From Johor Bahru Directory
Tan Kee Soon (d. ca. 1864) was the first leader of the Ngee Heng Kongsi of Johor.
2. Tan Kee Soon was one of the leaders of the Ngee Heng Kongsi in Singapore who, even before Tan Teck Hye issued his order in 1846 to the 4,000 members of its brotherhood to relocate in Johor in protest against the imposition of quit rent in Singapore, settled in Johor having obtained a surat sungai (river document) for Sungai Tebrau in 1844. He established a pepper and gambier settlement at Tan Chukang at Kangkar Tebrau which is the oldest known Chinese settlement in Johor. However, he was no entrepreneur as he did not bother to obtain more than the one grant, unlike other Ngee Heng leaders who held multiple concessions. Chinese sources described him as a yishi, a righteous political dissident who resisted the Manchus. In fact, the site of Tan Chukang, located deep in the jungle, suggests that it was selected as a place of refuge, reminiscent of the bandits' marshy lair in the stories of the Water Margin. As such, he would have been in command of military resources which would have been an asset to Sultan Abu Bakar during the crucial period when the was still in the process of establishing his authority over Johor.
3. After the death of Sultan Hussain, a treaty was brokered by the British in 1855 by which his son, Ali, acquired the coveted title of Sultan of Johor while the sovereignty of Johor was ceded to Temenggung Daeng Ibrahim, except for a small territory between the Kesang and Muar rivers. After some years, when Muar disobeyed Sultan Abu Bakar, Tan Kee Soon raised an army and went to pacify Muar which was eventually incorporated into Johor territory in 1877. The Sultan thus came to love and trust Tan who was subsequently commissioned by the Johor government to be responsible for the police functions, in the absence of a properly constituted police force. Since he was also the leader of the Ngee Heng Kongsi, the government specifically permitted its open activities. Tan, however, did not live to see the Ngee Heng Kongsi officially recognized for he died about 1864, although it is possible that he could have had some kind of tacit understanding with the Sultan or even with the Temenggong. Although Tan Kee Soon was succeeded by his adopted son, Tan Cheng Hung, as kangchu and Kapitan China in Tebrau, he was succeeded by Tan Hiok Nee as the next leader of the Ngee Heng Kongsi.