Muar municipal council proposes to turn 1 hectare swimming pool compound into a bird park. That is an insensible proposal.
Turn the swimming pool into a Japanese koi or arowana fish pond is making more sense.
The old buildings in Muar are losing originality and charm with irresponsible development under BN government.
Royal Town title means nothing if all old buildings are rebuilt like this Paris Hotel.
I hope Johor Sultan will intervene and also urge Muarians to form a Heritage Preservation Society to work with the owners and Muar Municipal Council before it’s too late.
This is Paris Hotel in Jalan Abdullah before and after renovation. Instead of restoring to 1926′s art deco design, the building is rebuilt with 2012′s modern design. I remembered it fitted with the wooden windows in 70s.
Before with a veranda photographed in 2006
Under renovation with 2012 modern design
Any difference with the new buildings in Melaka Raya? 1926 should be changed to 2012 with the new design!
AS a Muarian, I felt very proud when HRH Sultan Ibrahim of Johor on Feb 6, 2012 proclaimed Bandar Maharani a royal town.
The 128-year-old town looks rather tired, is too laid-back, and in dire need of a facelift.
Sultan Ibrahim is passionate in preserving history and maintaining a clean and healthy environment in Johor.
Prior to 1877, the territory of Muar north of the river was known as Muar Kesang, and its south as Muar Padang.
Sultan Ali ceded the government and territory of Johor except Kesang to Temenggong Ibrahim on March 10, 1855.
After Sultan Ali’s demise in 1872 and following internal conflicts and for political expediency the British chose Maharaja Abu Bakar to take guardianship of the territory.
In 1877, the chieftains of Muar unanimously agreed to the appointment. Abu Bakar was proclaimed Ruler of Kesang in 1879. This was met with fierce resistance from Tengku Alam the heir.
A 30-day civil war known as “The Jementah War” ensued but was quelled by Abu Bakar’s forces led by Mohammad Salleh bin Perang, more famously known as Dato’ Bentara Luar.
In 1884, Abu Bakar declared Muar the capital of the expanded district.
Salleh, a qualified surveyor, was asked by Abu Bakar to plan for the development of Muar. Abu Bakar was wary of British forward movement. He was desirous of making Muar a showpiece to the British of his effective governance and management of his State.
He was so proud of Muar he named it Bandar Maharani (literally, a queen’s town) in honour of his Consort Maharani Fatimah at a simple ceremony on Aug 5, 1887 at Tangga Batu, where he buried an amulet.
Maharaja Abu Bakar encouraged migration to increase the population of Muar.
In 1880, the Javanese settled in Padang (now known as Mukim Parit Bakar) where they were engaged in agricultural activities. Evidence show the Chinese had settled in Muar in 1870. They were engaged in commercial fishing and cultivation of pepper and gambier.
In 1886, Indian immigrants settled in Muar to work in the public works department as well as in small trades. The close relationship and harmony of the town dwellers is evident to this day.
Development began as early as 1884, when additional police stations known as rumah pasong were built to upkeep law and order.
In 1890, a detachment of the JMF was stationed at Fort Tanjong to assist the police. In 1886, a courthouse was built.
Salleh constructed a wooden building to house the government’s administrative offices including the office of the State Commissioner, the treasury, the education and religious departments, agriculture, land survey, and public works.
In 1915, a concrete building based on the then-popular neo-classical design was constructed on its site and is now known as Bangunan Sultan Abu Bakar. Another building based on similar design is the courthouse.
Abu Bakar commissioned a light railway connecting Padang to the port of Muar to facilitate trade. A customs department and a harbourmaster’s office were set up. The transformation of economic and socio-political development saw other departments being established by 1901 including a hospital, a post office, a railway department, and water works. A galvanised iron market with a circular roof designed by R. Bidewell was constructed.
In 1911, a Town Board was established for urban planning, infrastructure and welfare.
Education played an important part in the development of Muar. Abu Bakar was regarded as the promoter and encourager of education.
