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Negeri dan Jajahan Takluk Johor Darul Ta'zim
Other transcription(s)
 • Malay Johor
 • Jawi جوهر
 • Chinese 柔佛
 • Tamil ஜொகூர்
Flag of Johor
Coat of arms of Johor
Coat of arms
Nickname(s): Darul Ta'zim[1]
Abode of Dignity[2]
Motto(s): Kepada Allah Berserah[1]
كڤد الله برسره
To Allah We Surrender[1]
Anthem: Lagu Bangsa Johor
لاڬو بڠسا جوهر
Johor State Anthem
   Johor in    Malaysia
   Johor in    Malaysia
Coordinates: 1°59′27″N 103°28′58″E / 1.99083°N 103.48278°E / 1.99083; 103.48278Coordinates: 1°59′27″N 103°28′58″E / 1.99083°N 103.48278°E / 1.99083; 103.48278
Capital Johor Bahru[a]
Royal capital Muar
 • Type Parliamentary constitutional monarchy
 • Sultan Sultan Ibrahim Ismail
 • Tunku Mahkota Tunku Ismail ibni Sultan Ibrahim
 • Menteri Besar Osman Sapian (PH-PPBM)
 • Total 19,102 km2 (7,375 sq mi)
Population (2017)[3]
 • Total 3,700,000 (3rd)
 • Density 174/km2 (450/sq mi)
 • Demonym Johorean / Johorian
Human Development Index
 • HDI (2010) 0.798 (high) (5th)
Time zone UTC+8 (MST[4])
Postal code 79xxx[5] to 86xxx[6]
Calling code 07[b]
06 (Muar and Tangkak)[7]
ISO 3166 code MY-01[8]
Vehicle registration J[9]
Johor Sultanate 1528
Anglo–Johor Treaty 1885
Johor State Constitution 14 April 1895
British protectorate 1914
Japanese occupation 31 January 1942
Accession into the Federation of Malaya 1948
Independence as part of the Federation of Malaya 31 August 1957
Federated as part of Malaysia 16 September 1963
Website Official website
^[a] Kota Iskandar is a state administrative centre.
^[b] Except Muar and Tangkak.

Johor (/əˈhɔːr/) formerly known as Johore is a state of Malaysia located in the southern portion of Malay Peninsula. Johor has land borders with the Malaysian states of Pahang to the north, Malacca and Negeri Sembilan to the northwest, and Singapore to the south separated through the Straits of Johor. Johor shares maritime borders with Singapore in the south and Indonesia in both of its west and east. Johor Bahru is the capital city and the economic centre of the state, Kota Iskandar as the seat of the state government while Muar serves as the royal town of the state. Subsequently, the old state capital is Johor Lama. As of the 2015 census in Malaysia, the state's population is 3,553,600.[10] Johor is geographically located in a region with tropical rainforests equatorial climate and receives abundant animal and plant species. The state mountain ranges form part of the Titiwangsa Range which is also part of the larger Tenasserim Range connected to Thailand and Myanmar with Mount Ophir become the highest point for Johor.

The earliest human settlement in Johor can be traced in its dense forest although much of the ancient history are still being researched. The state had an early contact with Funan based from the exchange of gifts. After the demise of the kingdom, much of the Malay coast are then fell under the jurisdiction of Siam and later by Majapahit. Several decades later with the emergence of the Malaccan Empire, Islam subsequently being expanded throughout the Malay Archipelago. After the fall of the empire to the Portuguese, remnants of the Malaccan royal family then moved into a river in the southern Malay Peninsula which known to the locals as Johor River and establishing a new sultanate which later grew into another empire called Johor Empire. Despite their attempts to retaking Malacca, this resulted into a triangular war between Johor, Portuguese and another rising sultanate in northern Sumatra of Aceh. With the arrival of Dutch East India Company (VOC), Johor managed to end the Portuguese rule and restore its rule to many of its former dependencies in Sumatra despite Malacca continue to be under foreign hands powers. Through internal dispute within the Johor sultanate and the presence of the East India Company (EIC) in northern Malay Peninsula, this subsequently changed the policy of Dutch trade from being involved in local disputes where they began to rapidly conquer much part of Sumatra and signing the Anglo-Dutch Treaty of 1824 with the British to prevent any further conflicts with the latter.

Under the treaty, the Malay Archipelago are then divided under two influences where the British successfully gaining the entire Malay Peninsula while the Dutch surrendering their Malaccan possession in exchange to British Bencoolen and the rest of Sumatra including other territories such as Java located in far south. Under British rule, much priority are being given towards education and development with the Johor royal administration itself are being reformed under a British-style monarchy. The arrival of the Japanese in World War II however halted the further modernisation for Johor, where the state being occupied for three years. After the end of the war, Johor became part of the temporary Malayan Union before being absorbed into the Federation of Malaya under certain terms and gained full independence through the federation. On 16 September 1963, the Malayan federation are being merged into a more larger federation of the Federation of Malaysia with North Borneo, Sarawak and Singapore (expelled in 1965). The federation was opposed by neighbouring Indonesia, which led to the Indonesia–Malaysia confrontation over three years along with the continuous war against local Communist revolts.

Johor exhibits notable diversity in ethnicity, culture and language with the state is known for its traditional dance of zapin. The head of state is the Sultan of Johor, while the head of government is the Menteri Besar. The government system is closely modelled on the Westminster parliamentary system with the state administration is divided into administrative districts. The state religion of Johor being Islam since it has been put on since the 1895 Constitution of Johor despite other religion could still be freely practiced in the state;[11] while both Malay and English have been accepted as the official language for the state since 1914.[12] Its economy is mainly based on services and manufacturing.


The Royal Crown in Istana Bukit Serene, Johor is frequently dubbed as the "Jewel".[13][14]

The area is earliest known to the northern inhabitants of Siamese people as Gangganu or Ganggayu (Treasury of Gems with precious stone)[15][16][17] due to its abundance with the mineral resources of gemstone and jewellery once founded in the present-day Johor River;[18][19] which then referred by Arabic traders as جَوْهَر (jauhar),[15][16][20] a word borrowed from the Persian گوهر (gauhar), which also carry the same meaning of "precious stone/jewel" in those languages.[21] As the local people found it difficult to pronounce the Arabic word with local dialect, the name subsequently became Johor.[22] Meanwhile, the Old Javanese eulogy of Nagarakretagama described the area as Ujong Medini (land's end) as the most southern point of the Asian continental mainland. Another name through Portuguese writer Manuel Godinho de Erédia made reference to Marco Polo's sailing adventure to Ujong Tanah (the end of the Malay Peninsula land) in 1292.[15] Both Ujong Medini and Ujong Tanah had been mentioned since before the foundation of the Sultanate of Malacca. Throughout the period, several other names also co-existed such as Galoh, Lenggiu and Wurawari.[15][22] Johor is also known by its Arabic honorific as دارالتّعظيم (Darul Ta'zim) or "Abode of Dignity".[22]


Historical affiliations
Sultanate of Johore 1528–1855

Modern Johore Sultanate 1885–1942; 1945–1946
Unfederated Malay States 1914–1942
Empire of Japan 1942–1945
Malayan Union 1946–1948
Federation of Malaya 1948–1963

 Malaysia 1963–present


As evidenced on archaeological findings, a bronze bell estimated to be from the year of 150 A.D. are founded in Kampong Sungai Penchu near Muar River.[23][24] The bell are believed to have been used as a ceremonial objects rather than a trade object as similar ceremonial bell with the same decorations are also founded in Battambang Province of Cambodia, suggesting the Malay coast could probably come in contact with the first Funan with the bell used as state gifts from early kingdom in mainland Asia to local chieftains in the Malay Peninsula.[23][25] Another trace of archaeological findings is based on the discovery of an ancient lost city of Kota Gelanggi in the dense jungles of Johor through the trails of an old Malay manuscript once owned by Stamford Raffles.[26] Based from artefacts gathered in the area, these have reinforced claims of the existence of an early human settlement in the state.[27] The claim of Kota Gelanggi as the first settlement however disputable by the state government of Johor, with other evidences through archaeological finds conducted by the state heritage foundation since 1996 stating the historic city is actually located in Kota Tinggi District at either Kota Klang Kiu or Ganggayu, although the exact location of the ancient cities is still undisclosed with the area being said located somewhere within the 14,000 hectares (34,595 acres) site of the forest reserve where Lenggiu and Madek Rivers are located as based on records in the Malay Annals that after conquering Gangga Negara, Raja Suran from Siam of Nakhon Si Thammarat Kingdom (Ligor Kingdom) had sailed to Ganggayu.[28] Since the ancient times, most of the coast along Malay Peninsula have their own rulers but all fell under the jurisdiction of Siam.[29]

Sultanate of Johor

Map of the Dominion of Johor, 1727.

