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جوهر دار التّعظيم Johor Darul Takzim
State Flag Coat of Arms
State Motto: the state moto as appeared on the coat of arms reads "kepada Allah berserah" which literally means "all hopes is to God (Allah)"
Map showing Johor in
Capital Johor Bahru
Sultan Iskandar Al-haj
Chief minister Abdul Ghani Othman
Area 19,984 km²

2.8 million comprising of a mixtures of Malays, Chinese, Indians and other minorities.

State anthem Lagu Bangsa Johor

Johor, formerly Johore (Jawi:جوهور), is a state of Malaysia between 1°20"N and 2°35"N. The capital and royal seat of Johor is Johor Bahru, formerly Tanjung Puteri. The old capital is Johor Lama. The Arabic honorific of the state is Darul Ta'azim ("Abode of Dignity').


History of Johor

The name "Johor" originated from the Arabic word Jauhar, which literally means "Precious Stones". Founded in the early 16th century by the son of Sultan Mahmud Shah, the last Sultan of Malacca, after fleeing from the Portuguese in Malacca, it grew into the Johor Empire that covered the Riau Archipelago. Unable to retake Malacca, Johor harassed and attacked the Portuguese during their 130 year rule. Johor became a thorn to the Portuguese in maintaining dominance within the Straits.

The history of Johor from the late 1500s to the late 1600s is characterised by a series of succession struggles interspersed with strategic alliances struck with regional clans and foreign powers to maintain its political and economic hold in the Straits. In competition with the Achehs of northern Sumatra and the port-kingdom of Malacca under Portuguese rule, Johor engaged prolonged warfare with their rivals, often striking alliances with friendly Malay states and in particular the Dutch. In 1641 Johor in cooperation with the Dutch succeeded in capturing Malacca. By 1660, Johor had become a flourishing entrepôt, although weakening and splintering of the empire in the late seventeenth and eighteenth century reduced its sovereignty.

In the 18th century, the Bugis of Sulawesi and the Minangkabau of Sumatra controlled the political powers in the Johor-Riau Empire. However, in the early 19th century, Malay and Bugis rivalry commanded the scene. In 1819, the Johor -Riau Empire was broken into the mainland Johor, controlled by the Temenggong, and the Sultanate of Riau-Linggi, controlled by the Bugis. This is when the history of modern Johor began. In 1855, under the terms of a treaty between the British in Singapore and Sultan Ali of Johor, the control over the State was formally ceded to Dato' Temenggong Daing Ibrahim, with the exception of the Kesang area (Muar), which was finally handed over in 1877. Temenggong Ibrahim opened up Bandar Tanjung Puteri (later to become Johor's present-day capital) in south Johor as a major town.

Temenggong Ibrahim was succeeded by his son, Dato' Temenggong Abu Bakar, who later took the title Seri Maharaja Johor. In 1866, he was formally crowned the Sultan of Johor. Sultan Abu Bakar of Johor(1864 - 1895) was the one who gave Johor its own constitution and developed its efficient administration system and constructed the Istana Besar, the official residence of the Sultan. Due to these achievements, Sultan Abu Bakar is known by the title "Father of Modern Johor". He is immortalized at the Sultan Abu Bakar Monument. The monument is built in the seafront directly opposite the courthouse.

The increased demand for black pepper and gambier in the nineteenth century lead to the opening up of farmlands to the influx of Chinese immigrants, creating Johor's initial economic base. The Kangchu system was put in place. Under the British Resident system, Sultan Ibrahim, Sultan Abu Bakar's successor, was forced to accept a British adviser in 1914. D.G. Campbell was dispatched as the first British adviser to Johor.

Johor Bahru became the last city on the Malay peninsula to fall under the Japanese. General Yamashita Tomoyuki had his headquarters on top of Bukit Serene and coordinated the downfall of Singapore.

Then in 1948, Johor joined the Federation of Malaya, which gained Independence in 1957.

