The History of Johor

johor lama
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Today, we are going to talk about the history and story of Johor. Many Johoreans might not know the details, especially the younger generations.  

Johor is divided into ten districts, 103 administrative districts and 16 local governments. There are district officers for each district and a village head person for each village in the district.  Among the 13 states and 3 federal territories in the country, Johor is the third largest state in Peninsular Malaysia after Pahang and Perak at 19,200 km². Johor is also the southernmost state covering a 400-km coastline along the Strait of Malacca and the South China Sea. It also winds around the Republic of Singapore’s northern border with a causeway away. The land of Johor is generally flat and full of forest, jungles and large swamps. It is dotted with 15 small islands. Same as the other 6 states, Johor is lead by Sultan. Whilst the head of government is the Chief Minister. The royal capital for this state is Muar.  Johor Bahru is the capital city and the economic centre of the state and Kota Iskandar is the centre of the state government. Mount Ophir is situated at the highest point in Johor, at approximately 3,000 feet high. The population as of 2018 is at 3,768,200 with 52% of Malays, 30% of Chinese, 6% of Indian, 8% of Non-Malaysian citizen and 1% of Native. 

johor lama

Johor is founded by Mahmud Shah, the fugitive Sultan of Malacca and his son Alauddin after the Malaccan kingdom was taken over by the Portuguese in 1511. Mahmud Shah moved the royal court to the Johor River and set up his royal residence in Johor Lama. The state collapsed in the 18th century when the seat of power shifted to the Riau islands, which is now part of Indonesia. The governors of the Johor sultanate were recognized as independent by the British in the cession of Singapore in 1819. The history of the modern city of Johor can be traced back to the time of Dato’ Temenggong Daing Ibrahim who was the son of Temenggong Abdul Rehman, a descendant of Sultan Abdul Jalil 4 in Johor. In the year 1855, the authority of Johor was passed over to Dato’ Temenggong Daeng Ibrahim through a treaty signed between Johor’s Sultan Ali and the British living in Singapore. When the railway was extended southward, the economy of Johor improved. The tin and rubber belt of the Malay Peninsula to Singapore has brought Johor’s isolation from the other states. When the control of territory was under Daeng Ibrahim, the land was opened to the Chinese aborigines who came from Singapore to start growing pepper. This is when the economy of Johor raised. The authority was then passed over to Abu Bakar. He was crowned as the Sultan of Johor in 1866 and the Father of Modern Johor.

johor lama

Besides the tin and rubber industries, Johor produces a large amount of palm oil, coconut and pineapple. Southeast Johor is the largest producer of agricultural and resettlement project. Johor depends on Singapore’s port facilities because of its shallow harbours. At the same time, Johor has become the supplier of water to Singapore. The agreement is valid for 99 years until 2061 where Singapore is entitled to draw 250 million gallons of water per day from the Johor River. In return, Johor gets about 2% of treated water from Singapore, from the raw water supplied. The other commodity in Johor is mainly by roads. 

Sultan Ibrahim, the successor of Abu Bakar, continue the relationship with the British. He requested the British for advice on the development of Johor. The state developed rapidly since then and after the independence of Malaysia in 1957. Johor is one of the most successful states in the country today.