Muar town

Muar town
—  City  —


Motto: "Cekap Amanah Dinamik Makmur"  (Malay)
"Efficient Trustworthy Dynamic Prosperous"
 Muar City  Bandar Muar (Malay)麻坡市 (Chinese)முஅர் (Tamil)   is located in Malaysia
Coordinates: 2°3′00″N 102°34′00″E / 2.05°N 102.5666667°E / 2.05; 102.5666667
Country Malaysia
State Johor
Township 1885
Municipality 2001
 - District Officer
.- Yang Di Pertua
Tuan Haji Mislan bin Karmani Tuan Haji Muhamad Fuad bin Haji Radzuan
 - Total 2,346.12 km2 (72.27 sq mi)
Elevation 36.88 m (121 ft)
Population (2010)
 - Total 152,255
 - Demonym Muarian
Time zone MST (UTC+8)
 - Summer (DST) Not observed (UTC)
Postal code 84000
National calling code 06-95xxxxx to 06-98xxxxx
License plate prefix Jxx

Muar, also known as Bandar Maharani is a town geopolitically situated in Muar District in the region or area of Muar in northwestern Johor, Malaysia. It is the main and biggest town of the bigger entity region or area of the same name, Muar which is sub-divided into the Muar district and the new Ledang district, which was upgraded into a full fledge district from the Tangkak sub-district earlier.[1] Muar district as the only district covering the whole area formerly borders Malacca in the northern part. Upon the upgrading of Ledang district, the Muar district now covers only the area south of Sungai Muar, whilst the northern area beyond the river is in within Ledang district. However, both divided administrative districts are still collectively and fondly called and referred to as the region or area of Muar as a whole by their residents and outsiders.



Muar also known as Bandar Maharani is said to have had other names earlier and the name itself Muar is believed to have originated and derived from its geographical location at the mouth or estuary of Muar River as the following different version of theories:

  • Teluk Dalam :Muar was formerly known as Teluk Dalam meaning "the deep bay" may be derived from its location at the estuary or the structure of the mouth of the Muar River which is wide open and deep; based on a sentence in one part of Hikayat Malim Deman; as in :-
MUAR belum bernama MUAR , MUAR bernama TELUK DALAM.
(MUAR has not been named MUAR , MUAR called TELUK DALAM.)
  • Muara :Muar name is said to be the summary for this old Malay word Muara meaning "the wide open estuary".
  • Muak :Means "bored" or "tired" in paddling the boat travelling along the river which is large and curvy by the local people in the early days. The people started calling the river and place Muar deriving from the word Muak after a long time since then.
  • Munu-AR/Muar/Munar/Mu-aru :Muar may be a combination of the Sanskrit Hindu language words Munu meaning "three" and Ar which means "river". The old Tamil word Mu-Aru also means three rivers. There was a large state in South India which three important rivers merged into a river called Muar or Munar('Three Rivers State'). When the Indians traders came to the country to trade and look for gold during ancient times, they found the three rivers; the Sungai Muar, Sungai Serting and Sungai Pahang met and merged into Sungai Muar just like in the state of Munar in India, thus the river took the name Muar as from the name of Munar in India. The Muar name is said to be derived from these words and names.[citation needed]
  • Bukit Mor :There is also a hill not far from the Muar near Parit Jawa in the south of the "Padang" area called Mor Hill or Bukit Mor which may be the origin of the name of Muar.
  • Bandar Maharani :Modern Muar Town was officially opened and conferred Bandar Maharani title by Maharaja Abu Bakar translated as the Town of Empress the namesake of Maharani Fatimah who also graced the grand inauguration ceremony of the new town on 12 August 1887, to symbolically representing and recognizing the prominence status of Muar as the 2nd important and biggest town and district of the state of Johor after Johor Bahru the capital city in those days.

There a few famous old historic legends which evolved around the area of Muar namely, Hikayat Malim Deman (Epic of Malim Deman), Legenda Lembing Awang Pulang Ke Dayang (Awang's Spear Return to Dayang Legend) and Legenda Puteri Gunung Ledang (Mount Ledang Princess' Legend).


Muar is rich in history as mentioned in many historical records and archeological works.[citation needed] It is believed that the history of Muar started much earlier than the Sultanate of Malacca. There were many accounts recorded about the early history of Muar. In 1361, it was claimed that Muar was a part of the Majapahit empire. Another account also stated that Parameswara, upon his exile from Temasik before proceeding to found Melaka, had established a settlement at Kota Buruk, Pagoh, Ulu Muar, Muar witnessing the beginning of the Malacca Sultanate empire. Historically, Muar was also where the deposed heir of the Malacca Sultanate escaped to in 1511 following the invasion of the Portuguese, launched from Goa. During the Portuguese's Afonso de Albuquerque invasion and attack in 1511, Muar played a role in resisting the Portuguese occupation of Malacca; the Kubu Bentayan fort was built by the last Sultan of Malacca, Sultan Mahmud to repel seaborne invasions, before he was defeated and retreat further to Pagoh, this time witnessing the fall of the Malacca Sultanate empire. During the Portuguese occupation era, the Portuguese built a fortress named Fortaleza de Muar to defend the colony against the attack of Dutch and Aceh instead at the same strategic site of Bentayan. The colonial British did just about the same thing at the Muar River site near Bentayan in defence against the advance of Japanese Imperial Army in the Battle of Muar in the 2nd World War. Muar is also the home for the one and only tomb of the 7th Malacca Sultanate, Sultan Alauddin Riayat Shah I (1477–1488). During the time of the beginning of Bugis immigration from Sulawesi Indonesia and their influence in Johor Sultanate, the famous five Bugis pioneer prince-brothers sea-warriors or rather pirates from Sulawesi, Indonesia; Daeng Marewah, Daeng Parani, Daeng Celak, Daeng Manambun and Daeng Kemasi said to have come to reside in Liang Batu, Lenga, Muar before they and their descendants become the influential Temenggungs and even rulers later.[2]

Muar, the Bandar Maharani, have been recorded by several historians, scholars and authors and in many important historical materials like old maps, poems, epics, manuscripts and books :

