Historic Causeway turning 100

JOHOR BARU: A major milestone will be celebrated this Friday with the Causeway marking its 100th year anniversary of its official opening.

Local historian Associate Prof Datuk Dr Kassim Thukiman said the Causeway has played a major role in shaping up Johor and Singapore’s social economic development for a century.

He added that in the late 1800’s, Johor was the world’s top producer for gambier, pepper and rubber where the items were sent to Singapore before they were exported to Europe and China.

“They were sent to Singapore using small boats across the Johor Straits. The channel then became congested.

“In 1917, the British proposed to the Johor government to build a causeway linking Tanjung Puteri, now known as Johor Baru, and Singapore, where the project was approved some two years later,” he said here on Sunday.

Kassim added the Johor government paid £15.4mil back then to help construct the Causeway, including the road, which allowed vehicles to transport people and goods.

He said based on historical facts, the Causeway was officially opened on June 28, 1924 by the Federated Malay States high commissioner Sir Lawrence Guillermard. It was witnessed by Johor Ruler Almarhum Sultan Sir Ibrahim Ibni Almarhum Sultan Sir Abu Bakar as well as other Malay Rulers.

“The Causeway connects the railway lines from Gemas to Johor Baru, then to Kranji and Keppel near Tanjong Pagar in Singapore.

“People travelled along the road network between Johor Baru and Woodlands in the island republic while water was channelled from Gunung Pulai here to Singapore through pipes due to demand coming from there.”

There were also dark moments in the Causeway’s history as well.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, it was closed off for two years.

Kassim said during WW2, Allied forces bombed parts of the Causeway to stop the invasion of Japanese army into Singapore, while during the Emergency, the British army imposed strict controls on movement between Johor and Singapore.

“The Causeway will be celebrating its 100th year anniversary soon. It will still play a pivotal role for both Johor and Singapore even with the development of Rapid Transit System Link (RTS) project,” he added.

A Causeway traveller, technician Kamil Mohd Murad, 39, who works in Singapore, is grateful for its creation.

“I cannot imagine if there is no Causeway. It will be a major problem for the people, especially those that have families in both Malaysia and Singapore, to meet one another,” he added.

Waitress Huang Mei Ming, 42, said the strong cooperation between Malaysia and Singapore has resulted in smoother travel between both countries.

“There is congestion at the two checkpoints but at least clearance has become much faster. This has helped a lot of daily travellers like myself,” she said.

Meanwhile, the Johor government is making plans to host a celebration to mark the 100th year anniversary of the Causeway this coming Friday.

It is learnt that there would be a ceremony at the “zero mark” of the Causeway, which is the border demarcation line between Malaysia and Singapore.

The ceremony is expected to be attended by Mentri Besar Datuk Onn Hafiz Ghazi and Singapore Foreign Minister Dr Vivian Balakrishnan.

State youth, sports, entrepreneur development and cooperatives committee chairman Mohd Hairi Mad Shah, who heads the committee of the 100th year anniversary, said among plans for the celebration included creating souvenir items and an exhibition for the public to know more about the Causeway.

In a Facebook post, Pos Malaysia Berhad said to mark the historic occasion, a special commemorative stamp will be issued.

It added that the special stamps will be issued this Friday and can be obtained from the nearest post offices.

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Causeway , Johor , Singapore , Pos Malaysia , anniversary


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