Notable history of Johor

The first radio broadcast in Malaya began in the year 1921 when A.L. Birch, an electrical engineer from the Johore Government brought the first radio set into the country. He then established the Johore Wireless Association and commenced broadcasting through 300 meter waves.

Johor gave birth to the Malay opposition which derailed the Malayan Union plan. Malays under Dato' Onn Jaafar's leadership formed the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) in Johor on 11 May 1946.

Tanjung Kupang in Johor is also the site of the only crashed airliner hijacked from Kuala Lumpur.

The designer of the Malaysian flag was a Johorean.

Tun Sri Lanang, the writer of 'Sejarah Melayu' or Malay Annals was born in Bukit Seluyut, Johor in 1565.

Johor was the first state and currently the only state in Malaysia that has its own military force called Johor Military Force or 'Timbalan Setia Negeri'. It is considered a private army of the Sultan of Johor.



As of 2000, the estimated population of Johor is 2.7 million people. It the fifth largest state(18,984 km²) of Malaysia.It is the southernmost state in Peninsular Malaysia being South of Melaka, Negeri Sembilan and Pahang and North of Singapore from which it is separated by the Straits of Johor. The highest point in Johor is Gunung (mountain) Ledang (1276 m). Johor is the only state in Malaysia which has a 400 km beach stretching on both the East and the West coast.

Johor has 8 large islands with numerous smaller ones.

  1. Pulau Tinggi
  2. Pulau Rawa
  3. Pulau Sibu
  4. Pulau Tengah
  5. Pulau Pemanggil
  6. Pulau Aur
  7. Pulau Besar
  8. Pulau Lima


Johor experience wet equatorial weather with monsoon rain from Nov until Feb blowing from the South China Sea. Average annual rainfall is 1778 mm with average temperature of between 25.5 °C (78 °F) and 27.8 °C (82 °F). Humidity is between 82 and 86 %.

Links to Singapore

Johor is linked to Singapore by two land links - First is the causeway originally called Tambak Johor which carries both a road and a railway link. Second is a road bridge on the west side of Johor.

The causeway (1038 m) was designed by Messrs Coode, Fizmaurice, Wilson and Mitchell of Westminster was adopted and the contract awarded to Topham, Jones & Railton Ltd of London. It started in 1909 as a railway link by Johor State Railway to connect Johor Bahru to Singapore, then the administrative headquarters of British interests in South-East Asia. Construction of the road section started in 1919 and was completed in 1923.

The causeway is a source of contention ever since Singapore separated from Malaysia. Stagnating water caused by the Causeway has raised health concerns in Johor. Malaysia has proposed to replace the causeway by a bridge, allowing water and tide movement through the Straits of Johor. Singapore has rejected this proposal, after which Malaysia came up with the idea of what became known as "the crooked half-bridge", 25 m above water level, and descending halfway to link up with the low-level causeway. The railway will have a swing bridge. The project is part of the Gerbang Selatan Bersepadu project.[1]

Animosity between previous leaders of both countries has abated with the rise of new leaders, Abdullah Badawi as Malaysian Prime Minister replacing Mahathir Mohamad and Lee Hsien Long in Singapore replacing Goh Chok Tong. It has renewed talks and normalised relations between countries.

Some analysts have concluded that replacing the causeway with a bridge would allow a creation of a comprehensive port system linking Johor Port and Tanjung Pelepas Port in Johor; some go on to suggest that this presents a threat to Singapore's port activity, thus explaining the initial reluctance of Singapore to agree to the causeway replacement.

The more recent road bridge (the "Second Link") was completed in Oct 1997. The Second Link Bridge is a 1920 m twin-deck bridge which supports a dual-three lane carriageway linking Kampong Ladang at Tanjung Kupang, Johor to Jalan Ahmad Ibrahim at Tuas in Singapore.

See also Geography and climate of Singapore.

Transportation hubs


It has two ports, Pasir Gudang Port and Tanjung Pelepas Port.