Since the fall of Malacca in 1511 to the Portuguese, a new sultanate based from the descendant of the Malaccan Sultanate was founded by Mahmud's son, Ala'udin Ri'ayat Shah II in 1528 who established the Johor Sultanate when he moved the royal court to the Johor River and set up his royal residence in Johor Lama.[30][31] With the rise of Johor as an empire with its geographical scope spanning the southern portion of Malay Peninsula, Riau Archipelago (including Singapore), Anambas Islands, Tambelan Archipelago, Natuna Islands, a region around the Sambas River in south-western Borneo and Siak in Sumatra together with Allies of Pahang, Aru and Champa,[32][33] the sultanate had an ambition to retake Malacca from the Portuguese.[34] At the same time, another sultanate named Aceh based in northern Sumatra also had the same ambition which later led to a triangular war between the three.[35] Throughout the wars, Johor administration capital have been moved several times as war strategies and to maintain authority over trading in the region.[30] As both Johor and the Portuguese saw Aceh as a common enemy due to its constant attack against them, the two began to collaborate against each other.[36] In 1582 the Portuguese assisted Johor to thwart an attack by Aceh, but arrangement ended when Johor attacked the Portuguese in 1587. Aceh continued its attacks against the Portuguese, and was later destroyed when a large additional armada from the Portuguese port in Goa came to defend Malacca and destroy the sultanate.[37]

An 1818 Chinese cartography map by Zhu Xiling with Hainan, Taiwan, Java, Brunei, Johor, Vietnam and Cambodia are delineated.

After Aceh was left weakened, the Dutch East India Company (VOC) arrived and Johor began to formed an alliance with them to eliminate the Portuguese in the second capture of Malacca in 1641.[38][39] Johor managed to regain authority over many of its former dependencies in Sumatra, such as Siak (1662) and Indragiri (1669) which are previously fall to Aceh while Malacca are taken by the Dutch.[37][40] Malacca were placed under the direct control of Batavia in Java.[41] Although the authority of Malacca fell under the Dutch, the latter did not establish any further trading posts in Malay Peninsula and Sumatra as it had less interest than what they had over Java and Maluku Islands.[39] Only when the Bugis began to threaten Dutch maritime trade, resulting the latter being involved with local disputes.[37] The Malaccan descendants dynasty ruled until the death of Mahmud II which succeed by the Bendahara Dynasty, a dynasty comprised ministers who had previously served in the Malacca Sultanate.[30] When the threats towards Dutch increase in the 18th century especially when English rivalry started to establish its presence over areas in the northern Malay Peninsula,[42] this led the Dutch to seize the Bugis areas of Riau and expelled the Bugis from both Riau and Selangor as fearing these areas would fall under British rule.[43] The fall of Riau and Kuala Selangor to the Dutch was significant since it terminated Bugis political domination in the Johor-Pahang-Riau empire, resulting the Bugis being banned from Riau from 1784.[44][45] Throughout the rivalry between the Bugis and Dutch, Mahmud Shah III concluding a treaty of protection with the VOC on board the HNLMS Utrecht (1898) and the sultan was allowed to reside in Riau with Dutch protection.[44] Since then, the mistrust between the Bugis and Malay began to escalated.[45] From 1796 until 1801, and 1807 to 1818 Malacca was temporary placed under British Resident as the Netherlands were conquered by France in the Napoleonic Wars before being returned to the Dutch in 1818. Malacca served as the staging area for the British victory in 1811.[46]

British protectorate

A painting by John Edmund Taylor showing people out in rowing boats on the Johor River in the evening seen from Changi in Singapore, July 1879.

After the death of Mahmud Shah III, the sultan left two sons through commoner mothers. While his elder son, Hussein Shah was being supported by the Malay community, his younger son Abdul Rahman Muazzam Shah was supported by the Bugis community.[45] In 1818, the Dutch recognise Abdul Rahman Muazzam Shah as the legitimate heir to the Johor Empire in return for their intention to establish a trading post in Riau.[47] The following year, the British recognise Hussein Shah as the legitimate heir to the Johor Empire for their intention to establish a trading post in Singapore.[30][45][48] Early before his death, Mahmud Shah III had appointed Temenggong Abdul Rahman as the Temenggong for Johor with a recognition from the British as the legitimate Temenggong of Johor-Singapore, resulting the beginning of the Temenggong Dynasty. Temenggong Abdul Rahman was then succeeded by his son, Temenggong Daeng Ibrahim although his recognition by the British are only occurred 14 years later.[30]

Johor Bahru town during the British period, c. 1920.

With the partition of the Johor Empire due to the dispute between Bugis and Malay and following the definite limit of sphere of influence from the British and Dutch resulted from the Anglo-Dutch Treaty of 1824, Temenggong Daeng Ibrahim intended to create a new administration centre for the Johor Sultanate under the new dynasty.[49] As the Temenggong maintained a close relationship with the British and the latter want to have full control over trade activities in Singapore, a treaty was signed between Temenggong Daeng Ibrahim and Hussein Shah successor, Ali Iskandar for the recognition of Ali as the next sultan.[50] Through the treaty, Ali will be crowned as the sultan and receive $5,000 (in Spanish dollars) with an allowance of $500 per month but are 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 Daeng Ibrahim.[50][51][52]

Partition of the Johor Empire prior and after the Anglo-Dutch Treaty of 1824 between the 18th-19th centuries.[53]

Under British influence:

Under Dutch influence:
  Indragiri Sultanate

With the establishment of a new capital in mainland Johor, the administration centre was moved 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. Since his reign, Johor began to be modernised and this was continued by his son, Abu Bakar.[30][54] In 1885, an Anglo-Johor Treaty was signed which signify the close relations between the two with the British are given transit rights for trade through the sultanate territory and responsibility to its foreign relations, as well providing protection to the latter.[47][52] The treaty also provided for the appointment of British agent in an advisory role despite no advisor was appointed until 1910.[55] Through Abu Bakar reign, he also implemented a constitution known as Undang-undang Tubuh Negeri Johor (Johor State Constitution) and set up his administration under a British style.[56] By adopting English modernisation policy, Johor was able to temporarily prevent itself from being intervened directly by the British as been did by the latter to other Malay states.[57][58]

Under the reign of Ibrahim, the British appointed Douglas Graham Campbell as an advisor to the sultanate in 1910, although the sultan only appoint Campbell as a General Adviser unlike in other Malayan states which had Resident Advisors, which also marking the last Malay state to accept British Adviser.[30] However, due to economic problems caused by Ibrahim overspending, the sultanate faced problems caused by the fall price of its major source of revenue and problem between him and members of his state council which subsequently giving a large opportunity to the British to intervene in their internal affairs problems.[57] Despite Ibrahim reluctantly to appointed a British adviser, Johor was successfully brought under British control as one of the Unfederated Malay States (UMS) by 1914 with the position of its General Adviser was elevated to the level similar to that of a Resident in the Federated Malay States (FMS).[40][47][52][59]

Second World War

Two Australian 8th Division members firing on Japanese Type 95 Ha-Gō tanks on the Muar-Parit Sulong road during the battle of Muar, 18 January 1942.

