A rich legacy

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - DAULAT TUANKU SULTAN JOHOR - By MOhD FArhAAN ShAh farhaan@ thes­tar. com. my

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

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