Johor has one major airport 30 km away from the city centre, The Sultan Ismail International Airport in Senai (01’38’26’ N, 103’40’13’ E). It was opened on 6 June 1974 and has been expanded several times ever since. Currently, it has a 5 million passenger capacity with another parallel runway under construction,

Government structure of Johor


The State's Sultan or hereditary constitutional monarch since 1981 has been Sultan Iskandar Al-Haj.

State government

His Chief Minister or Menteri Besar is currently Dato' Abdul Ghani Othman, a former civil servant.


The state of Johor is divided into the districts of

  • Johor Bahru 1817.8 km², population 1,064,881
  • Pontian 919.5 km², population: 143,729
  • Kota Tinggi 3488.7 km², population: 192,220
  • Kluang 2851.8 km², population: 254,631
  • Segamat 2851.26 km², population: 178,620
  • Muar 2346.12 km², population: 328,695
  • Batu Pahat 1878 km², population: 335,368
  • Mersing 2838.6 km², population: 67,557

State anthem

in Malay

Lagu Bangsa Johor
Allah peliharakan Sultan
'Nugrahkan dia segala kehormatan
Sehat dan ria, kekal dan makmur
Luaskan kuasa, menaungkan kami
Rakyat dipimpini berzaman lagi
Dengan Merdeka bersatu hati
Allah berkati Johor
Allah selamatkan Sultan

The anthem was composed by Armenian Bandmaster Mackertich Galistan or MG Abdullah and lyrics by Capt. HJ. Mohamed Said bin HJ. Sulaiman. Adapted the famous Malay tune 'Dondang Sayang' in 1897 and approved by Sultan Ibrahim, it was wihout lyrics until 1914 when a staff of the Hong Kong Bank in Johor Bahru, Hubert Allen Courtney (1878-1959), wrote the first English words and Capt. HJ. Mohamed Said (1876-1955) rewrote it in Malay.

Education in Johor

Johor has several institutions of higher learning. It has a university called Universiti Teknologi Malaysia situated in Skudai, a college university called Kolej University Tun Hussein Onn in Batu Pahat and several polytechnics. Johor also has a teaching college called Maktab Perguruan Temenggung Ibrahim.

Places of interest

Major tourist attraction

  1. Ayer Hitam
  2. Air Papan
  3. Desaru - 25 km stretch of beach along the South China Sea
  4. Johor Bahru
  5. Johor Lama
  6. Kota Tinggi Waterfalls - 80 km from Johor Bahru city, has a 34 metre high waterfall.
  7. Kukup - a fishing village built partially over water in the far south of the state.
  8. Muar
  9. Tanjung Piai

National park and forest reserves

Johor currently has five national parks, with a combined area of more than 700 km² and several smaller recreational forest. Almost all recreational parks are based around a mountain. Johor has the third largest mangrove forest reserve in peninsular Malaysia (167 km²).

Endau Rompin National Park

  • Located on the Johor-Pahang border
  • The park's name comes from the Endau and Rompin rivers that flow through the park, other rivers in the park are Selai River, and Jasin River.
  • The Park is the second largest national park in the Peninsula after Taman Negara, covering an area of 489 km²
  • There are two entry points to the park, Kampung Peta and Nitar
  • Sites of interest are Opeh Guling waterfall, Buaya Sangkut waterfall and salt licks around Gunung Tiong
  • There are approximately 26 km of jungle trails within the park with the most famous being the 16 km trail from the base camp at Kuala Jasin to Batu Hampar
  • The park is the home to the Orang Asli of the Jakun tribe. One such settlement is Kampung Peta near the park entry point

Gunung Ledang National Park

  • The highest point in Johor is here on Gunung Ledang (1276m)
  • The Sagil waterfall is the most famous picnic site
  • Entry point from Sagil in Johor and Asahan in Melaka
  • 107 km²
  • Located in the district of Muar
  • 170 km from Johor Bahru
  • Is the most climbed mountain in Malaysia
  • 64th highest mountain in Malaysia
  • 6th difficult trekking route of Malaysia

Tanjung Piai National Park

  • Home of mangrove crabs, mudskippers and crab-eating macaques.
  • The name 'Piai' is taken from a type of indigenous wild fern 'Piai Raya' or Acrostichum aureum and 'Piai lasa' or A.speciosum.
  • Geographically the southern most tip of the continent of Asia.
  • Feeding ground for migratory birds like the Sandpiper, Whimbrel, Common Redshank, Greenshank and Grey Plower ('Pluvialis squatarola').
  • Gazzeted as a World RAMSAR site.