  • Prapanca (1361) (Nagarakertagama Poem) :Nagarakertagama famous poem - written in 1361 Prapanca (a Buddhist monk and priest of Majapahit Palace) told Muar as a colony part of Majapahit empire subdued by Hayam Wuruk and prime minister, Gajah Mada(1350 to 1389).[3]
  • João de Barros ("Decades of Asia"), (1553) :João de Barros who wrote in 1553 in his 2nd Décadas da Ásia ("Decades of Asia"), a history of the Portuguese in India and Asia.stated that Parameswara (Paramicura) who were driven away from Temasik after he killed the representative of the King of Siam, Temagi; had escaped in exile and stopped in Muar and built a in rural areas of Muar called Pagoh.
  • Tomé Pires (the Suma Oriental) (1512–1515) :Tomé Pires wrote a landmark book on Asian trade, the Suma Oriental que trata do Mar Roxo até aos Chins (Summa of the East, from the Red Sea up to the Chinese) in Malacca and India between 1512–1515, completed before the death of Afonso de Albuquerque (December 1515), which highlighted the emergence of Parameswara replacing his father, Raja Sam Agi as the ruler of Palembang and later attacked by the king of Majapahit of Java, King Batara Tamavill for declaring himself as 'Mjeura'(those who dare) before fled to Temasik(Singapore)where he killed Siamese King of Ayutthaya's representative, Temagi and he secretly ruled Temasik for 5 years. But fearing the revenge attack by the King of Ayutthaya, he fled to Pagoh, Muar with his 1,000 followers and lived there for 6 years when the Seletar peoples were still occupying Malacca before he moved to Malacca and opened it later.
  • An old map of the Portuguese shows that Muar had a second Portuguese fortress in the Peninsular Malay beside Malacca. From the map, it is believed to be the Fortaleza de Muar built in 1604 by Emanuel Godinho de Erédia in triangular to defend the colony against the attacks of Dutch and Aceh at the mouth of Bentayan River near the Muar River. It had vanished but believed to be located at the present location of Bentayan Express Bus Bus Station(formerly Pagoh Bus Stand) in Jalan Maharani, Muar.[4]
  • Abraham Ortelius (1584) (Old Maps) :Old maps such as Map Ortelius A.D. 1584 shows Muar as a city located to the south of Malacca.

Sultan Ali's Rule of Muar: Muar was the royal town of northern Johor once. A civil war between the prince of Sultan Hussein Shah; Tengku Ali dan Temenggong Ibrahim|Dato' Temenggong Daing Ibrahim which was later settled by a treaty of agreement and understanding signed in Singapore between the British and Tengku Ali; that ceded the control of the rest of state of Johor (except Muar region) formally to Temenggong Ibrahim|Dato' Temenggong Daing Ibrahim in returns of the sultan title with the condition the title is not hereditary for succession, and recognization of him as Sultan Ali and his reign ruled over the Muar region(state) of the area lies between the Muar River and Kesang River with an annual pension from the British Government under the terms of the treaty. Although Sultan Ali was in fact the real heir of the Johor Sultanate but due to his weakness, the Temenggong became the de facto ruler instead and begin the rule of the Temenggung in Johor onwards. Sultan Ali delegated the administrative affairs of Muar to the Raja Temenggung of Muar[5] (also known by the title of Temenggong Paduka Tuan of Muar)[6] and rather spent most of his time in Malacca. Muar was sparsely populated in 1855 and had a population of 800 and no formal structure of government was formed. In 1860, Sultan Ali reportedly borrowed $53,600 from a Chettiar money lender, Kavana Chana Shellapah and signed an agreement with Shellapah to contribute a portion of his monthly allowance to repay his debt. However, Sultan Ali found himself unable to pay settle his debts in time, and an angry Shellapah wrote to the British government in 1866. Pressured to liquidate his debts in time, Sultan Ali granted Shellapah the right to trade off Muar to the Raja Temenggung of Muar|Temenggong of Johor as mortgage if he is unable to pay off his debts in time.[7] His relations with Temenggong Daing Ibrahim remained strained; in 1860, Sultan Ali allowed a Bugis adventurer, Suliwatang, the chiefs of Rembau and Sungei Ujong to settle in Muar and prepare themselves for an attack on Johor.[8] Such bad blood between the Sultan Ali and Temenggong Daing Ibrahim passed down to the Temenggong's son, Temenggong Abu Bakar, who succeeded his father after the former died in 1862. Shortly after Temenggong Abu Bakar became the Temenggong of Johor, he sent a letter to Sultan Ali to reassert of Johor's sovereignty over Segamat. Continued disputes over the sovereignty of Segamat led to an outbreak of a war between the Temenggong's men with the Sultan's. Eleven years later in 1873, attempts made by Suliwatang to collect custom taxes from inhabitants at the Muar estuary led to further conflict with Temenggong Abu Bakar's (who became Maharaja in 1868 and finally Sultan later in 1885, 8 years after death of Sultan Ali) men.[9]

Upon Sultan Ali's death in Umbai, Malacca in 1877, his 11-year-old youngest son, Tengku Mahmood, was named his successor, fueling anger and dissatisfaction of his oldest son, Tengku Alam Shah. The Raja Temenggung of Muar[5] (also known by the title of Temenggong Paduka Tuan of Muar)[6] and its village chieftains voted in favour of a merger of Muar with Johor following the succession dispute between the two of Sultan Ali's sons. Tengku Alam Shah, disputed the legitimacy of the chieftains' wishes and staked his hereditary claims over Muar, started to instigate and launch the 1879 Jementah Civil War in a bid to reclaim Muar, but was quickly defeated by the Maharaja Abu Bakar's forces and Muar was finally annexed and return back as part of the Johor state on 30 December 1879.

During the 1880s, the sovereign rulers of Johor, Temenggong Ibrahim and his successor, Sultan Abu Bakar introduced the Kangchu system and actively encouraged the Chinese leaders to set up new gambier and black pepper plantations and to bring in the Chinese immigrants as agricultural settlers and labourers to open and work in these plantations in Muar.[10] A Western-style contracts (termed as Surat Sungai in Malay, literally "River Documents") to the Kapitan Cina (Chinese leaders) who have established the plantations along river banks in Johor. Letters of authority (Surat Kuasa) were issued when the first Chinese leaders began settling in Johor during the 1850s. The Temenggong quickly established goodwill relations with the Kapitan Cina by appointing one Malay administrator, Muhamad Salleh bin Perang, the Dato' Bentara Luar who was able to speak the Teochew dialect, the language spoken by most Kapitan Cina and settlers and able to read Chinese for these purposes.[11] Influx of these settlers mainly of Teochew origin, and were generally first- or second-generation ethnic Chinese who became an important part and parcel of life and population of Muar until today and helped shape the population demographic and the social economy of Muar. There is even a town called Bukit Gambir meaning Hill of Gambier in Muar.

