Johor Bahru, Malaysia History

 

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

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Due to a dispute between the Malays and the Bugis, the Johor-Riau Sultanate was split in 1819 with the mainland Johor Sultanate came under the control of Temenggong Daeng Ibrahim while the Riau-Lingga Sultanate came under the control of the Bugis. The Temenggong intended to create a new administration centre for the Johor Sultanate to create a dynasty under the entity of Temenggong. As the Temenggong already had a close relationship with the British and the British intended to have control over trade activities in Singapore, a treaty was signed between Sultan Ali and Temenggong Ibrahim in Singapore on 10 March 1855. According to the treaty, Ali would be crowned as the Sultan of Johor and receive $5,000 (in Spanish dollars) with an allowance of $500 per month. In return, Ali was required to cede the sovereignty of the territory of Johor (except Kesang of Muar which would be the only territory under his control) to Temenggong Ibrahim. When both sides agreed on Temenggong acquiring the territory, he renamed it Iskandar Puteri and began to administer it from Telok Blangah in Singapore.
As the area was still an undeveloped jungle, Temenggong encouraged the migration of Chinese and Javanese to clear the land and to develop an agricultural economy in Johor. The Chinese planted the area with black pepper and gambier, while the Javanese dug parit (canals) to drain water from the land, build roads and plant coconuts. During this time, a Chinese businessman, pepper and gambier cultivator, Wong Ah Fook arrived; at the same time, Kangchu and Javanese labour contract systems were introduced by the Chinese and Javanese communities. After Temenggong's death on 31 January 1862, the town was renamed "Johor Bahru" and his position was succeeded by his son, Abu Bakar, with the administration centre in Telok Blangah being moved to the area in 1889.

British administration

Segget River at the junction of Wong Ah Fook Street and Ungku Puan Street in Johor Bahru, .

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In the first phase of Abu Bakar's administration, the British only recognised him as a maharaja rather than a sultan. In 1855, the British Colonial Office began to recognise his status as a Sultan after he met Queen Victoria. He managed to regain Kesang territory for Johor after a civil war with the aid of British forces and he boosted the town's infrastructure and agricultural economy. Infrastructure such as the State Mosque and Royal Palace was built with the aid of Wong Ah Fook, who had become a close patron for the Sultan since his migration during the Temenggong reign. As the Johor-British relationship improved, Abu Bakar also set up his administration under a British style and implemented a constitution known as Undang-undang Tubuh Negeri Johor (Johor State Constitution). Although the British had long been advisers for the Sultanate of Johor, the Sultanate never came under direct colonial rule of the British. The direct colonial rule only came into effect when the status of the adviser was elevated to a status similar to that of a Resident in the Federated Malay States (FMS) during the reign of Sultan Ibrahim in 1914.
In Johor Bahru, the Malay Peninsula railway extension was finished in 1909,Winstedt (1992), p. 141 and in 1923 the Johor–Singapore Causeway was completed.Winstedt (1992), p. 143 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.Oakley (2009), p. 181

World War II

A view of the causeway, after being blown up by Allied forces as a final action to counter the Japanese advance

from Wikipedia by Cave cattum Public domain

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 major towns of Johor such of Batu Pahat, Yong Peng, Kluang and Ayer Hitam. The British and other Allied forces were forced to retreat towards Johor Bahru; however, following a further series of bombings by the Japanese on 29 January, the British retreated to Singapore and blew up the causeway the following day as a final attempt to stop the Japanese advance in British Malaya. The Japanese then used the Sultan's residence of Bukit Serene Palace located in the town as their main temporary base for their future initial plans to conquer Singapore while waiting to reconnect the causeway. The Japanese chose the palace as their main base because they already knew the British would not dare to attack it as this would harm their close relationship with Johor.
In less than a month, the Japanese repaired the causeway and invaded the Singapore island easily. 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 Chief Minister of Johor, formed the United Malay National Organisation party on 11 May 1946 when the Malays expressed their widespread disenchantment over the British government's action for granting citizenship laws to non-Malays in the proposed states of the Malayan Union. An agreement over the policy was then reached in the town with Malays agreeing with the dominance of economy by the non-Malays and the Malays' dominance in political matters being agreed upon by non-Malays. Racial conflict between the Malay and non-Malays, especially the Chinese, is being provoked continuously since the Malayan Emergency.

Post-independence

After the formation of the Federation of Malaysia in 1963, Johor Bahru continued as the state capital and more development was carried out, with the town's expansion and the construction of more new townships and industrial estates. The Indonesian confrontation did not directly affect Johor Bahru as the main Indonesian landing point in Johor was in Labis and Tenang in Segamat District as well Pontian District. There is only one active Indonesian spy organisation in the town, known as Gerakan Ekonomi Melayu Indonesia (GEMI). They frequently engaged with the Indonesian communities living there to contribute information for Indonesian commandos until the bombing of the MacDonald House in Singapore in 1965. By the early 1990s, the town had considerably expanded in size, and was officially granted a city status on 1 January 1994. 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. 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. However, more than 10 years of unbridled building construction in Iskandar, especially of higher end high-rise apartments and commercial property, has led to a serious glut of such property in the region. Occupancy of high-rise accommodation has been predicted to fall to 50 percent, and commercial property to 65 percent, by the end of 2019 due to continued incoming supply.

Source

Wikipedia