Since the 1910s, Japanese planters had involved in numerous estates and mining mineral resources in Johor resulted from the Anglo-Japanese Alliance between the British and Japanese.[60][61][62] After the First World War, rubber cultivation in Malaya is done largely by Japanese companies. Following the Rubber Lands Restrictions (Enactment) abolishment in 1919, Gomu Nanyo Company (South Seas Rubber Co. Ltd.) trying to apply the rubber land ideal for the cultivation of rubber in the interior of Johor.[63] By 1920s, Ibrahim had became a personal friend of Tokugawa Yoshichika who was a scion of the Tokugawa clan and his ancestors were military leaders (shōgun in Japanese) who ruled Japan from the 16th to the 19th centuries.[61] Throughout the Second World War with a great cost of lives in the battle of Muar in Johor as part of the Malayan Campaign,[64] the Imperial Japanese Army (IJA) forces with their bicycle infantry and tanks are advancing into Muar District (present-day Tangkak District) on 14 January 1942.[65] During the Japanese forces arrival, Tokugawa accompanied General Tomoyuki Yamashita's troops and was warmly received by Ibrahim when they reached Johor Bahru at the end of January 1942.[65] Yamashita and his officers then stationed themselves at the Sultan's residence, Istana Bukit Serene and the state secretariat building, Sultan Ibrahim Building to plan for the invasion of Singapore.[66] Some of the Japanese officers at the time are worried since the location of the palace are exposed to the British, but Yamashita are confident the British would not dare to attack since Ibrahim is also a friend to the British which are proved to be correct.[61][66]

View of the blown up Johor–Singapore Causeway with the gap visible in the middle, which delayed the Japanese conquest of Singapore for over a week to 8 February 1942.

On 8 February, the Japanese began to bombard the northwestern coastline of Singapore which was followed-up by the crossing of the IJA 5th and 18th Divisions with around 13,000 troops through the Straits of Johor.[67] The following day, the Imperial Guard Division crossed into Kranji while the remaining Japanese Guard troops crossing through the Johor–Singapore Causeway which have been repaired by them.[67] Following the occupation of the whole of Malaya and Singapore by the Japanese, Tokugawa had proposed a reform plan by which the five kingdoms of Johor, Terengganu, Kelantan, Kedah-Penang and Perlis should be restored and federated.[62] Under the proposal scheme, Johor should control Perak, Selangor, Negeri Sembilan and Malacca while an area of 800 square miles in the southern part of Johor would be incorporated into Singapore for defence purposes.[62] The five monarch of the kingdoms would be obliged to pledge loyalty to Japan, need to visit Japanese royal family every two years and assure the freedom of religion, worship, employment and private ownership of property to all people as well accord every Japanese residing in the kingdoms with treatment equal to indigenous people.[62]

Additional Japanese troops advancing through an iron bridge in Labis which has been destroyed by the retreating British forces down the Malayan Peninsula, 22 January 1942.

Meanwhile, Ōtani Kōzui of the Nishi Hongan-ji sub-sect of Jōdo Shinshū Buddhism suggested the sultan system should be abolished with Japan should rule the Malay kingdoms under Japanese constitutional monarchy government.[62] Japanese War Minister Hideki Tōjō however already reminded their government staffs assign to Malaya to refrain from being superior to the sultan and it is important for them to pay respect so the sultan will co-operate with the gunsei (Japanese military organisation).[62] In May, many of the Japanese high ranking officials returned to Tokyo to consult with officials of the War Ministry and General Staff on how to deal with the Sultan.[62] Upon their returning to Singapore in July, they had publish a document called "A Policy for the Treatment of the Sultan" which is a demand policy for the Sultan to surrendered his power over his people and land to the Japanese emperor through the IJA commander. The military organisation demanded the sultan to give their power in a manner reminiscent of the way the Tokugawa shogunate surrender their power to the Japanese emperor in 1868.[62] Throughout the Japanese administration, the Japanese also established the Endau Settlement (also known as New Syonan Model Farm) in Endau for Chinese settlers to ease food supply problem in Singapore,[68] despite many massacres towards Chinese and Malay civilians occurred in most parts of Johor since the early stages of Japanese administration.[69]

Post-war and independence

British Brigadier J J McCully inspects men of the 4th Regiment of the Malayan People’s Anti-Japanese Army (MPAJA) guerillas at Johor Bahru after the end of war against the Japanese, 1945.

Since the starting of the war, the British accept the Communist Party of Malaya (CPM) offer to co-operate to fight the Japanese, by which the CPM forms the Malayan People’s Anti-Japanese Army (MPAJA).[70] The CPM supporters were mostly Chinese-educated members discriminated by the English educated elite and the Babas (Straits-born Chinese) during the British rule with their main objective was to establish a Communist state similar to the victories of the Communist Party of China (CPC) in the Chinese Communist Revolution.[71] Despite the party also had Malay and Indian representative, they advocated violence as a method to achieving their outcomes.[71] Throughout their war against the Japanese, they deployed harsh war tactics with any Chinese, Malay and Indian civilians suspected of collaborating with the Japanese will be killed,[72] while kidnapped Malay women used as comfort women as also been did by the Japanese previously.[73] This subsequently leads to retaliatory raids with some Malays affected by the attacks decided to collaborate with the Japanese which also had indirectly resulted to ethnic conflict especially when ethnic propaganda are being fanned towards each other, leading to the loss of more innocent lives especially from those who are not involved towards any side.[73][74] Towards the liberation of Malaya and Singapore, the Allied forces launch Operation Tiderace and Operation Zipper. In the five weeks before the British resume control over Malaya following the Japanese surrender on 16 August 1945, the MPAJA emerges as the de facto authority in the Malayan territory.[70]

MPAJA guerrillas marching through the street of Johor Bahru during their disbandment ceremony in December 1945.

Johor as the rest of Malaya was officially placed under the British Military Administration (BMA) from September 1945 and the MPAJA was disbanded in December after its secretary-general, Lai Teck, who was also a double agent for the British accept the return of British colonial rule and adopt a moderate “open and legal” struggle for their ideological goals with most of their members were given medals by the British the following year.[70][72] Following the dispute between the British and CPM since the British return and the disappearance of Lai Teck with the funds of CPM. The party administration was subsequently overtaken by Chin Peng by which Lai Teck’s “moderate strategy” are being abandoned in favour of a “people’s revolutionary war”, which culminating the Malayan Emergency in 1948.[70] Through the emergency period, large-scale attacks by CPM occurred in present-day Kulai District as well to other parts in Malaya but still fail to establish Mao Zedong-style “liberated areas”.[70]

Onn Jaafar (left), the Menteri Besar of Johor as well the founder of the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) with Dr. W. Linehan (right), C.M.G. Adviser on Constitutional Affairs during the Federation of Malaya Agreements in 1948.

Fighting between the British/Malayan forces and Communist insurgents continues even until the formation of the Malayan Union on 1 April 1946 and proclamation of Federation of Malaya independence on 31 August 1957.[75] Towards the independence of Malaya, the political factions are divided into three between the Communist, pro-British and race-based coalition. The pro-British side are divided between the Malayan Democratic Union (MDU) which are dominated by English-speaking Chinese and Eurasians who co-operate with left-wing Malay nationalists "for an independent Malaya that would also include Singapore" and another pro-British side comprising the Babas under the Straits Chinese British Association (SCBA) who trying to retain their status and privileges granted earlier by the British since the Straits Settlements era for being loyal to the latter by which they are seeking to remain under the British administration.[71][76][77] Meanwhile, the racial coalition comprising the leading United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) with fellow alliance from Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC) and Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA) are seeking for an independent Malaya based on racial and religious privileges policy which they later won the 1955 Malayan general election, with the capital of Johor Bahru itself being the centre of foundation for the UMNO party.[45][71]


In 1961, the Prime Minister of the Federation of Malaya Tunku Abdul Rahman desired to unite Malaya with the British colonies of North Borneo, Sarawak and Singapore.[78] Despite growing opposition from the governments in both Indonesia and the Philippines as well from Communist sympathisers and nationalist in Borneo, the federation are being realised on 16 September 1963.[79][80] The Indonesian government later launched a "policy of confrontation" towards the new federation,[81] which was responded by the British and their allies of Australia and New Zealand with the deployment of their armed forces.[82][83] Subsequently, Pontian District became the coastal landing point for Indonesian troops during the confrontation through amphibious raids while Labis and Tenang in Segamat District became the landing point to parachuted Indonesian para-commandos for subversion and sabotage attacks.[84][85][86] Several encounters then occurred in Kota Tinggi District where nine Malayan/Singaporean troops together with about half of the Indonesian infiltrators were killed while the rest are captured until the end of the confrontation.[87] Despite several attacks that also costing the loss of civilian lives, the Indonesian side unable to reach their main objective and the confrontation was finally ended in 1966 following internal political struggle in Indonesia resulted from the 30 September Movement.[88][89]



Affiliation Coalition/Party Leader Status Seats
2018 election Current
     Pakatan Harapan Muhyiddin Yassin Government 36 39
     Barisan Nasional Hasni Mohamad Opposition 19 16
     Gagasan Sejahtera Abdullah Husin 1 1
Total 56 56
Government majority 16 22
The Johor Royal Family in 2015.