Modern Muar Town, known as Bandar Maharani, which is the main city center of Muar district, was founded by Dato' Bentara Luar, Muhamad Salleh bin Perang in 1885 and was only officially opened by His Majesty Maharaja Abu Bakar 12 August 1887 (who just became opted Maharaja title on 30 June 1868) and conferred the namesake Bandar Maharani meaning the Town of Empress, the title of Maharani Fatimah who had accompanied to graced the inauguration ceremony of the new town at Tangga Batu a place around Hentian Maharani bus station now where an auspicious "amulet" or "azimat" is said to be buried underground there then. Muar celebrated its centenary in a grand celebration attended by the Sultan of Johor in 1984.[12]

The prosperity and rapid development of Muar made it the only town in Malaysia ever to have had its own local railway network in the early days. The Muar State Railway (MSR) operated from 1889–1925, linking Jalan Sulaiman in Bandar Maharani and Sungai Pulai for a distance of 22.5 km. A 1916 plan to extend the line to Batu Pahat was aborted and the service totally stopped in 1925 due to financial and geographical constraints and its reduced importance after the construction of Jalan Abdul Rahman linking the Muar town and Parit Jawa. It remains a memory and is only a part of history of Muar now with just the MSR steam locomotive relic on display at Tanjung Emas Park.

The Muar Ferry Crossing, in the Battle of Muar, where the 45th Indian Brigade was disposed along 24 miles of river front with four companies of infantry north of the river and the remainder positioned south of the river, to cover the main coast road at Muar against the advance of the Imperial Guards Division.[13]

In the 2nd World War, the Battle of Muar, 14–22 January 1942, fought around the area from Gemencheh, Muar River and Bukit Bakri in Muar was the last major battle of the Malayan Campaign of the Battle of Malaya, fought by British Allied forces and Japanese forces from 8 December 1941 - 31 January 1942 in British Malaya. The Battle of Bakri or Siege of Bakri was a fierce battle of the fighting troops in Bukit Bakri on the 17 January 1942. The battle was a complete failure which resulted in the near-annihilation of the Allies' deployed 45th Indian Infantry Brigade, with heavy casualties for its two attached Australian's 2/19th and 2/29th Infantry Battalions[14] and the eventual easy fall of Muar to the Imperial Japanese forces. During the 1942-45 Japanese Occupation of Malaya era, Muar continued to serve as important administration town under the occupying Japanese army with many locals involved in the bulk of anti-Japanese resistance groups such as the Malayan People's Anti-Japanese Army (MPAJA) and Force 136.

During the Malayan Emergency period, in the Bukit Kepong Incident, the police station of Bukit Kepong was ambushed and brutally attacked by members of the Malayan National Liberation Army (MNLA), the military arm of the Malayan Communist Party, on 23 February 1950 killing 26 policemen and family members.

Muar also recorded the history of resistance against the communist attacks and British occupation by Panglima Kiyai Salleh, a religious and martial arts teacher of Banjarese & Javanese origin who founded the resistance guerillas troop Tentera Selempang Merah but unfortunately its many heroic stories were distorted and tainted with many factless, unbelievable and illogical myths. The Group of Seven or Orang Tujuh of Muar which consists of Tun Dr Awang Hassan(the former Governor of Penang), father of Tun Dr Ismail Dato Abdul Rahman Mohd Yasin(father of Tun Dr Ismail former Deputy Prime Minister), his brother Datuk Sulaiman Abdul Rahman, Tan Sri Datuk Hassan(former Menteri Besar) and Dato Hj Kosai Mohd Salleh was said to be active fighting the formation of Malayan Union and advocating the independence of Malaya.


NASA's Spaceborne radar image (SAR) shows the city of Muar is at the center of the left edge of the image at the mouth of the Muar River (Sungai Muar).
Muar on the northwest of Johor

Muar district formerly covers 2346.12 km2, with a population of 328,695 (2000). The town of Muar is located at 2°3′N 102°34′E / 2.05°N 102.567°E / 2.05; 102.567, at the mouth of the Muar River. The town is about 150 km (93 mi) southeast of Malaysia's capital Kuala Lumpur, and about the same distance (179 km) northwest of Singapore. It is 45 km south of Malacca Town. It is also 50 km north of Batu Pahat. The whole Muar district (North and South) is roughly the size of two and a half Singapore.

The flat terrain of Muar's geographical ground and areas has enable the extensive use of bicycle and tricycle vehicles as the main and major mode of transportion in Muar in the early days. This believe to be the main factor and reason Muar was once the town with the most bicycles and the only town that requires valid license issued by the town council to own and use a bicycle in the country.


Muar, like the rest of peninsular Malaysia, enjoys a year-round tropical rainforest climate which is warm and sunny, along with plentiful rainfall, especially during the southwest monsoon from April to September. The climate is very much dictated by the adjacent sea and the wind system. In the 2006/2007 floods, unusually heavy rainfall in the states of Johor and Melaka resulted in the worst flooding in southern Peninsular Malaysia in history. Muar was not spared from this dreadful disaster which lasted almost a month. Many areas of Muar such as Pagoh, Lenga, Kundang Ulu, Bukit Gambir and Sawah Ring were seriously flooded with some areas up to 10 feet (3.0 m). About 22,933 people were evacuated to relief centres [15]


Muar District was formerly divided administratively into Muar (Bandar Maharani) municipality and Ledang (Tangkak) township. Upon upgrade of Tangkak sub-district to full fledge Ledang district, Bandar Maharani of Muar is now administered by Muar Municipal Council (formerly South Muar Town Council, later Muar Town Council) under the Muar District Office, while Tangkak of Ledang is administered by Tangkak Town Council (formerly North Muar Town Council) under the Ledang District Office.