Pulau Kukup National Park

  • 15 km² of mangrove and mudflats

Mersing Marine Park

  • consisting of 13 islands of Pulau Harimau, Pulau Mensirip, Pulau Goal, Pulau Besar, Pulau Tengah, Pulau Hujong, Pulau Rawa, Pulau Tinggi, Pulau Mentinggi, Pulau Sibu, Pulau Sibu Hujung, Pulau Pemanggil and Pulau Aur.

Gunung Pulai Recreational Forest

  • 700 meters in height
  • One of the smaller parks with an area of 80,000 square metres. It is a forest reserve that serves as a catchment area
  • Closest to Johor Bahru
  • Popular attraction is Pulai waterfall

Gunung Arong Recreational Forest

  • 120 meters in height
  • 17km from Mersing and 22 km from Endau
  • has a Forestry Museum on site
  • Photos

Gunung Lambak Recreational Forests

  • 510 meters in height
  • near Kluang

Gunung Belumut (Moss Mountain) Recreational Forest

  • 32 km from Kluang through Felda Ulu Dengar
  • 1010 meters in height
  • 4 hours of trekking on a 6 km path to the top
  • near Kluang
  • Interesting rock formation called Crown Rock (Batu Mahkota) which looks like a giant crown.

Gunung Panti Recreational Forests

Sungai Sedili Besar and Sungai Sedili Kecil Wetland Preservation

  • 1.5 km² of freshwater mangrove swamp
  • Preserved for migratory birds

Sungai Lebam Wetland Preservation

  • Preserved for clams and fireflies.
  • vast mangrove swamp, with Berembang trees where the fireflies congregate.
  • near Kota Tinggi and approximately 91 km from Johor Bahru

Cultural heritage of Johor

Culture in Johor is influenced by visitors and traders throughout history. The biggest influence would be the Javanese and the Arabs. The strong Arab influence is apparent in art performances like Zapin and Hamdolok, musical instruments like gambus. Other visible legacies in Johor Bahru are the names Wadi Hana and Wadi Hassan area populated by Arab community from Hadhramaut in the southeast of Yemen. Wadi means valley in Arabic.


  • Cekak Musang and Teluk Belanga are types of collar design of the male attire ' baju melayu'. It is said that Teluk Belanga was design by Sultan Abu Bakar in 1866 to reminisce the transfer of Johor capital from Teluk Belanga to Johor Bahru. The Teluk Belanga design is a simple hemmed round collar with a loop at the end to fit a 'kancing'. Another name for Teluk belanga is tulang belut. The Cekak Musang design is a raised stiff collar of about 1-2cm with an opening down to the chest. The collar ends have matching holes to fit it a 'butang'.
  • Kurung Johor
  • Kurung Riau
  • Belah kebaya Panjang

Zapin dance

Kuda Kepang

Kuda kepang is a dance or game performed by Johoreans, especially of Javanese descent. Kuda kepang is a legless horse shaped puppet that is straddled by the performers. Usually, a troupe of performers consists of 10 to 15 people. It is performed in wedding ceremonies and cultural celebrations. There are several possible origins of Kuda Kepang. It is said to be originated from the struggles of “Wali Songo”, a group of nine Islamic preachers in Java. Others said it originated from the movement of horses commanded by Ali, the fourth Muslim Caliph. There are several dance rhythms or patterns; the 'Sola', 'Selendang', 'Pak Tani', 'Pucuk Rebung', 'Perjuangan', and 'Mempertahankan Diri'. The bobbing movement of the performers and their horse puppet is called 'Lenggang Kiprah'.