Johor is a constitutional monarchy and was the first state in Malaysia to adopt the system via Undang-undang Tubuh Negeri Johor (Johor State Constitution) written by Sultan Abu Bakar in 1895.[90][91] The constitutional head of Johor is the Sultan. This hereditary position can only be held by a member of the Johor Royal Family, who is descended from Abu Bakar. The current Sultan of Johor is Ibrahim Ismail who took over the throne since 23 January 2010.[92] The main royal palace for the Sultan is in the Bukit Serene Palace, while the royal palace for the Crown Prince is in the Istana Pasir Pelangi with both palaces are located in the state capital. Other palaces are the Grand Palace (which is also located in the state capital), Tanjong Palace in Muar, Sri Lambak in Kluang and Shooting Box in Segamat.[93] The state government is headed by a Menteri Besar, with the Menteri Besar is assisted by 11 members executive council (exco), whose members are selected from the state assembly members.[94] The legislative branch of Johor's government is the Johor State Legislative Assembly with the legislature is based on the Westminster system and therefore the chief minister is appointed based on his or her ability to command the majority of the state assembly. The state assembly makes laws in matters regarding the state. Members of the Assembly are elected by citizens every five years by universal suffrage.[95] There are 56 seats in Johor assembly, in which currently the majority (39 seats) are held by Pakatan Harapan (PH) after the 2018 general election.[96]

The Sultan Ismail Building as the Johor State Legislative Assembly in Kota Iskandar, Iskandar Puteri.

Johor was a sovereign state from 1948 until 1957 when the Federation of Malaya Agreement was in force despite its defence and external affairs are mainly under the control of Britain.[97] The Malayan federation was then merged with another two British colonies in Borneo namely North Borneo and Sarawak to form the Federation of Malaysia. Since the federation foundation, several disputes have arisen such as the incident involving the state royal family that resulting the 1993 amendments to the Constitution of Malaysia, disputes with federal leaders on the state and federation affairs and dissatisfaction over the slowing progress of development despite longer administration period by the Barisan Nasional (BN) federal government where most of the development only comes recently in contrast with the prosperity that has long been achieved in neighbouring independent Singapore which even led to statements about secession from the state monarchs family.[98][99] This was also added with other social issues such as the rise of racial and religious intolerance among its state citizen since being part of the federation.[100][101]

Administrative division

Johor is divided into ten districts (daerah), 103 mukims and 16 local governments.[102][103] There is district officers for each of the district along with village headman (known as ketua kampung and penghulu) for each village in the district.[104][105][106] Before the British arrival, Johor administration was run by a group of kins and friends of the Sultan. A more organised administrative organisation then was formed through the treaty of friendship with Great Britain in 1885.[107] British Resident began to be accepted in 1914 when the state was brought as part of the UMS.[108] With the transformation into a British-style administration, more Europeans were appointed into the administration with their career expanded from advising financial related matters to modern administration instructions.[109] Malay state commissioners worked alongside British district officers, known in Johor as "Assistant Advisers".[110] When the post of the Resident of the UMS was abolished, other European posts in the administration was replaced by the locals. As in the rest of Malaysia, local government comes under the purview of state government.[111]

Districts Capital Area (km²) Population (2010)[112]
1 Batu Pahat District Batu Pahat 1,878 401,902
2 Johor Bahru District Johor Bahru 1,817.8 1.334,188
3 Kluang District Kluang 2,851 288,364
4 Kota Tinggi District Kota Tinggi 3,488 187,824
5 Kulai District Kulai 753 245,294
6 Mersing District Mersing 2,838 69,028
7 Muar District Muar 1,376 239,027
8 Pontian District Pontian Kechil 907 149,938
9 Segamat District Segamat 2,851 182,985
10 Tangkak District Tangkak 970 51,555


Sultan Ibrahim leading the Johor Military Forces (JMF) during the King's Birthday Parade of George V in Singapore, c. 1920.

The Ninth Schedule of the Constitution of Malaysia states that the Malaysian federal government is solely responsible for foreign policy and military forces in the country.[113] Despite this, Johor is the only state with a private army called as the Royal Johor Military Force (Askar Timbalan Setia Negeri Johor) since 1886 which differentiating it from the rest of Malaysian states (apart from Sarawak Rangers para-military forces of the Kingdom of Sarawak in Borneo which now has been absorbed into the national Royal Ranger Regiment since the formation of Malaysia) with the private military force serves as the protector of the Johor monarchs.[114] It is one of the oldest military unit that ever been established in present-day Malaysia with a significant historical role in the suppression of the 1915 Singapore Mutiny and served in both World Wars.[115]

In 1885, the state security was placed under the British military protection with the latter also responsible towards its foreign policy.[108][116] Although the state refused to appoint a British Resident as did by its neighbouring Malay states, it was finally absorbed into the UMS as a British protectorate in 1914.[117]

Territorial disputes

Location map of the island and rocks involved in the dispute case.

Johor previously has a dispute with Malaysia's neighbour of Singapore.[118] Following the publishment of "Malaysian Territorial Waters and Continental Shelf Boundaries Map" by the government of Malaysia in 1979 that including the island of Batu Puteh (present-day Pedra Branca) as part of their sovereignty, Singapore began to lodged a formal protest the following year.[119] The dispute originally consist of only one feature but since both sides had agreed to refer the matter to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in 2003, the dispute had enlarged to include two other features in the same vicinity, namely Middle Rocks (MR) and South Ledge (SL).[118] Its results was finally known in 2008 where the ICJ decides that "Batu Puteh belong to Singapore, Middle Rocks to Malaysia and South Ledge belongs to the state in the territorial waters of which it is located".[120][121] The final decision by ICJ to award the Pedra Branca island to Singapore is in line with the 1953 letter made by the Acting State Secretary of Johor as a respond to the question letter regarding Pedra Branca from the Colonial Secretary of Singapore where the Johor government openly stating that it does not claim ownership of Pedra Branca despite it is acknowledgeable the old Johor Empire once rule a vast part of islands in the area.[122][123] In 2017, about ten years since the final results was announced, Malaysia began to re-appeal the case of Pedra Branca based on the condition required by the ICJ where a case could be revised within six months of discovery of facts and within ten years of the date of judgement following the discovery of several facts.[124] The request was however dropped following internal changes in the new Malaysian administration the following year where they subsequently acknowledging Singapore's permanent sovereignty over the island while announcing plans to convert the Middle Rocks which is under Malaysia's sovereignty into an island.[125][126]



Johor is located in southern Malay Peninsula as seen from NASA satellite image.

The total land area of Johor is nearly 19,102 square kilometres (7,375 sq mi) surrounded by the South China Sea in the east, Straits of Johor in the south and Straits of Malacca in the west.[3] The state has a total of 400 kilometres (250 mi) coastline,[note 1][127] with a majority of its coastline especially in the western area is covered with mangrove and nipah forests.[128][129][130] The coastline in the eastern meanwhile are largely dominating by sand beaches and rocky headlands,[131] while in the southern consist of a series of alternating headlands and bays.[130] Its exclusive economic zone (EEZ) is much larger towards the South China Sea than to the Straits of Malacca.[132] The western part of Johor had a considerable number of peatlands.[133] In 2005, the state recorded 391,499,002 hectares (967,415,102 acres) of forested land which is classified between natural inland forest, peat swamp forest, mangrove forest and mud flat.[134] The Titiwangsa Range foothills extend towards Johor with the highest point being the Mount Ophir with a height of 1,276 metres.[135] In total, there are another ten mountains in the state with height ranged from 273 metres to 1,010 metres.[136] About 83% of Johor terrain consist of lowlands area, while only 17% consist of higher and steep terrain.[134]

Forest trees of Johor in a tropical geography with tropical rainforest climate.