Formerly Flag of the State Commissioner for Muar (Malay: Bendera Orang Besar Daerah Muar);

Suburbs or Mukim in Muar Area



  • Tangkak
  • Kesang
  • Serom
  • Grisek
  • Kundang
  • Bukit Serampang

A new administration hub to be called Muar 2 is being planned to be built at the location near Muar Bypass to house all state and federal government agencies and departments.


Besides federal roads, Muar is also accessible via the North–South Expressway, Malaysia through the Tangkak and Pagoh interchanges exits which are located 20 km and 30 km from the town, respectively.

Sultan Ismail Bridge, the first bridge across the Muar River is the landmark of the town, build in 1960 and completed in 1962 to replaced old ferry services in 1960s.

The new Muar Second Bridge connecting Parit Bunga at the north and Sabak Awor at the south across the river is part of the 13 km Muar Bypass highway that was completed in 2005 is the latest landmark of the town. The highway that traverses through the outskirts of the town has ease the journey by diverting the traffic from Muar town.

Muar with status as an important trading and administrative town in the state of Johor for both the colonial British and the old Sultan's Johore State governments in the early days has contributed in shaping the landscape of the town.

Nearest airports to Muar are the Malacca's Batu Berendam Airport, Johor Bahru's Senai International Airport and the Sepang's KLIA and LCCT airports. While the nearest train railway stations are Segamat or Seremban and Kluang. Transfer by bus or taxi has to be taken from these airports and rail stations to redirect to Muar.

There are also express bus coaches to all the nearby towns and the major cities of Malaysia including Kuala Lumpur, Johor Bahru, Malacca, Kuantan, Ipoh, Penang etc. and also Singapore and Hat Yai (south Thailand). There are two bus stations in Muar; Hentian Maharani Bus Station and Bentayan Express Bus Station (formerly Pagoh Bus Station).

Ferry services to Dumai, Sumatra, Indonesia is also available on regular basis, departing from the Custom Jetty. Muar is the only district (besides the state capital Johor Bahru) in Johor that has its own Custom and Excise Duty Department office and checkpoint at its own jetty.

Traveling in town easily can be done by walking, or by taking a trishaw, public bus and taxi.

Telecommunication and Postal Service

Muar area is using the prefix +06 Area Calling Code of Malacca instead of the +07 Area Calling Code of Johor beside the +60 Country Calling Code of Malaysia.

The coverage of reception signal are extensive in all the Muar area for all the major mobile telecommunication service provider companies.

Free internet broadband wi-fi connection are widely available in many cafes and even hotels.

The postal area code for the main town of Muar is 84000 while the rest of the smaller area are using the postal code of 84+++.


Muar is internationally wellknown as the hub of the furniture industry of Malaysia. Industrial estates within Muar district are located at Tanjung Agas, Bukit Bakri, Jorak, Parit Bakar, Pagoh and Tangkak. There are notably two big factories of multinational companies, i.e. STMicroelectronics and Pioneer at Tanjung Agas. The shopping centres and supermarkets or hypermarkets in Muar are Wetex Parade, The Store, Giant Hypermarket, Econsave, Astaka Shopping Centre, Lagenda Complex, K-Mall and Hentian Maharani. The town is robust of business and trading activities, with many old traditional Chinese shops offering variety of products at reasonable and attractive price. Muar agriculture is mainly made up of the major crops of rubber and oil palm beside some coconut, cocoa, fruits (durian, rambutan, duku, mangosteen, banana, papaya, pineapple, dragon fruit etc.), vegetables and livestock, poultry and fish farming. Fishing are the major economy of some fishing villages like Parit Jawa, Parit Raja, Parit Tiram, and Kesang.


In the town centre, rows of well preserved pre-war commercial buildings still dominate the town’s architecture. There are many old shop houses and Chinese guilds and associations buildings with unique and beautiful elements in their structure and achitechture still preserved in the town.

Further up the town along the river where the main government administrative area located at the Jalan Petrie, Jalan Othman, Jalan Junid and Tanjung Emas area, many magnificent government buildings with the British colonial achitechture influence are easily visible. The Masjid Jamek Sultan Ibrahim mosque, the Sultan Abu Bakar Building, the High Court Building, the Police Traffic Department building, the Muar High School building, the old Telekom building, the Jabatan Kerja Raya(JKR) building, the 2nd Battalion Rejimen 501 AW's territorial army camp building, the Custom Department building and the official District Officer resident and others government official resident houses are the many old, heritage and historic buildings still standing in the area. The Masjid Jamek Sultan Ibrahim mosque with the English Victorian style architecture and its identical Masjid Jamek 2 Sultan Ismail mosque on the opposite side of the river provides a majestic view. Appreciating the splendour these the priceless heritage buildings accompany by the beautiful colonial influenced landscaping of rows of big shady trees by the riverside garden at Tanjung Emas park now would bring one’s memory back to the nostalgic yesteryears colonial times and also the past glory of the town.

Muar being the northern royal town of Johor have an official royal palace with a helipad situated at the Muar river bank at Jalan Petrie near Tanjung Emas.


There are many local attractions and places of interest of Muar:[19][20]