The musical instruments used in kuda kepang performance are 'angklong', 'gendang', 'gong', 'kinong', 'jidor', 'soron kecil' and 'bonang'.

Legend of Badang

It is a story of Badang, a slave who gained super human strength by eating the vomit of a river spirit. He used this to win his release from his master. Contrary to popular belief, Badang was born in Johor, not Singapore or Temasik as it was known then. Badan was born in Sayong Pinang, a place upstream of the Johor River. Upon hearing his strength, he was summoned by the Seri Rama Wira Kerma of Temasik where he displayed his skills. Chalengers were sent by foreign kingdoms to defeat him. Among them were King of Kalinga i India who sent Nadi Bijaya Pikrama, a fierce wrestler and the noble of Perlak who sent Benderang. Badang emerged victorious from both fight and eventually stayed in Temasik until his death.

Legend of Malim Deman

Malim Deman is a king in the Segamat who was in love with Princess 'Santan Bertapis'. The princess was kidnapped by an spirit and Malim Deman swore that as long as the princess is not returned, the Segamat area shall experience floods for all eternity. However, with modern town planning and irrigation, flooding is now a rare occurrence in Segamat.

Legend of Gunung Ledang

Gunung Ledang, also known as Mount Ophir, is said to be the home of the legendary Princess 'Puteri Gunung Ledang' once wooed by the Sultan of Melaka (Malacca). The Sultan wanted to marry her but she set impossible conditions for him. She asked him to build a golden bridge linking his palace in Melaka to the mountain. The princess also asked the Sultan to bring her seven jars of women’s tears, seven trays of the hearts of mosquitoes and seven bowls containing the blood of the Sultan’s son, all of which the Sultan could not fulfil!

Legend has it that the princess eventually married one Nakhoda Ragam, a hero whose name unfailingly struck terror into the hearts of those who had dared to oppose him. But this hero was later to die at the hands of his princess-wife. Ragam was found of tickling the Princess’s ribs and one day, in an uncontrollable burst of reaction, the Princess stabbed her husband in the breast with a needle she was handling. Therefore the Princess returned to Mount Ophir and vowed never to set eyes on another man. Ragam’s boat, not long after, was crushed during a storm and legend has it that the debris of the wreck was transformed into the present six islands off Malacca. It was claimed that the boat’s kitchen became Pulau Hanyut, the cake-tray Pulau Nangka, the water-jar Pulau Undan, the incense-burner Pulau Serimbun, the hen-coop Pulau Burong, and the honeymoon cabin of Ragam and the Princess became Pulau Besar.

Ancient history points to the mountain being the site of rich gold deposits, luring traders from as far as Greece and China. The name ‘Ophir’ itself is thought to have originated from the Hebrew language. In the 14th Century, the Chinese seafarers plying the Straits of Melaka called it ‘Kim Sua’ meaning the ‘Golden Mountain’. The Javanese during the period of the Majapahit empire named it ‘Gunong Ledang’, which means ‘mount from afar’.

Awang's spear returned to Dayang

Awang's Spear Returned to Dayang is an incident that occurred in Parit Raja, Muar. In Malay it is translated as 'Lembing Awang Pulang ke Dayang'. It occurred in 1776 when a man called Awang returned to Parit Raja after more than 3 years abroad to marry his fiancee Dayang. Upon his return, he found out that another man called Bachok had told Dayang of Awang's death and planning to marry her the next day. Awang turned up at the wedding ceremony and using a spear given by Raja Bugis, he speared Bachok in the stomach. Bachok, fatally injured grabbed the spear in his stomach and speared his best man. The man then speared the next man he saw and this was repeated until the 99th person was speared. It was Dayang's father who was protecting Dayang. He did not continue the repeated spearing and died. Awang ran away to Endau and Dayang did not marry another till she died.


Hamdolok originated from the exposure of Middle East culture introduced by Arabs in Johor. It is a traditional theatre performed during weddings and festivals. It is a blend of artistic characters of both the Middle-East and local Malay communities. Instruments used include the gambus, tambourine, maracas and conga drums . It was also inspired by the Bedouin celebrating the birth of Prophet Muhammad S.A.W playing musical instruments and reciting poetry.

