For other meanings of Jurong, see Jurong (disambiguation).

Template:Infobox Singapore neighbourhood

Jurong is a planned district located in the southwestern part of Singapore. Its main composition consists of Jurong East, Jurong West and Jurong Industrial. Its territory is also extended to include Pulau Samulun and Jurong Island.

Since the 1950s, Jurong has remained the heart of Singapore's heavy industry. Being a far cry away from the brick and mortar businesses of the island nation's Downtown Core. The Jurong Industrial Estate along with the residential developments of Jurong East and West, was one of the earliest prototypes of a satellite town in Singapore. Such a concept allowed residents of said towns to work, live and play in small planned communities away from the main metropolitan districts of the Central Area.

Today, the rapid growth and development of Jurong has lead it to become one of the most densely populated places in the city state. With an estimated population of over 357,000 people.[1] Jurong's planning structure and model has become the basis of many new towns in Singapore, such as those of Pasir Ris and Woodlands.


"Jurong" took its name from the Sungei Jurong, a body of water that still channels into Jurong Lake, the latter of which was created by damming the river itself. Although its origins are disputed, the core definition of "Jurong", is probably derived from several meanings in Malay. The term could probably refer to the word for shark, "Jerung". It can also be derived from the word "Jurang" or a gorge. Jurong could also take its name from the word, "Penjuru" which translates to, corner. Penjuru may most likely refer to the area that sits between Sungei Jurong and Sungei Pandan, Tanjong Penjuru or Cape Corner in English. The present-day site of Tanjong Penjuru would be the sub-zone of Penjuru Crescent.[2]

Many roads within the Jurong Industrial Estate named in the late 1960s and early 1970s drew inspiration from the nature of industrial activities in the estate and related aspects of industrialisation. Following the growth of the rubber industry in the early 1900s, numerous rubber plantations dominated the area. Plantations such as Bulim Estate, Lokyang Estate, Chong Keng Estate, Seng Toh Estate and Yunnan Estate, eventually gave rise to many of the local names for areas in Jurong.


Before RafflesEdit

The earliest known records of Jurong can be traced back to 1595, on a maritime documentation of oriental trading routes. Titled "Reys-gheschrift van de Navigation der Portugaloysers in Orienten", the journal written by Dutch author Jan Huyghen van Linschoten, names a certain "Selat Sembilan" that one must cross eastwards after reaching the southernmost end of the Strait of Malacca.[3] This suggests that the straits near Jurong, witnessed a significant role in the ancient maritime Silk Road. Although not mapped by Linschoten, the location of Selat Sembilan was later identified in Philip Jackson's 1828 survey of Singapore. Despite land reclamation works along parts of Jurong and Tuas, Selat Sembilan still exists today as the stretch of sea along the coast of Jurong.[2]

Even before the arrival of Sir Stamford Raffles in 1819, small settlements have already been built along Jurong's coastal areas as well as the present-day site of Jurong Island, Pulau Damar Laut and of course, Pulau Sembulan. Such squatters were inhabited by the native Orang laut, some of whom migrated from the nearby Dutch East Indies and Malaya.

Colonial JurongEdit

Earliest developmentsEdit

Post-colonization, Jurong had a small population of inhabitants scattered along the banks of the area's two main rivers, Sungei Jurong and Sungei Pandan.

In a visit to the area in 1848, then Chief Surveyor of Singapore, John Turnbull Thomson, made one of the earliest accounts on human settlements in Jurong.

He described the demographics along Sungei Jurong as such:


Thomson also gave his description on the population along Sungei Pandan:


With the increase in population size over the years, the need for a mode of travel to and from the Town of Singapore, was necessary. Between 1852-1853, the first few portions of Jurong Road were paved to connect villages around Jurong to the metropolitan areas of Singapore Town and the rest of the island. This first portion of Jurong Road started from the seventh milestone of Bukit Timah Road ending along the head of Sungei Jurong. Although it isn't known when the rest of the road was paved, by 1936, the road stretched up to the district of Tuas.[2]

An American visitEdit
File:Painting of Chinese coolies at the Sungei Jurong, Singapore (c. 1860).jpg

In 1853, American Commodore Matthew C. Perry led an expedition in an attempt to open up Bakumatsu Japan to the world.

The fleet of the Perry Expedition, stopped over a few countries before reaching the Japanese archipelago. Amongst one of the few docking locations during the trip, was Singapore. This made it the second time that the United States had made a diplomatic presence on the island since the Exploring Expedition.

Perry's crew anchored their fleet of two frigates and two sloops-of-war along Selat Sembilan and Sungei Jurong, where they surveyed the surroundings of the strait and the river.

Wilhelm Heine and Eliphalet Brown, two of the official expedition artist, were tasked at producing a lithograph depicting the villages along Sungei Jurong. The resulting image was one of the earliest illustrations of Colonial-era Jurong.