Religious Buildings and Worship Places

  • Masjid Jamek Sultan Ibrahim, Tanjung Emas -completed in 1930 and was officially opened by Johor's Menteri Besar, Dato Mustafa bin Jaafar to replace the old wooden building build in 1887. Located along Jalan Petri, close to mouth of Muar River. The building captures an unusual combination of the Anglophile's Victorian and Moorish architectural influences similar to the Sultan Abu Bakar State Mosque in Johor Bahru will be of interest to any visitor with a fine eye for aesthetics.
  • Masjid Jamek 2 Sultan Ismail, Tanjung Agas -built in 1999, on the opposite bank of Muar River in Tanjung Agas, is exactly an identical replica of the Masjid Jamek Sultan Ibrahim. The 2 majestic mosques are just like reflection image of each other on the other side of river is a breathtaking sight at the mouth of Muar River. This 2nd mosque can accommodate 5,000 Muslim congregations at any time.
  • Nan Hai Fei Lai Goddess of Mercy Temple - (simplified Chinese: 南海飞来; traditional Chinese: 南海飛来; pinyin: nán hǎi fēi lái), also called Ah Nio Keng (Chinese: 亚娘宫; pinyin: yà niáng gōn; or Chinese: 觀音庙; pinyin: Guānyīn miào; literally "temple of Guanyin Goddess of Mercy") is located the riverside main road of Jalan Maharani opposite the Bentayan Express Bus Station, is the oldest Chinese temple in Muar.
  • Kerng Tang Kou Bioh Temple (粤东古庙) - The temple also called Tua Lau Yah Keng (大老爷宫) is located at the Muar Kwangtung Association building at the beginning point of intersection of Jalan Bakri and Jalan Meriam in town centre was founded by Dato' Chua Tuah Soon and early Teochew people immigrants in 1895.[21] It is one of the oldest temples in Muar town. Its name Kerng Tang Kou Bioh(粤东古庙)in Teochew dialect means "East Guangdong's Ancient Temple" was derived from Teochew’s geographical location in east of Guangdong/Kwangtung(粤东/广东) province in China[22] and its ancient Teochew patron deity worshipped at the temple, the "Tua Nang Yah Kong" (大人爷宫) or "Xuán Tiān Shàngdì" (玄天上帝) (literally the Lord of Profound Heaven or Black Heavenly Emperor God). It was initially brought in from Riau Islands archipelago, Indonesia by Tan Song Hai(陈松海) for worship in a shop house at Jalan Maharani before it was saved in a fire and relocated and installed at present premises in 1913. The temple was renovated several times and a major one was when the entrance arch with traditional Chinese temple architecture and the big sitting deity statue at the compound build erected in 1998. During the "Chap Goh Mei" celebration on the 15th day of first lunar month of Chinese calendar, the last day of Chinese New Year festival, drove of Teochew devotees will throng to congregate to pray at the temple and to observe a traditional custom, called "Puak Tau Sai"(博豆狮).[23][24]
  • San Chai Temple, Parit Unas (善才爷庙) - The Parit Unas (南亭寺) Nán Tíng Sì Temple was founded by late Dato Kor Thian Peng, the temple's medium who was touted to be the foster son of late Johor Sultan for their close relationship ever since the medium helped to cure an illness of a Johor Sultan royal family member and conferred the Johor datukship award. According to legend, the temple divine deity god had protected devotees who seek to hide in the temple during 1969 May 13 racial riots and has in many occasions helps many devotees from near and far especially, droving flocks of local and Singapore to throng the temple to worship especially during the birthday of the divine god, San Chai Yeah(善才爷) on the 23rd day of the 1st moon of Chinese lunar calendar(around January/February after Chinese New Year) every year. A Chinese primary school adjacent to the temple, SRJKC San Chai was built with the Sultan's donation and operates with the aids of the temple.
  • Sian Kong San Temple, Bukit Bakri (神公山庙) - A beautiful and tranquil Buddhist temple located on top of a hill at Bukit Bakri with magnificent scenery.
  • Nattukottai Chettiars' Sri Murugan Temple - The oldest Hindu temple in Muar town in Jalan Meriam has a unique and beautiful steeple of the dome with old Indian Hindu achitechture element, but has been torn down as it is now undergoing some major re-construction. It is also fondly known as the Nattukottai Chettiars temple for the contribution of the community in building the temple where local devotees visit for the divine Lord Murugan's blessing since the early days it was built. There is a grand annnual celebration with a chariot procession.[25] Tel : 06-9537358.
  • Sri Muthu Mariamman Temple - ஸ்ரீ முத்து மாரியம்மன் கோவில் Located at 29 Jalan Mohammadiah,, celebrated around October end yearly with the procession of the Amman Chariot.
  • Nagamalai Koil Alaiyam Temple, Bukit Pasir - Snake Hill temple, Bukit Pasir, Muar. Local folks call it Hindu snake temple.[26] This temple, located in the Sime Darby Palm Oil Plantation in Bukit Pasir is said to be a very auspicious temple among Hindus in Malaysia and Singapore. There are small shrines on the forested hill with cobra and Hindu God statues. According to The Star, Nagamalai Alaiyam is the third most important hill temple in Malaysia after Batu Caves in Kuala Lumpur and Thannimalai temple in Penang.
  • Sri Maha Kaliamman Alayam Temple - is located at Jalan Junid Dalam, Parit Perupok Laut, Muar. Annual temple celebration, celebrated around end of October.

Historic Places

  • Kubu Bentayan - The last fortress of the retreating last Malacca Sultanate's Sultan Mahmud Shah before it falls during the attack of the Portuguese in the 15 century situated at mouth the Sungai Bentayan, the Bentayan Express Bus Station (formerly Pagoh Bus Stand) location now. Another fortress but built by the Portuguese later, Fortaleza de Muar was also believed to be situated at the same area.
  • Makam Panglima Lidah Hitam, Parit Sakai - The grave of a legendary Malay warrior Panglima Lidah Hitam (the Black Tongue Warrior) or Baginda Zahiruddin from Padang Pariaman, Minangkabau, Sumatera, Indonesia; the founder Silat Lintau, whose tongues was black in colour when he died and buried in Parit Sakai Laut, Jalan Junid, Muar.
  • Makam Sultan Alauddin Riayat Shah I, Kampung Raja, Pagoh - The tomb of Sultan Alauddin Riayat Shah I, 7th Sultan of Malacca Sultanate from 1477 to 1488 is located at Kampung Raja, Ulu Pagoh.[27]
  • Tapak Sejarah Kota Buruk, Jorak - The Kota Buruk fortress historical site located at Tanjung Selabu, Jorak, Bukit Pasir, Pagoh, Muar is where the founder of the Malacca Sultanate, Parameswara, stayed for more than 10 years upon his exile from Temasik before proceeding to open Malacca. It is said another historic fort 'Biawak Busuk', opened by Parameswara, is also located just nearby.

Food and Cuisine

Local Malay foods such Mee Bandung, Rojak Petis, Satay and Asam Pedas are the signature cuisine of Muar. Javanese cuisine such as Soto, Mee Rebus, Lontong and Nasi Ambeng are also available. Dessert includes goreng pisang(fried banana) and goreng tempeh (fried Javanese fermented soya bean cake) with thick soya sauce with hot chili deeping. The local version of Nasi Beriani Gam is also available. Ikan bakar are local grilled fish and accompanied by sea foods such as prawn, squid, crab, mussel, and clams are eaten with banana leaf wrapped Nasi Lemak. They are available at Medan Ikan Bakar Sabak Awor, Jalan Bakariah and Medan Ikan Bakar Parit Karang, Kesang. Mee Siput; a local delicious snack eaten with sambal, local chili paste condiment is only available in Muar. Johor Laksa is another delicious local food.