Much part in the central Johor is covered with dense forest, where extensive network of rivers originated from mountains and hills in the area also co-exists and spread into western, eastern and southern.[137] On the west coast, Batu Pahat River, Muar River and Pontian River flowing to the Straits of Malacca, while Johor River, Malay River, Perepat River, Pulai River, Skudai River and Tebrau River flow to the Straits of Johor in the south. Endau River, Mersing River, Sedili Besar River and Sedili Kecil River meanwhile are flowing to the South China Sea in the east.[134] The Johor River Basin covers an area of 2,690 kilometres, where the system starting from Mount Belumut (east of Kluang) and Mount Gemuruh (to the north) towards downstream to Tanjung Belungkor.[138] The river itself originated from Layang-Layang, Linggiu and Sayong River before converge into main river and flows southeast to the Straits of Johor with a total length of 122.7 kilometres. Among its tributaries include Berangan River, Lebak River, Lebam River, Panti River, Pengeli River, Permandi River, Seluyut River, Semangar River, Telor River, Tembioh River and Tiram River.[138] Other river basin in Johor including Ayer Baloi River, Benut River, Botak Drainage, Jemaluang River, Pontian Besar River, Sanglang River, Santi River and Sarang Buaya River.[139]

The land of Johor is located in a tropical geography with equatorial climate. Both the climate and humidity are consistently high throughout the year with heavy rainfall. The average monthly temperature are between 26 °C (79 °F) to 28 °C (82 °F) with the lowest is recorded during rainy seasons.[134] The west coast area receives an average rainfall of 2,000 millimetres to 2,500 millimetres while in the east the average rainfall are more higher with Endau and Pengerang receives more than 3,400 millimetres rainfall a year. The state experiences two monsoon seasons of northeast and southwest with the northeast occurs from March until November while the southeast from May until September whereas the transitional month for the monsoon season occurs on the months of April and November.[134] As the state is exposed to a high precipitation of rain, it experienced the worst flood from December 2006 to January 2007 with around 60,000–70,000 of the state residents was evacuated to emergency shelter.[140][141] Since the state also lies within the Sunda Plate, it experiences tremors from nearby earthquake in Sumatra of Indonesia.[142]


A female Tiger shrike (Lanius tigrinus) in Panti Forest.

The jungles of Johor host a diverse array of plant and animal species with an estimate of 950 vertebrates species comprising 200 mammals, 600 birds and 150 reptiles along with 2,080 invertebrates species.[134] The Endau-Rompin National Park is the largest national park in the state, covering an area of 48,905 hectares (120,847 acres) in the northern Johor side with its name comes from the Endau and Rompin rivers that flow through the park.[143] There are two entry points towards the park, one through Peta with an area of 19,562 hectares (48,339 acres) (about 40% of total gazetted area) with entrance from Kahang in Mersing District and the other at Kampung Selai with an area of 29,343 hectares (72,508 acres) (about 60% of total gazetted area) with entrance from Bekok in Segamat District.[144][145] Among the destinations in Peta including Buaya Sangkut Waterfalls, Upeh Guling Waterfalls, Air Biru Lake, Janing Barat, Nature Education and Research Centre (NERC), Kuala Jasin and Peta indigenous village while in Selai the area is mostly for hiking and jungle trekking.[145][146] Some iconic mammals species inside the national park including Asian elephant, clouded leopard, Malayan sun bear, Malayan tapir and Malayan tiger.[147]

Stork in the swamp of Johor.

The Gunung Ledang National Park with an area of 8,611 hectares (21,278 acres) in the western part of Johor state had been gazetted as another national park since 2005.[148] Inside the park, there are various rivers and streams, waterfalls, diverse rainforest, majestic pine, sub-montane forest and Tangkak Dam also can be seen from the park area. Several trails for hiking also available such as the Asahan Trail, Ayer Panas Trail, Jementah Trail and Lagenda Trail.[148] The state only marine park, the Sultan Iskandar Park is located in the eastern coast and is made up of 13 islands in six island clusters namely Aur, Besar, Pemanggil, Rawa, Sibu and Tinggi with an area of more than 8,000 hectares (19,768 acres).[149][150] In 2003, three wetlands in southern Johor comprising Kukup Island, Pulai River and Tanjung Piai was designated as a Ramsar site.[151] Tanjung Piai covers an area of 526 hectares (1,300 acres) of mangroves and another 400 hectares (988 acres) hectares of inter-tidal mudflats,[152] Pulai River with 9,126.0 hectares (22,551 acres)[153] and Kukup Island with 647 hectares (1,599 acres) surrounded by some 800 hectares (1,977 acres) of mudflats.[154] The Pulai River also become a site for seahorse sanctuary and hatchery as part of the state biodiversity masterplan, with Johor waters are home to three out of the eight seahorse species found in Malaysia.[155]

Conservation issues

Poaching have become a concern with the number of wild animals in state parks have been decreasing following the rise of the activities by hunters and anglers since the 2000s.[156] Despite the indigenous community are also involved in hunting, they hunt based on their spiritual believes and only on a small scale. In 2004, local authorities uncovered a massive large-scale sandalwood (gaharu) poaching by foreigners in the Endau-Rompin National Park with a large confiscation of protected plant species from the suspects.[157] Environmental issues such as the conversion of mangrove areas in the southern and eastern coasts into aquaculture projects, activities of sand mining as well the rapid urbanisation in addition to the abnormal weather patterns caused by climate change and rising sea level have contributing to the coastal erosion of the state coastline.[158] It is also discovered that some 68,468 hectares (169,188 acres) of peatland soils in western Johor have been planted with palm oil.[133] In 2017, around 28 rivers in the state have been categorised as polluted,[159] which leading the authorities and government to push for legislation change and taking stern action to river polluters especially when severe pollution have disrupted the water supply to an estimated 1.8 million people in the state.[160][161] Forest fire also have become the latest concern with more than 20 hectares (49 acres) light forests in Kampung Lepau 2 of Johor are burned in 2010 along with another 380 forest fires cases recorded throughout the state in 2016.[162][163]


Johor GDP Share by Sector (2016)[164]

  Services (47.1%)
  Manufacturing (30.6%)
  Agriculture (13.5%)
  Construction (6.8%)
  Import Duties (1.9%)

Johor's economy is mainly based on tertiary sector.[165] Due to its close proximity to Singapore which is internationally known as a country of financial hubs and housing various international trade centres, the state enjoyed benefits mainly from their investor and tourists.[99][166][167] For a period of 1990 to 1992, approved Singapore investments in Johor amounted to about US$500 million in 272 projects.[168] In 1994, the investment from Singapore was nearly 40% of the state total foreign investment. The state also had policy of "twinning with Singapore" to promote their industrial development which resulted in the increased of people movement and goods between Malaysia and Singapore.[169][170][171] The close economic links between the two traced its roots since the establishment of Indonesia–Malaysia–Singapore Growth Triangle (SIJORI Growth Triangle) in 1989.[172] In 2014, major foreign countries investing in Johor were Singapore (RM6.7 billion), United States (RM5.4 billion), Japan (RM4.6 billion), the Netherlands (RM3.1 billion), China (RM1.37 billion) and smaller amount came from countries such as Indonesia, South Korea, Germany and India with the state received RM7.9 billion worth of foreign direct investment (FDI), the second highest among all states in Malaysia after Sarawak.[173] Major foreign companies with FDI in the state come from the United Kingdom, South Korea and China.[174] The Iskandar Development Region and South Johor Economic Region (Iskandar Malaysia) encompassing the city centre of Johor Bahru, Iskandar Puteri, Kulai District, Pasir Gudang and South Pontian as a major development zone in the state with an area of 221,634 hectares (2,216.34 km2).[175][176] Johor Corporation (JC) is a state-owned conglomerate company owned by the state government that involves in various business activities in the state and also overseas.[177][178]

Legoland Malaysia Resort
Legoland Malaysia Water Park
Legoland Malaysia Resort Lego Building
Sanrio Hello Kitty Town
Theme park tourism from the Legoland Malaysia Resort and Sanrio Hello Kitty Town has been part of major income for the state economy since their opening in 2012.[179][180]

