A rich legacy
JOHOR Darul Takzim’s rich history means a lot to its people and has become a beacon of future achievement, growing from strength to strength in the last century.
It comes as no surprise as the name Johor originated from the Arabic word “Jauhar”, meaning gem or jewel, while Darul Takzim means abode of dignity in Arabic.
Yayasan Warisan Johor’s historical research officer Kamdi Kamil said what the state has achieved could be traced back to Temenggong Tun Daeng Ibrahim Temenggong Daeng Abdul Rahman, the founder of modern Johor.
He pointed out that Temenggong Tun Daeng Ibrahim made the most important move in the state’s history by founding and opening up Iskandar Puteri in 1855 or now known as Tanjung Puteri.
“Temenggong Tun Daeng Ibrahim choose the name Iskandar Puteri as there was a beautiful princess named Puteri Mayang Selida who lived in a hillside area known as Bukit Tanjung Puteri, while Iskandar is the given name of Alexander the Great in Middle Eastern countries.
“He ( Temenggong Tun Daeng Ibrahim) wanted a strong name that fitted with his ambition to make Johor great as this was the first time that the state administrative centre had returned to the mainland as previously it was located at Teluk Belanga in Singapore,” he said.
Kamdi pointed out that the first administrative centre was Kota Kara in Kota Tinggi ( 1528), followed by Kota Sayong Kota Tinggi, Kota Batu Johor Lama, Kota Seluyut then back to Kota Batu Johor Lama.
He added that it was then shifted to Kota Batu Sawar, Kota Tauhid, Kota Panchor, Bentan, Daik Lingga, Teluk Belanga in Singapore, Iskandar Puteri and Johor Baru.
“In total, the Johor administrative centre has changed location for more than 13 times, where it was finally moved to its current spot at Nusajaya.
“Present ruler Sultan Ibrahim had decreed to change the name of Nusajaya, which through research, the state government decided to pick Iskandar Puteri to pay homage to the place where it all began hundreds of years ago,” he said.
Kamdi added that Temenggong Tun Daeng Ibrahim’s vision was carried on by his son Almarhum Sultan Abu Bakar, known as the father of modern Johor. Under his rule, the state prospered economically.
He pointed out that when Sultan Abu Bakar ascended to the Johor throne, he had decreed to build a palace in front of Pantai Lido in Johor Baru.
Kamdi also said that Istana Besar was built in 1886 and it took about two years for the completion where the design was heavily influenced by Anglo- Malay architecture as Sultan Abu Bakar frequently visited European countries, including Turkey.
“Not many people knew that next to the Istana Besar was the official resident for the Sultan at that time, where investitures, royal functions or even state banquets were held. There were also several state government department offices within the compound.
“During his 32- year reign, Sultan Abu Bakar placed importance on the construction of many buildings and he was often accorded the honour to lay the foundation stones of these buildings,” he said.
However, Kamdi added that Sultan Abu Bakar could not see the completion of Masjid Sultan Abu Bakar as it took about nine years to complete.
He pointed out that Masjid Sultan Abu Bakar first started construction in 1892 and was completed on Jan 2, 1900, where the mosque could house about 3,000 worshippers at one time. The architect for the mosque was Mohamed Arif Punak and the engineer was Datuk Yahya Awalluddin.
“Datuk Yahya did a good job serving the Johor government and a street was named after him – Jalan Yahya Awal,” he said.
He added that under the reign of Almarhum Sultan Ibrahim Ibni Almarhum Sultan Abu Bakar, who was the second ruler of Johor, he had instructed that all state government departments and agencies be placed in one building.
Kamdi added that this was because most departments were either located within Istana Besar while some scattered within Jalan Pahang, which is the city centre area.
He said that Sultan Ibrahim ordered the construction of a building that was able to accommodate various departments and as an administrative centre for the government.
“This is an important milestone in Johor’s history as the plans for the Bangunan Sultan Ibrahim was mooted and the design was done by renowned British architecture firm Palmer and Turner who was also responsible for Sultanah Aminah Hospital.
“The location itself, Bukit Timbalan, was known as ‘ The Fort’ as the area is the Johor Military Force or Askar Timbalan Setia Negeri headquarters and training centre,” he said, adding that the building was completed in 1940.
He also said that that upon completion, the building was named Bangunan Kerajaan Johor Bukit Timbalan, but was changed to Bangunan Sultan Ibrahim by Almarhum Sultan Iskandar Ibni Almarhum Sultan Ismail on Aug 8, 1982.
Kamdi added that the cost to build the seven- storey building was about RM2mil at the time of completion, when it was the tallest building in the country during the pre- Merdeka period.
“However, the state government could not move into the building as Japanese Army had invaded Johor during World War II and used Bangunan Sultan Ibrahim as their headquarters to plan their attacks on Singapore.
“The building itself sustained some damages as it was attacked by the British Army during their fight with the Japanese soldiers,” he said, adding that the building is the administrative centre for the state government until it moved to the current location on April 16, 2009.
Kamdi added that the contributions by all the rulers to have such buildings in the state showed their vision to make Johor stand out from other states in the country.
Masjid sultan Abu Bakar, Johor Baru stands proud. — Abdul rahman Embong/ The star