Otak-otak at Jalan Haji Abu

Muar is also famous for many Chinese foods like the Muar Otak-otak (乌达) , Teochew Or-Luak/Or-Chien(Fried Oyster omelette), Hainanese Steamed Chicken Rice ball, Muar Char Kway Teow (fried kueh teow with clam), Hokkien Char Hae Mee (Fried Prawn Mee), Cantonese Wonton Mee, Muar Char Siew Perng(Red Roasted Meat Rice), Teochew Lo-Ak-Perng(Braised Duck Rice), Teochew Mee Pok(Fish Ball Thin Noodle), Teochew Her-Moi(Fish Soup Porridge), Teochew Kueh-Chap(Big Pieces Flat Kueh Teow in Soup with Braised Meat, Offal, Egg and Bean Curd), Teochew Chwee Kueh (cup shaped steamed rice flour cakes topped with chopped preserved/salted radish), Teochew Chai Tao Kueh (fried raddish cake), Cantonese Chok (Congee), Simpang Jeram's Loy Her Bee Hoon (haruan/snake head fish vermicelli soup), Bak Kut Teh (herbal pork ribs soup), Teochew Ter Chap Cheng Therng(Pig's organ soup), Curry Laksa, Hakka Yong Tau Foo (Stuffed Bean Curds variety), Chee Cheong Fun, Mi/Bang Chien Kueh (Kuih Apam Balik Cina) etc. are must-try local Chinese delicacies for visitors. Foods centres can be found at Muar Bus Station (Malay), Tanjung Emas (Mixed), Jalan Bentayan's Bentayan Hawker Centre(Chinese) and Jalan Haji Abu (Chinese), famously known as "T'am Cjia Kuay" (贪吃街) literally "the glutton voracious eating street" by the Chinese befitting its reputation as the food haven of the town. There are also a few Chinese restaurants serving nice Pau and Dimsum (Chinese bun and dumpling) for breakfast.

There are also many Chinese restaurants and Malay food stalls offering variety of local cuisine on their menus. On different days of the week there are Pasar Malam or night markets and Pasar Tani selling many local foods at different locations of the town. Famous local Chinese festival delicacies like Thong Chiew Guek Peah-Mooncakes, Tao Sah Peah-Red Bean Paste Cakes are available at the Yong Sheng Confectioneries and Gift Shop and Muar Yuen Chen Siang shop for their famous Bak Kua-Barbecued Pork.

Indian cuisine such as Banana Leaf Rice, Nasi Kandar, Mee Rojak, Rojak Mamak, Putumayam, variety of bread like Roti Canai, Roti Telur, Roti Sardin, Roti Prata, Roti Jala, Tosei, Roti Nan, Murtabak, Kebab with their superb Indian curry and dal gravy; great soups like Sup Kambing, Sup Tulang and Sup Ekor; and not forgetting refreshing cold dessert; Ice Shaved Cendol with thick coconut milk and coconut brown sugar and Teh Tarik at some Indian foods stalls and restaurants.

Muar is popular for its Sirap Bandung (Rose Syrup with milk with optional soda and cincau) beverage which is normally served during Malay wedding reception, but also easily available at most Malay food stalls and restaurant. Pear Juice sold at the fruit stalls at Jalan Yahya have a unique taste compared to pear juice from other areas.

Visiting some restaurants and coffee shops in Muar would give nostalgic experience since the environment and food/beverage being served have not changed since the 60s and 70s. Coffee bean and powder of Muar is famous among the locals and tourists. A standard breakfast includes a cup Muar coffee, the butter and kaya spread roti bakar (bread toast) and half-boiled egg.

Culture and Tradition

Muar is the birthplace of ‘Ghazal', Johor’s traditional musical heritage, which has a Persian origin. Muar is also the birthplace of several type of Zapin dances like Zapin Lenga, Zapin Parit Bagan, Zapin Muar and Zapin Putar Alam and also the Ceracap Inai dance.[28] Zapin is a combination of semi-squatting style Malay dance with Arabic influence. The dancers usually perform in pairs and are accompanied by a traditional music ensemble normally consists of the gambus, accordion, violin, marwas (bongos), rebana (drum) and dok. Usually Zapin music is very alive and energetic. Keroncong is a popular and favourite musical and songs among the Malays of Javanese descends in Muar.[29]

The traditional Javanese 'Kuda Kepang', a traditional horse dance and 'Barongan' dance originating from Indonesia is believed to be best performed by the Muar Malays of Javanese origin especially the Sg. Balang, Parit Bugis, Parit Yusof, Lenga or Bukit Gambir troupes.

It is generally acknowledged that the local dialect of Malay spoken here (and throughout the state of Johor), the Johor-Riau dialect is the common and standard official version of the Malay language adopted throughout the country.

Other than the above, the Muar is well known for their Chinese community's Lion Dance. Muar "Kun Seng Keng" 关圣宫 Temple's Lion Dance troupe had been national champion for 32+ times and world champion for 17+ times in the International Championship for Lion Dance since 1992 beside many winning other various championship.[30]


Higher education

  • Institut Kemahiran Belia Negara (IKBN), Pagoh
  • Institut Latihan Perindustrian (ILP), Sagil
  • Kolej Matrikulasi Johor (KMJ), Tangkak
  • Kolej Komuniti Ledang, Tangkak
Muar High School

Secondary Schools

  • Muar High School (麻坡高级中学)
  • St. Andrew School (圣安德鲁中学)
  • Convent Girl School (康文女中)
  • Sultan Abu Bakar Girl School (苏丹阿布巴卡女中)
  • SMK Dato' Sri Amar Diraja (SEDAR)
  • SM Sains Muar
  • Maktab Rendah Sains Mara(MRSM Muar)
  • SM Teknik Muar ( formerly known as Sekolah Menengah Vokasional Muar)
  • SMK Jalan Junid
  • SMK Sri Muar
  • SMK Bandar Maharani (SMKBM)
  • SMK(A) Ma'ahad Muar
  • SMK Tengku Mahkota (SMTM)
  • SMK Raja Muda
  • SMK Tun Perak Muar
  • SMK Tun Mamat
  • SMJK Pei Hwa
  • SMK Bukit Pasir
  • SMK Lenga
  • SMK Parit Bunga
  • SMK Tun Dr. Ismail (STUDI), Bakri, Muar.