Previously the secondary sector dominating the state economic resources but following economic diversification made by the state government, the state no longer depending on a single sector.[174][181] Before the diversification, Johor together with Sarawak have flourished with the highest manufacturing investments.[182] For a period of 2013 until 2017, a total amount of RM114.9 billion worth of investment in the manufacturing sectors received in the state.[183] In 2017, RM16.8 billion investment came from domestic direct investment and RM5.1 billion came from foreign direct investment with Australia, China and the United States were the top three foreign investors in the manufacturing sectors.[184] The total industrial area in the state as of 2015 was 144 km2 (56 sq mi) or 0.75% of the total land in Johor.[103] In 2000, the largest industries in Johor were metal fabrication and machinery industries, accounting for 27.6% of all manufacturing industries in the state, followed by chemical products, petroleum and rubber industries (20.1%) as well wooden products and furniture (14.1%).[103] Recently the state medical tourism industry also sets to grow with the increasing arrival of 27,500 medical tourists in 2012 to 33,700 in 2014.[185] In 2017, the Gross domestic product (GDP) of Johor was RM104.4 billion, the third Malaysian state with the biggest economy after Selangor and Sarawak while the median income was RM5,652 and unemployment rate was 3.6%.[174] A year before, the economic growth of the state was 5.7% and accounted for 9.4% of Malaysia's GDP, with GDP per capita stood at RM31,952.[186] The state has a total workforce of 1.639 million people.[187] Among the major sectors contributing to Johor GDP in 2015 were service (41.0%), manufacturing (30.7%), agriculture (14.9%), construction (5.8%) and mining (0.4%). Based on geographic location, southern Johor focuses on trading and services, western Johor focuses on manufacturing, business and modern farming, eastern Johor focuses on ecotourism while central Johor focuses on both ecotourism and primary sector economy.[187] In 2016, palm oil plantation accounted for 7,456 km2 (2,879 sq mi) of land area in Johor, making it the third largest plantation area in Malaysia after Sabah and Sarawak with percentage of palm oil plantation land use at 38.8%.[188]

Palm oil and pineapple plantation in Rengit, Batu Pahat District.

Other agricultural sectors in the state are rubber plantation and produce.[103] Johor are the biggest producer of fruits among all states in Malaysia with the total fruit plantation area in the state was 414 km2 (160 sq mi) and total harvesting area of 305 km2 (118 sq mi). Approximately a total of 532,249 tons of fruit was produced in 2016 with Segamat District had the largest major fruit plantation and harvesting area in the state with a total area of 111 km2 (43 sq mi) and 66 km2 (25 sq mi) respectively while Kluang District had the biggest quantity of fruits production with a total amount of 163,714 tons.[189] Along the same year, Johor was also the second biggest producer of vegetables among all states in Malaysia after Pahang with total vegetable plantation area in the state was 154 km2 (59 sq mi) with total harvesting area of 143 km2 (55 sq mi). Kluang District also become the largest vegetable plantation and harvesting area with a total area of 36 km2 (14 sq mi) and the biggest quantity of vegetable production with a total amount of 60,102 tons.[189] Until 2015, land area used for agriculture in Johor was 11,555 km2 (4,461 sq mi), covering 60.15% of the state land with other plantation including herbs and spices.[103][189]


Puteri Harbour Family Park landscapes.

The Johor Department of Economy Planning is responsible for all public infrastructure planning and development in the state,[190] while the Landscape Department responsible to the state landscape development.[191] Since the Ninth Malaysia Plan (9MP), Johor Southern Corridor has been focused for development.[192] Until 2010, the total state land used for commercial buildings was 21.53 km2 (8.31 sq mi) with Johor Bahru District accounted for the largest share at 12.99 km2 (5.02 sq mi) or 63.5%.[193] Since 2012, around RM2.63 billion has been allocated by the federal and state governments for 33 infrastructure projects in Pengerang of southeastern Johor.[194] Following the tabling of state budget in 2015, the state government planning to spend more than RM500 million for state development in the following year which is the highest amount ever allocated for development purpose in the state budget history.[195] The state government has also ensure that every infrastructure and developments projects will be fairly distributed to all districts in the state,[196] with six focus areas are being outlined in the state government's strategic development plan in 2018.[197] In the same year, the federal government has allocated RM250 million for three infrastructure projects to help improve connectivity and accessibility within the state capital.[198] Following the recent change in the state government administration, the new state government also pledged to provide a better infrastructure for investors, especially in the road network, adequate water supply for factories as well as sub-stations for electricity generation while rejecting any foreign companies who masqueraded behind green technology that actually intended to make the state their solid waste disposal site.[199][200]

Energy and water resources

City lights illuminating the Johor Bahru city centre as seen at dusk.

Electricity distribution in the state are operated and managed by Tenaga Nasional Bhd. (TNB). Johor electrics are mostly generated from coal power plant and gas-fired plant. The coal power plant has a capacity from 700 MW in 2007 and increased to 3,100 MW in 2016 which originated from the Tanjung Bin Power Station in Pontian,[201][202][203] while two gas-fired plant namely Pasir Gudang Power Station with 210 MW and Sultan Iskandar Power Station with 269 MW are both located in Pasir Gudang.[204][205] The Pasir Gudang Power Station were however have been retired from the system in 2016.[204] In recent years, the state government are working to increase electricity generation by planning to construct hydropower and combined cycle power plants.[206][207] All pipes water supply in the state was managed by the Water Regulatory Bodies of Johor with a total of 11 water reservoirs comprising Congok, Gunung Ledang, Gunung Pulai 1, Gunung Pulai 2, Gunung Pulai 3, Juaseh, Layang Lower, Layang Upper, Lebam, Linggiu and Pontian Kechil.[208][209] The state also supplying raw waters to neighbouring Singapore with the government of Singapore pays the Johor state government 3 cents (RM0.03) for every 1,000 gallons drawn from Johor rivers. In return, the Johor state government pays Singaporean government 50 cents (RM0.50) for every 1,000 gallons of treated waters from Singapore.[210]

Telecommunication and broadcasting

A village in Johor with telephone line.

Telecommunication in Johor were originally administered by Posts and Telecommunication Department and maintained by the British Cable & Wireless Communications which is responsible to providing all telecommunication services in Malaya.[211][212] During the time, troposcatter are also been installed in Mount Pulai of Johor and Mount Serapi in Sarawak to connect radio signals between British Malaya and British Borneo which is also the only such system for both side territories to allowing simultaneous transmission of radio programs to North Borneo and Sarawak.[213] Following the foundation of the federation of Malaysia in 1963, both the telecommunication department in Malaya and Borneo was merged to form the Telecommunications Department Malaysia in 1968 which later become Telekom Malaysia (TM).[212] Early in 1964, a Nordic-telecommunication company Ericsson has been established in the country. Following the first AXE telephone exchange in Southeast Asia that went on line in Pelangi of Johor in 1980, TM was provided with the first mobile telephone network named ATUR in 1984.[214] Since then, Malaysian cellular network began to expand rapidly.[215] From 2013 until 2017, the state mobile-cellular penetration rate have reached more than 100% with internet users consitute around 11.3% from 11.5% of the state population estimates.[216][217]

In 2018, the state internet speed was at 10Mbps with the government urging the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) to developing high-speed Internet infrastructure to reach 100Mbps per second to be on a par with the state's current rapid development.[218] The Malaysian federal government previously operates one state television channel named TV Johor (before being suddenly closed down) and one radio channel for the state, known as Johor FM.[219] There is also one independent radio station, namely Best FM which launched in 1988.[220] Television broadcasting in the state are divided into terrestrial and satellite television. As Malaysia aims for digital television transition, all analogue signal will be shutdown soon.[221] There is two types of free-to-air television provider such as MYTV Broadcasting (digital terrestrial) and Astro NJOI (satellite), while an IPTV via the Unifi TV through UniFi fibre optic internet subscription.[222]


Tebrau Highway leading to the city centre, part of the Federal Route 3.

The state is linked to the other Malaysian states and federal territories in the western coast through the North–South Expressway while in eastern coast through the Malaysia Federal Route 3. Since the British colonial times, there has been a road system linking Johor capital in the southern Malay Peninsula to Kangar in the north and Kota Bharu in the east coast.[223] The roads in Johor are now classified into two categories; of which based on 2016 statistics, 2,369 kilometres (1,472 mi) are federal roads while 19,329 kilometres (12,010 mi) belong to state roads.[223][224] Johor uses a dual carriageway with the left-hand traffic rule and each towns in the state providing public transportation services such as buses and taxis along with Grab services. In 2018, the Iskandar Malaysia Bus Rapid Transit (IMBRT) have been announced to be constructed before 2021.[225] Under the previous government, the federal government has allocated RM29.43 billion as part of the Eleventh Malaysia Plan (11MP) for infrastructure projects including projects for roads and bridge upgrade.[226] The state government also spends more than RM600 million for road maintenance in the state annually.[227]

A rail transport exists from the Johor Bahru Sentral railway station operated by Keretapi Tanah Melayu, replacing the old station that has been used since the British colonial era. Other main stations including in Batu Anam, Bekok, Chamek, Genuang, Kempas Baru, Kluang, Kulai, Labis, Layang-Layang, Mengkibol, Paloh, Rengam, Senai and Tenang. There is also a plan to connect Johor's capital city with Woodlands in Singapore under the proposed rapid transit system (RTS) of Malaysia–Singapore despite there is still no further definite decision reached between the two following the recent government change in Malaysia.[228] Senai International Airport is the main gateway to Johor. In 2016, the Malaysian federal government approved a total of RM7 million upgrading works for the airport to boost its rapid growth.[229][230] Four airlines serving flight routes in Johor: AirAsia, Malaysia Airlines, Firefly and Malindo Air.[231] Other minor airports including Kluang Airport, Mersing Airport and Segamat Airstrip in Kluang District, Mersing District and Segamat District respectively.