Songs of Johor

The most famous song about Johor and Johor Bahru

Tanjung Puteri

Tanjuk Johor Tanjung Puteri

Selat Tebrau airnya biru

Di Pantai Lido tepian mandi

Sepanjang masa di hari minggu

Atas bukit Tanjung Puteri

Taman hiburan indah berseri

Pemandangan menawan hati

Jalan tambak hubungan negeri

( korus )

Tanjung Sekijang nun di kuala

Tempat nelayan mengail gelama

Istana Hinggap di Kuala Danga

Pantai berkelah keluarga diRaja

Dari Tebrau orang berakit

Singgah Stulang membeli kopi

Pusara Si Bongkok di lereng bukit

Di tepi pantai Tanjung Puteri


Dishes and cuisine in Johor are influenced by Arabs and the surrounding Malay archipelago. Some of the dishes are a unique blend of ingredients not found anywhere in Malaysia. Sadly, due to its difficult and sometimes complicated recipe, some are rare delights that can only be sampled in celebrations and state banquets.

  • Laksa Johor is a cuisine originated from Johor. It differs from Laksa Penang by having coconut milk added during cooking.
  • Mee bandung is also a dish originated from Johor, specifically from Muar. The term 'bandung' is not derived from Bandung, Indonesia but as a term for anyting that is mixed from many ingredients.
  • Penganan Kacau keledek is a dessert normally served for the Johor monarch and elites. it is made from sweet potatoes, lots and lots of eggs (at least 40), fresh coconut milk (no instant ones please) and tons of sugar. it is mixed together and stirred on a simmering heat for at least 4 hours.
  • Mee rebus is the famous dish which consists of Mee (a spaghetti like mixture of flour,salt and egg) and is served with a brown sauce. Usually crumbs and bolied eggs are added. Exclusive Mee Rebus even comes with chicken and mushrooms
  • Arisa - A unique dish that is very-very rare nowdays, normally served to the royalties and social elites in Johor at formal functions and celebrations. The ingredients are:
    • 2 young chicken weighing 1.2 kg
    • 500 g of oats
    • 4 red onions
    • 15 cloves of garlic
    • 15 cardammon seeds
    • 10 cloves
    • 50 mm of cinnamon sticks
    • 100 mm of ginger
    • 340 g lb of ghee
    • 2 tablespoons of white pepper
    • Salt to taste
    • Clean the chicken, cut into 4. Place in a stock pot. Blend the ginger and garlic, cut red onion into 4 and put the blended ingredients and onion into the stock pot. Add in 12 glasses of water,add in salt,cardamon seeds, cinnamon sticks and cloves. Bring the chicken to boil. Take out the chicken, deboned it and blend it into puree. Sieve the chicken stock, bring it to boil again, add in the chicken puree, oats, white pepper and salt to taste. Stir nonstop until it thickens, add in half of the ghee and stir until the mixture is smooth. Pour the mixture into a square mold to shape it with a depression in the middle. The rest of the ghee is used to fry onions which is the poured into the depression. The fried onions is sprinkled on top to garnish.
  • Kuih Sirat
  • Pisang Salai or Gimpi
  • Lontong
  • Nasi Ambeng
  • Telur Pindang
  • Otak-otak
  • Nasi Briyani Gam
  • Mee Soto
  • Burasak
  • Halwa Maskat
  • Bontrot/berkat
  • Kerutup ikan
  • Asam pedas daun kesum
  • Pecal
  • Tauhu bakar
  • Pendaram
  • Roti Kirai or Roti Jala - The name is derived from bread and net or 'roti' and 'jala' in Malay. A special ladle with a five hole perforation is used to make the bread looks like a fish net (picture in the works). It is usually eaten spicy with curry or sweet with 'serawa'.
  • Mee Siput
  • Rojak Petis
  • Serawa - Made from a mixture of boiled coconut milk, brown sugar and pandan leaf.

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