Chinese Independent School

  • Chung Hwa High School,Jalan Junid (中化中学)
  • Pei Hwa High School,Sungai Mati (培华独中)

National Primary Schools

  • SK Bakri Batu 5, Bakri, Muar
  • SK St. Andrew (SAS)
  • SK Ismail 1
  • SK Ismail 2
  • SK Convent Infant Jesus
  • SK Abdullah
  • SK Sawah Ring
  • SK Bukit Gambir
  • SK Simpang Lima
  • SK Serom 3
  • SK Parit Bunga
  • SK Seri Jong

Chinese Primary Schools

  • SJK(C) Chung Hwa 1A (中化一小A校)
  • SJK(C) Chung Hwa 1B (中化一小B校)
  • SJK(C) Chung Hwa 2A (中化二小A校)
  • SJK(C) Chung Hwa 2B (中化二小B校)
  • SJK(C) Chung Hwa 3 (中化三小)
  • SJK(C) Chung Hwa Presbyterian (中华基督小学)
  • SJK(C) Sing Hwa (醒华小学)
  • SJK(C) Chian Kuo (建国华小)
  • SJK(C) Hwa Ming (华明小学)
  • SJK(C) Pu Nan (辅南华小)
  • SJK(C) Pei Yang (培养小学)
  • SJK(C) Yu Jern (育人学校)
  • SJK(C) San Chai (善才小学)
  • SJK(C) Sin Ming (新民小学)

Muar High School (麻坡高级中学) began as a Government English School and it was first housed in an attap (the processed leaves of nypa fruticans) shed known as ‘Balai Kuning’ which was actually used by the Sultan as a reception hall whenever he visited Muar. It was located at the site of the present High Court Building. The school was founded in 1902. It was under the charge of one Mr. C.P. Frois, a Eurasian gentleman from Malacca. He was the first headmaster cum teacher of the school and the enrollment of the school then was about 40 pupils.

It was not until 1904, the majestic colonial style historical school building started its construction and completed in 1915 and it is still standing. During the Second World War, the school was used as a Japanese concentration camp. Its alumni include national and state leaders, high-ranking government officials and industrialists, such as Tan Sri Osman Saat, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, Dato Seri Abdul Ghani Othman, His Excellency(Rtd) Dr Bahar Munip (ref:Parit Jawa), Tan Sri Hussin Hj Ismail

Chung Hwa High School is the oldest Chinese Independent high school in Malaysia. It will celebrate its 100th year anniversary in July 2012.


Muar and Tangkak are served by two government hospitals as well as numerous primary health centres. The two hospitals are:

  • Sultanah Fatimah Specialist Hospital (Hospital Pakar Sultanah Fatimah). Formerly Muar District Hospital, which has recently been upgraded to specialist hospital status and renamed.
  • Tangkak District Hospital

Currently, both hospitals also serve as teaching hospitals for Melaka Manipal Medical College.

Notable people

Politicians and Public Servants

  • Datuk Abdul Ghani Othman, Menteri Besar of Johor (1995–Current).
  • Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, currently Deputy Prime Minister who was also a former Menteri Besar of Johor(1986–1995).
  • Tan Sri Othman Saat, former Menteri Besar of Johor(1967–1982).
  • Tan Sri Haji Hassan Yunus, former Menteri Besar of Johor(1959–1967).
  • Dato' Chua Jui Meng, former Bakri's Member of Parliament, former Health Minister of Malaysia and former Vice President of MCA.
  • Dato' Chua Tuah Soon (Chinese: 蔡大孫; pinyin: Cài Dà Sūn), an early Chinese immigrants pioneer and community Kangchu leader or Kapitan Cina of Muar in the early 1990s.
  • Dato' Haji Kosai, former Parit Bakar state assemblymen and state exco, father of Dr Robia Kosai, state exco.
  • Dato' Chua Song Lim, former Muar state assemblymen and state exco, 2nd MCA Johor State Liaison Chairmen (1961–1973).
  • Datuk Dr Neo Yee Pan, former Acting President of Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA) (March 1983 to November 1985) and former minister.
  • Tan Sri Abdul Kadir Yusuf , former Minister of Law and the Judiciary, Lord President of the Supreme Court and Attorney General of Malaysia,his wife is Tun Dr Fatimah Hashim and their son, Tan Sri Ali Abdul Kadir is former Securities Commission chief.
  • Tun Dr Fatimah Hashim, the first woman minister, former Women, Family and Community Development.
  • Tan Sri Haji Mohamad Noah bin Omar, the former Minister of Home Affairs and first Speaker of the Dewan Rakyat. Father of Tun Rahah Mohd Noah and Tun Suhaila Mohd Noah.
  • Tun Rahah Mohd Noah, wife of Tun Abdul Razak, Malaysian 2nd Prime Minister and mother of Dato Seri Najib Abdul Razak, current Malaysian 6th Prime Minister.
  • Tun Suhaila Mohd Noah, wife of Tun Hussein Onn, Malaysian 3rd Prime Minister and mother of minister, Dato' Seri Hishammuddin Hussein.
  • Tun Sulaiman Ninam Shah, former UMNO former Umno permanent chairman, former Johor state assemblyman for Parit Jawa (1959–1964).
  • Tan Sri Haji Anwar bin Abdul Malik, a close associate of Dato' Onn Jaafar, credited for giving United Malay National Organisation (UMNO) its name, initially United Malay Organisation.
  • Tun Datuk Dr Awang bin Hassan, former Member of Parliament of Muar, former Penang State Governor, the father of Dr Yahya Awang.
  • Tan Sri Dato' Dr Yahya bin Awang, the famous cardiothoracic surgeon who performed the open heart by-pass surgery on Prime Minister Dr. Mahathir Mohammad in 1989; pioneered the establishment of The National Heart Institute of Malaysia in 1992; and performed the first heart transplant in Malaysia in 1998.
  • Tan Sri Dato' Dr Abu Bakar Suleiman, former Health Ministry Director-General
  • Sellapan Ramanathan, or SR Nathan, President of Singapore, was born in Singapore but grew up in Muar and have spent his childhood with his three older sisters and parents in Muar.
  • Tan Sri Dato' G. Pasamanickam, Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC) former Vice Chairman, Johor State Liaison Chairman and Muar division chairman, former Dewan Negara senator.
  • Tan Sri Datuk Hussin Hj Ismail, former Deputy Inspector General of Police, Royal Malaysia Police.