Johor has a total of four ports operating in Iskandar Puteri and Pasir Gudang which operate under three different companies. The Tanjung Pelepas Port are part of the Malaysian federal container port,[232] while another two container port namely Integrated Container Terminal (also in Tanjung Pelepas) and Johor Port located near the capital city.[233][234] The Tanjung Langsat Terminal serves as the state regional oil and gas hub and providing offshore petroleum's exploration and production activities.[235][236] Through the sea, there is boat services to ports in Batam and Tanjung Pinang of Bintan Islands in Indonesia.[237] A ferry service between Malaysia and Singapore also being expanded as another mode of transportation to reduce the traffic congestion between the two countries.[238]


Johor has two major government hospitals: Sultanah Aminah Hospital and Sultan Ismail Hospital followed by nine other government districts hospitals such as Permai Hospital, Sultanah Fatimah Hospital, Sultanah Nora Ismail Hospital, Enche' Besar Hajjah Khalsom Hospital, Segamat Hospital, Pontian Hospital, Kota Tinggi Hospital, Mersing Hospital, Tangkak Hospital, Temenggung Seri Maharaja Tun Ibrahim Hospital which constituting women and children hospital as well mental hospital.[note 2] Other public health clinics, 1Malaysia clinics and rural clinics also scattered throughout the state with a number of private hospitals such as: Penawar Hospital, Johor Specialist Hospital, Regency Specialist Hospital, Pantai Hospital Batu Pahat, Putra Specialist Hospital Batu Pahat, Puteri Specialist Hospital, KPJ Specialist Hospital Muar, Abdul Samad Specialist Hospital, Columbia Asia, Gleneagles Medini Hospital and KPJ Specialist Hospital Pasir Gudang.[239] In 2009, the state's doctor-patient ratio was 3:3 per 1,000 population.[240]


University of Technology Malaysia (UTM) chancellory building.

All primary and secondary schools are under the jurisdiction and observation of the Johor State Education Department, under the guidance of the national Ministry of Education.[241] The oldest schools in Johor are the English College Johore Bahru (1914).[242] Based on 2013 statistics, Johor has a total of 240 government secondary schools,[243] fifteen international schools (comprising Austin Heights Private and International Schools,[244] Crescendo-HELP International School,[245] Crescendo International College,[246] Excelsior International School,[247] Paragon Private and International School,[248] Seri Omega Private and International School,[249] Sri Ara International Schools,[250] StarClub Education,[251] Sunway International School,[252] Tenby Schools Setia Eco Gardens,[253] UniWorld International School,[254] as well the American School of Iskandar Puteri[255] and three international campuses of British Marlborough College,[256] R.E.A.L Schools[257] and Utama Schools),[258] and nine Chinese independent schools. Johor has a considerable number of Malay and indigenous students enrolled in Chinese schools.[259]

Southern University College main gate in Skudai.

Johor state government also emphasises pre-school education in the state with the establishment of several kindergartens such as Nuri Kindergarten and Childcare,[260] Stellar Preschool[261] and Tadika Kastil.[262] Apart from that, Johor has three public universities, namely University of Technology Malaysia (UTM) situated in Skudai, Tun Hussein Onn University of Malaysia (UTHM) in Parit Raja, Universiti Teknologi MARA Johor (UiTM) in Jementah and UiTM City Campus in the state capital and several polytechnics such as Ibrahim Sultan Polytechnic and Mersing Polytechnic along with two teaching colleges called IPG Kampus Temenggong Ibrahim in Johor Bahru and IPG Kampus Tun Hussien Onn in Batu Pahat.[263][264] It has one non-profit community college called Southern University College situated in Skudai.[265] There is also a proposal to establish the state first name carrier public university called University of Johor with the plan have been welcomed positively by the state Sultan with the federal education ministry also willing to extend their co-operation to realising the proposal. The plan to establish the university is also to meet the quadruple helix model with co-operation with university, industry, government and community to produce graduates that will meet industry, government and community needs.[266][267]

To ensure the quality of education in the state, the state government introduces six long-term measures to upgrade the capability of local teachers.[268] In 2018, it is reported the state and Selangor are among several Malaysian states that currently facing teacher shortage with the federal education ministry has set up a special committee to study ways to tackle the problem.[269] Johor State Library are the main public library in the state.[270] There is also an Indonesian school located in the state capital mainly for Indonesian migrants children residing in the state.[271]


Ethnicity and immigration

Johor residents enjoying with families near the end of the year.
Ethnic groups in Johor (2010)[272]
Ethnic Percent
Other Bumiputera
Non-Malaysian citizen

The 2015 Malaysian Census reported the population of Johor at 3,553,600, being the second most populous state in Malaysia with non-citizens population at 276,900.[10] Of the total Malaysian residents, 1,893,100 (53.3%) are Malay, 1,075,100 (30.3%) are Chinese, 230,700 (6.5%) are Indian and another 16,900 (1.7%) identified as other Bumiputera.[10] In 2010, the population is estimated to be around 3,230,440 with 1,698,472 (52.0%) are Malay, 997,590 (30.0%) are Chinese, 209,260 (6.0%) are Indian and another 49,773 (1.0%) belong to other bumiputera.[272] Despite the population consist from a different racial categories, most of the people in Johor identify themselves as "Bangsa Johor" (English: Johor race) which is also highly echoed by the state royal family to unite the state residents regardless of their different racial roots.[273]

Girls from the aboriginal people of Johor.

As Malaysia is one of the least densely populated countries in Asia, the state is particularly sparsely populated with most of the population concentrated in the coastal areas since towns and urban centres have massively expanded through recent developments. From 1991 to 2000, the state experienced 2.39% average annual population growth, with Johor Bahru District being the highest at 4.59% growth and Segamat District being the lowest at 0.07%.[193] The state total population increased by about 600,000 every decade following the increase of residential developments in the southern developmental region with a prediction that if the pattern continues, Johor will get an estimate 5.6 million people in 2030 which larger from the government projection of 4 million population and could surpass the population in neighbouring Singapore.[274] Johor's geographical position in the southern of Malay Peninsula contributed to the state's rapid development as Malaysia's transportation and industrial hub and subsequently creates jobs and attracted migrants from other states as well as overseas, especially from Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam, Myanmar, Bangladesh, India, Pakistan and China. Based on a statistics in 2010, nearly two thirds of foreign workers in Malaysia are located in Johor, Sabah and Selangor.[275]


Religion in Johor (2010)[276]
Religion Percent
Chinese folk religion
No religion

The population of Johor by religious affiliation in 2010 Malaysian Census is identified as 58.2% Muslim, 29.6% Buddhist, 6.6% Hindu, 3.3% Christian, 1.2% follower of other religions or unknown affiliations, 0.8% Taoist or Chinese religion adherent, and 0.3% non-religious.[276] Through the census, it is indicated that 89.8% of the Chinese population in Johor identify as Buddhists, with significant minorities of adherents identifying as Christians (6.8%), Chinese folk religion (2.1%) and Muslims (0.4%). The majority of the Indian population identify as Hindus (87.9%), with a significant minorities of numbers identifying as Christians (4.05%), Muslims (3.83%), and Buddhists (3.05%). The non-Malay bumiputera community are predominantly Christians (42.3%), with significant minorities identifying as Muslims (25.3%) and Buddhists (13.7%). While on the majority population, all Malay bumiputera are identified as Muslims.[276]


