Expressway, located west of the metropolitan area, was constructed in 1997 to help alleviate the congested causeway. It is linked directly to the Johor Bahru Parkway and the North-South Expressway.
- Airport and seaports: Johor Bahru is well-connected 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.
- The Port of Tanjung Pelepas to the west of the metropolitan area in Nusajaya currently ranks as Malaysia's biggest transshipment hub.
- Johor Port, otherwise known as the Pasir Gudang Port, is located on the eastern side of the metropolitan area in the industrial area of Pasir Gudang. 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 and logistics need, as they are both less than an hour's drive from the city.
- Radio stations: Johor Bahru is also home to 3 radio stations:
5. Government of Johor Bahru: The Johor Bahru metropolitan area runs across several districts and is jointly managed by the following local councils:
- Johor Bahru District:
- Pasir Gudang Municipal Council (Majlis Perbandaran Pasir Gudang)
- Pontian District: District Council of Pontian (Majlis Daerah Pontian)
- Kota Tinggi District: District Council of Kota Tinggi (Majlis Daerah Kota Tinggi).
6. Recent development and future plans: A number of urban development projects in the Johor Bahru city centre, with the aim of making it more pedestrian-friendly, has been completed. Among these projects are:
- Pedestrianization of Jalan Meldrum by narrowing the two-way street into a single-lane street with the accompanying pedestrian mall with outdoor cafe kiosks.
- Pedestrianization of the area around OCBC Bank and the Johor Bahru City Council building.
- The construction of Legaran Segget or Segget Walk.
- The construction of Laman Tun Sri Lanang, a small park in the heart of the city.
Under the Iskandar Malaysia 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. The 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 5 times the size of Singapore.
- JB Central to Carrefour Pandan or AEON Tebrau City Shopping Centre; and
- from JB Central to Danga Bay and Skudai.
Similar to the KL Monorail project where all the structures are elevated, the project will have 8 stations between Johor Central, located next to the causeway, and AEON Tebrau City near the Pandan Hospital. With tickets priced between RM1.50 and RM2.60, the monorail is expected to ferry some 98,000 passengers daily for the 13-minute ride between Johor Central and AEON Tebrau City.
History of Johor Bahru
- Founding: Johor Bahru was founded in 1855 when Temenggong Daing Ibrahim, the sovereign ruler of Johor, established his administrative headquarters in the then small Malay fishing village which he renamed "Tanjung Puteri" in 1858. His son and his successor, Temenggong Abu Bakar (Sultan from 1885), renamed Tanjung Puteri as "Johor Bahru" on 1 January 1866.
- Under Sultan Abu Bakar's direction, Johor Bahru grew quickly from a mere fishing village into a town. Many of the town buildings were constructed by Wong Ah Fook, a Cantonese contractor, most notably the State Mosque, Istana Besar, and the Menteri Besar's residence. The town also saw an influx of Chinese immigrants. In response to the increased demand for black pepper and gambier in the 19th century, Sultan Abu Bakar encouraged Chinese planters in Singapore to come to Johor Bahru by giving them incentives to cultivate these two crops on a commercial basis under the kangchu system. By the end of the 19th century, Johor had become the largest producer of pepper and gambier in the world.
- Under Sultan Ibrahim's's reign, Johor Bahru continued to witness modest developments:
- The Malay Peninsula railway extension was completed in 1909; 
- The Johor-Singapore Causeway was completed in 1923; 
- The Sultan Ibrahim Building, now the state secretariat building, was completed in 1940, as the British colonial government attempted to streamline the state's administration.
- World War II: The 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 Japanese military preparatory base for their conquest of Singapore.
- Rise of Malay nationalism: In 1946, shortly after the war ended, Johor Bahru became a hotspot for Malay nationalism in the state. Onn Jaafar, a local politician, later that year to become the Menteri Besar of Johor, formed the United Malay National Organisation (UMNO) in May, after the Malays expressed widespread disenchantment with the British government for granting lax citizenship laws to non-Malays.
- City status: Due to better employment opportunities in Singapore and subsequently the ever-widening currency exchange rates between the two countries, Johor Bahru expanded in size from the 1970s onwards, with new townships and industrial estates built in villages and hamlets such as Tebrau and Plentong. Johor Bahru was officially granted city status on 1 January 1994. The Dataran Bandaraya Johor Bahru was constructed to commemorate this event, and the Majlis Bandaraya Johor Bahru (MBJB), Johor Bahru's city council, was formed. Thus far, the state and federal government has channelled considerable amount of funds for the development of Johor Bahru, more so after 2006 when the Iskandar Malaysia development region blueprint was formalised.