  • Ramlah Ram, Nash (Jamaluddin Alias), Zainal Alam Kadir a k a Mr Universe (Ghani’s cousin), TRO Group, Jaafar Onn, Famous singer/celebrity.
  • Yasmin Ahmad, esteemed Malaysian Filmmaker/Producer/Director
  • Nurul Hana Che Mahazan or Nana (deejay), of radio station, former student and finalist of Akademi Fantasia AF1 reality show.
  • Wayne Chua Poi Suan (Cai Peixuan)(蔡佩璇) a finalist in the Singapore's Mediacorp Star Search 2003 before acting in drama serial The Golden Path 黄金路 (2008).
  • Namewee, controversial rapper who made headlines when he composed and sang the song Negarakuku, which is based from the Malaysian national anthem, Negaraku.


  • Nordin Jadi, former Malaysia track runner athlete, represented in 200m and 400m track events in both Los Angeles 1984 and Seoul 1988 (as Flag Bearer too) Summer Olympics.
  • Yap Kim Hock, former top badminton player, silver medal winner in Atlanta 1996 Summer Olympics in men's double with Cheah Soon Kit.
  • Kwek Chiew Peng, former national badminton player (1970s).
  • Malik Sulaiman, former Malaysian yachtsman, silver medalist in Bangkok 1998 Asian Games Regatta sport Super Moth category and Commander (Cdr) of Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN).
  • Mazlan Hamzah, former Malaysian track athlete, member of the Malaysian athletic team 1964 Tokyo Olympics

Community & business leaders

  • Chan Guan, a prominent and wealthy estate and rubber plantation owner, living in Muar in the 1950s. A philanthropist, he donated RM20,000 to the Chong Hwa Chinese High School and RM10,000 to the Chee Chi Club in Muar - huge sums of money for that time. He was also an ardent supporter of the Muar Khek Association. He lost his entire fortune due to the Malaysian communists and was also detained by the Malaysian police force for 3 and a half years.
  • Etican Ramasamy, Senior lawyer, founder of legal firm E.Ramasamy&Co, former Johore Bar Committee Chairman, former District Governor Rotary District 3310, former Muar town councillor, former National President EWRF, senior Freemason, former Board Of Governors member of Muar High School and Convent Girl's School Muar, former Muar Hindu temple committee chairman, prominent Indian community leader, Alumni of Muar High School Class of 1961 and a prominent citizen of Muar.



  1. ^ Muar to say goodbye to Tangkak, November 20, 2006, The Star (Malaysia)
  2. ^ A. Trocki, Carl (1st 1979/2nd 2007), Prince of Pirates: The Temenggongs and the Development of Johor and Singapore 1784-1885, NUS Press, p. 130, ISBN 978-9971-69-376-3, 
  3. ^ The story is recorded in JMBRAS magazine, October, 1935, Volume XIII Part 2, page 15 to 16.
  5. ^ a b (Tun) Suzana (Tun) Othman, Ahlul-bait (keluarga) Rasulullah SAW & raja-raja Melayu, pg 182
  6. ^ a b R. O. Winstedt, A History of Johore (1365–1941), pg 129
  7. ^ Studer, American and British Claims Arbitration: William Webster: Appendix to the Memorial of the United States, Vol. III, pg 311-2
  8. ^ Journal of the Malaysian Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society (1937), pg 74
  9. ^ Winstedt, A History of Johore (1365–1941), pg 128-9
  10. ^ Winstedt, A History of Johore (1365–1941), pg 131-2
  11. ^ Andaya, A History of Malaysia, pg 140
  12. ^ Sultanah Johor Tanam Azimat di Muar
  13. ^ The Battle of Muar
  14. ^ "The Battle of Muar". AWM. Retrieved 2009-03-30. 
  15. ^ The Star, 25 Dec 2006).
  16. ^ Flag and coat of arms of Johor
  17. ^ Flag of the State Commissioner for Muar (Bendera Orang Besar Daerah Muar)
  18. ^ Muar District Office Official Website/Muar Flag
  19. ^ FARIDAH BEGUM (Sunday October 7, 2007), "Regal coastal town", The Star (Muar: Sundaymetro),, retrieved 2010-04-10 
  20. ^ HAMDAN RAJA ABDULLAH (Thursday March 4, 2010), "Boosting Muar tours", The Star (Muar: Metro/South & East),, retrieved 2010-04-08 
  21. ^ 鄭向真 (Zhèngxiàngzhēn) (2000-07-15), "蔡大孫開發麻坡港 (Chua Tuah Soon Established the Port of Muar)", 星洲日報/大柔佛 (Sinchew Daily) (Muar:,, retrieved 2000-07-16 
  22. ^ East Guangdong Chaozhou China website
  23. ^ Seeking Peanut Lion for a Blessed Year at Teochew Ancient Temple|Chinese|Muarinfo|February 4, 2010
  24. ^ Guangdong's Ancient Temple|Tour Malaysia
  25. ^ Nattukottai Chettiars' Sri Murugan Temple Video Clip
  26. ^ Nagamalai Koil Alaiyam Temple|Tour Malaysia
  27. ^ Makam Sultan Alauddin Riayat Shah I|Tour Malaysia
  28. ^ Showcase folk dances on regular basis|Fauziah Ismail|2009/06/22|JohorBuzz|MyJohor|Johor Street Reaching Out|NST
  29. ^ Tarian Tradisional|Johor State Government Official Portal
  30. ^ Muar Lion Dance Troupe is World Champion | New Straits Times | 11 Feb, 1994

External links

Coordinates: 2°3′N 102°34′E / 2.05°N 102.567°E / 2.05; 102.567

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