The Johorean Malay, also known as Johor-Riau Malay and originally spoken in Johor, Riau, Malacca, Selangor and Singapore, has been adopted as the basis for both the Malaysian and Indonesian national languages.[277] Due to Johor's location at the confluence of trade routes within Maritime Southeast Asia as well as a former empire with influence, the dialect spread as the region's lingua franca since the 15th century; hence the adoption of the dialect as the basis for the national languages of Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore.[278] Several related languages are also spoken in the state such as Orang Seletar (spoken along the Straits of Johor as well as in northern Singapore), Orang Kanaq (spoken in small parts of southeastern Johor), Jakun (mostly inland parts of Johor), Temuan (near the border with Pahang and Negeri Sembilan) and Orang Kuala (at the northwest coast of Johor). Terengganu Malay, a distinct variant of Malay are spoken in the district of Mersing near the border with Rompin, Pahang.[279]

Different dialect groups of the Chinese language are spoken among the Chinese community in the state which includes Cantonese, Hainanese, Hakka, Hokkien, Teochew and several other dialects. The Indian community language primarily consists of Malayalee, Punjabi, Tamil and Telegu. In 2017, the Johor monarch queen as the royal patron of the Malaysian English Language Teaching Association (MELTA) have called on more conducive environment for young Malaysian to better master English language since there has been drastic decline of the language proficiency among younger Malaysian generation.[280][281]


The Johor Heritage Foundation building in the state capital.

The culture of Johor is influenced by different ethnicities throughout history especially by the Arabs, Bugis and Javanese people with the state also become a melting point of different cultures between the Chinese, Indian, Malay and the aboriginal people. A strong Arab culture influence is apparent in the state art performances like zapin, masri and hamdolok as well to musical instruments like gambus.[282][283] The zapin dance has been introduced since the 14th century by Arab Muslim missionaries from Hadhramaut of Yemen which are originally performed by only male dancer.[284] But following change through generation, women dancers also become a common sight with the dance itself are being divided in five Johor regions, namely zapin tenglu and zapin pulau (Mersing), zapin lenga (Muar), zapin pekajang (Johor Bahru), zapin koris (Batu Pahat) and zapin parit mustar with zapin seri bunian (Pontian).[284]

Zapin performance in a school in Batu Pahat.

Other visible legacies from Arabs are the usage of Arabic names of wadi (valley) to areas populated by the Arab community in the state capital such as "wadi hana" and "wadi hassan".[285] From the Buginese and Javanese cultural influence side, both the bosara and kuda kepang dance was introduce to Johor before the early 20th century by Buginese and Javanese immigrants.[286][287] The Indian meanwhile inspired the ghazal, with most of these cultures are normally performed at Malay weddings and religious festivals.[283] The aboriginal people culture also unique with a diversity of traditions are being practiced until present, such as the making of traditional weapons, medicine and even handicraft and souvenir products.[288]

Chingay parade celebration in the capital city as part of the Chinese New Year festivities in 2018.

Among the state Chinese community, the Chingay parade are held annually by the Johor Bahru Old Chinese Temple which joined by the five Chinese ethnic groups in Johor, namely Cantonese, Hainanese, Hakka, Hoklo and Teochew.[289] Through a co-operation between different Chinese society under a voluntary organisation, this subsequently become a symbol of spirit of harmony among the different Chinese ethnics that deepen their sense of heritage to preserving their culture tradition.[290] At the Johor Bahru Chinese Heritage Museum, the building describing the history of Chinese migration into Johor since the 14th century during the Ming and Qing dynasties until the 19th century with the ruler of Johor also encouraging the Chinese community to help the state economy by planting gambier and pepper in the interior parts of the state before they venturing into pineapple cultivation in the 20th century with Johor subsequently became one of Malaysia's top fruit producer.[291]


Mee bandung of Johor.

With the huge influence of Arab, Buginese, Javanese, Malay as well Chinese and Indian culture, notable dishes in Johor include the asam pedas, cathay laksa, cheese murtabak, Johor laksa, kway teow kia, mee bandung, mee rebus, Muar satay, pineapple pajeri, Pontian wonton noodle, san lou fried bee hoon, otak-otak, telur pindang,[292][293] along with several other mix Malay dishes.[294] Apart from these, Johor also features a number of dessert such as burasak,[294] kacang pool, lontong and snacks like banana cake, Kluang toasted buns and pisang goreng.[293][295] Other international restaurants such as for Western food, Filipino food, Indonesian food, Japanese food, Korean food, Taiwanese food, Thai food and Vietnamese food are scattered throughout the state with most of them are located in the state capital. Example of Johor-based companies promoting state drinks are like the Deluxe Rich, Fun Hut and NJ Nature Juice.[296]

Holidays and festivals

Johoreans observe a number of holidays and festivals throughout the year including the Independence Day, Malaysia Day celebrations and the Sultan of Johor's Birthday.[297] Apart from that, several local and international festivals also being held annually in the state capital such as the Japanese bon odori, kuda kepang and kite as well art festivals.[298]


As Johor has been part of Malaya since 1957, their athletes representing Malaya and later Malaysia at the Summer Olympic Games, Commonwealth Games, Asian Games and Southeast Asian Games. The Johor State Youth and Sports Department has been established since that year to produce more talents as well improving and raising the standard of sports in the state.[299] Johor became the host of SUKMA Games in 1992. There are around four sports complex in the state,[300] with the federal government also providing aid to improve Johor sports facilities.[301] In 2018, as part of the federal government plan to turn Muar into Johor's sports hub, around RM15 million have been allocated to construct a new as well upgrading available sports facilities in the town.[302] Tan Sri Dato' Haji Hassan Yunos Stadium (also known as Larkin Stadium) is the main stadium for Johor Darul Ta'zim F.C. The team was originally founded in 1972 as PKENJ FC and later as Johor FC in 1996 with the association have won two titles on Malaysia FA Cup in 1998 and 2016, three titles on Malaysia Cup in 1985, 1991 and 2017, five titles in Malaysia Super League in 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018 along with another two titles in President Cup Malaysia in 1987 and 2009 as well one title in the AFC Cup in 2015.[303][304][305] The state women's football team also won four titles in the Tun Sharifah Rodziah Cup in 1984, 1986, 1987 and 1989.


  1. ^ Johor has a beach that stretches 400 kilometres on both the East and West Coast. The west coast of Johor fronts the Straits of Malacca while the east coast of the state provides access to its beautiful beaches and islands.[17]
  2. ^ See List of hospitals in Malaysia.


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Further reading

  • Richard Olof Winstedt; Kay Kim Khoo; Ismail Hussein (1932). A history of Johore, 1365-1941. Printed for the Malaysian Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society by Academe Art & Printing Services Sdn. Bhd. ISBN 978-983-99614-6-1. 
  • Leonard Y. Andaya (1975). The Kingdom of Johor 1641–1728. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-580322-8. 
  • Peter Borschberg (2002). "The Seizure of the Sta. Catarina Revisited: The Portuguese Empire in Asia, VOC Politics and the Origins of the Dutch-Johor Alliance (1602 – c. 1616)". Journal of Southeast Asian Studies, Cambridge University Press. pp. 31–62. doi:10.1017/S0022463402000024. 
  • Carl A. Trocki (2007). Prince of Pirates: The Temenggongs and the Development of Johor and Singapore, 1784–1885. NUS Press. ISBN 978-9971-69-376-3. 
  • Peter Borschberg (2010). The Singapore and Melaka Straits: Violence, Security and Diplomacy in the 17th Century. National University of Singapore, Royal Netherlands Institute of Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies. ISBN 978-9-06-718364-2. 
  • Peter Borschberg (2011). Hugo Grotius, the Portuguese and Free Trade in the East Indies. National University of Singapore. ISBN 978-9-97-169467-8. 
  • Peter Borschberg (2015). Journal, Memorial and Letters of Cornelis Matelieff de Jonge. Security, Diplomacy and Commerce in 17th-Century Southeast Asia. National University of Singapore. ISBN 978-9-97-169798-3. 
  • Peter Borschberg (2015). Jacques de Coutre's Singapore and Johor, 1594-c. 1625. National University of Singapore. ISBN 978-9-97-169852-2. 
  • Peter Borschberg (2017). "The value of Admiral Matelieff's writings for studying the history of Southeast Asia, c. 1600–1620". National University of Singapore, Cambridge University Press. pp. 414–435. doi:10.1017/S002246341700056X. 

External links

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