In 1890, Muar had three Malay schools. In 1897, a government English school with 40 pupils was set up at Fort Tanjong. The school moved to various temporary sites including in 1899 to “Balai Kuning”, a tented building used during Abu Bakar’s visit and now the site of the court house.
In 1903, the school was housed in the residence of J.C. Campbell the superintendent of the Muar State Railway. It finally moved to its present site in 1915. It is now known as Muar High School, an alma mater for many leading lights of the nation.
Maharaja Abu Bakar was proud to show the town to his guests including the Duke of Sutherland in 1889. His love for the town which he described as more of an English village than an Oriental town is evident in his five visits between 1887 and 1895 and stayed a total of 65 days there. He held his last Ascension Day (Hari Kerajaan) in Muar on Jan 31, 1895, the first time such an auspicious ceremony was held outside Istana Besar in Johor Baru.
HRH Sultan Ibrahim’s love for Muar is seen as an extension of Abu Bakar’s pride. It is now up to the town fathers and its dwellers to be committed and realise the Sultan’s expectations. Quality of life of its citizens must be improved. Cleanliness is a priority, followed by a more efficient traffic dispersal system, providing more recreational facilities, establishing a museum to house its history, and exploiting the culinary food items Muar is famous for.
A monument should be erected at Tangga Batu the original nucleus used by Salleh to plan the town.
And keep the flag of the State Commissioner of Muar designed by Abu Bakar flying proudly over the royal town.
Datuk Abdul Rahim Ramli
Secretary, Council of the Royal Court
Muar people were surprise when Johor Sultan conferred the royal town title to Muar city recently. The new royal honorary status is augur well with the efforts from Muar local authorities in promoting Muar as a cultural heritage and food haven.
Muar own history and cultural events are not properly researched and documented for new generations to know and appreciate them.
As a Muar-born person, I was not knowing there was a railway from Muar city center to Parit Jawa even after I joined working life.
The gen X and Y from Muar are most likely never heard of there was a ferry service linking Tanjung Agas and Muar city in 60s. I only had a glimpse by chance on the Muar ferry service visual image in a 60s film telecasted in a Singapore TV station.
Muar lion dance troupe had won the world championships for umpteen times, but how many Muarians know the troupe humble past. Also otak-otak is synonymous with Muar food, its origin and history is still subject to debate.
Therefore, Muar is truly need a history and culture museum to fill up the gray space in the memory of Muarians. A good museum is a time capsule of the past for new generations to understand and appreciate our cultural root and all selfless sacrifices of our forefathers to build what we call home now.
Muar old court building located at the strategic location should be converted to a museum, but not a boring and monotonous one like we see in our country. The new museum has to be equipped with creative and advanced IT facilities to provide a better and interactive experience with visitors.
A well-designed and attractive Muar museum will complement the cultural heritage and food trail tours and the declaration of Muar city as the royal city in Johor.
Note: I will email this short article to The Star as my monthly public policy opinion deposit.
MCA Chris Lee is not holding any position in Johor government, thus Johor government channeled public fund to him for a public project is a type of corruption.
I have looked into 2012 Muar city map beta 1, it’s still not perfect but is much better than Melaka tourist map.
Kudos to MCA Chris Lee Ching Yong, who is a serious contender for Bakri parliamentary seat. MCA top leaders are suck in the national policies, but its grassroots leaders are easily outdone DAP.
DAP may be wanted to bombard MCA for the “poke-eye” English and English version is limited to introduction and map markings.
What PR Selangor government has done to promote tourist attractions like Sekinchan? Sekinchan DAP MP has to look for funds from the private donors for tourist map unlike Johor BN government paid for Muar tourist maps.
What Elizabeth Wong is doing in her Selangor shining campaign? Selangor is definitely richer than Johor to fund tourism promotions like printing local tourist map.
Don’t blame me to bombard PR Selangor again, this is another factual example on how suck is suck PR Selangor.
What other tourist product should be installed in Muar?
I think with a floating music fountain in Muar river, tourists and city dwellers can enjoy the spectacular and romantic sunset view and music fountain display from Tanjung Mas and Muar riverbank.
Download Muar city map (1.08 MB) here >>>
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