What is interesting about the image is the forest fire shown in the background. This was common at the time as such fires were often rampant throughout Jurong in the mid 19th century.[2] Another thing of note is the United States flag seen on the stern of the sampan in the foreground.[4]

Earliest industriesEdit

Even before its industrialization in the early 1960s, Jurong was home to businesses in the agricultural and brickwork sectors.

Plantations dominated the area, harvesting pineapple, pepper and nutmeg as sources of income for the district. However, the main prepotent export for Jurong, was gambier. Its practical and medicinal properties prove profitable for the Chinese kangchus, men who were into the gambier industry. In 1855, the Municipal Committee reported 20 of such legal plantations existing within Jurong. However, this figure isn't exactly accurate, given the fact that many illegal ones were also set up in the area.[2]

Rubber was also a popular industry in Jurong. Often seen as a strong competitor to the gambier businesses that were prime in the district. By the first half of the 20th century, the practices of rubber tapping overtook the role of harvesting gambier, an activity that once thrived in Jurong. A notable example of a gambier business that shifted to the rubber sector, was the plantation that belonged to Chinese business magnate, Chew Boon Lay. The large amount of land that the plantation stood on was often well associated with his name. Today, this area is known as Boon Lay Place, a small sub-zone enclaved within the new town of Jurong West.

Aside from crops, fishing was also a prominent form of income in Jurong. But this job was mostly handled by the local Malay and Orang laut population, most of whom chose to settle along the coastline of Jurong. Fishing was also conducted along the two prominent rivers of Jurong, Sungei Jurong and Sungei Pandan.

Prawns farms were also set up along these two rivers, where the crustacean species grew in large numbers. By the 1950s, 500 acres of land was specifically assigned for prawn farming in Jurong. This was roughly half the total amount of land used for prawn farms in Singapore at that time.[2]

Modern JurongEdit

The need to industrializeEdit

Post-war Singapore was plagued with financial trouble. An uneducated population and the lack of jobs meant that the amount of manpower was scarce. By the end of the 1950s, the unemployment rate stood at 14%, an estimated 200,000 of the population at that time. To add on to the problem, the government had to cater to the high birth rate, which used to increase every year by 4%.[2]

With the Cold War looming and the threat of communism spreading from Malaya, the Legislative Assembly was being pressured to keep the crown colony financially stable.

In 1959, the People's Action Party emerged victorious in the first general election held in self-governing Singapore. High on the party's agenda was the promise of better employment and the need to build up the weak economy of a growing self-governing nation.[5]

The newly led PAP government had a desperate need to counter the issue and finance minister, Dr Goh Keng Swee, was put in charge of this task.

Goh saw that the only way to improve Singapore's weak economy was through industrialization. He envisioned an industrial town in Singapore that had modern facilities such as factories and shipyards. Although such an idea wasn't the first, Dr Goh's plans for an industrial estate in Jurong were much more ambitious than previous proposals.[2]

Formation of Jurong Industrial EstateEdit

The government saw industrialisation as a solution to the country's economic problems and Jurong was picked as a prime area for development. Jurong's coastal waters were deep, making it suitable for a port; the land was mostly state-owned; and landfill was readily available from the area's many hills. It is also relatively far from Singapore's Central Business District and residential areas, and thus it is suitable to locate heavy industries there. In the 1950s, it was developed into an industrial estate, supported by low-cost housing. Amenities such as government dispensaries, a private hospital, creches, hawker centres and banks were built in the 1970s during efforts to develop Singapore economically.

In 1961, the Economic and Development Board (EDB) was formed to industrialise Jurong and earthworks began that same year. In 1962, the Finance Minister Dr Goh Keng Swee, laid the foundation stone for the National Iron and Steel Mills, the first factory in the new industrial estate. Many Singaporeans doubted the success of Dr Goh's plan to develop the area, giving it the name "Goh's Folly". They were quickly proven wrong as 24 factories were established in 1963. In May 1965, Jurong Port became operational.

In 1968, the Jurong Town Corporation was created to manage Jurong's development. By this time, 14.78 square kilometres of industrial land has been prepared, 153 factories were fully functioning and 46 more were being constructed. With the Singapore economy constantly expanding, finding space for new industries is an ever-present challenge. Seven islets off the coast of Jurong were merged to create the 30 square kilometre Jurong Island, which is to be the base for oil, petrochemical and chemical industries. Construction of Jurong Island began in the early 1990s and is scheduled to be completed in 2010. A number of plants began operating there in the late 1990s. A bridge, the Jurong Island Causeway, links Jurong Island to the mainland. Access to the island is restricted which may improve its security against terrorist attacks.

Formation of Jurong Residential DistrictEdit

The development of Jurong started in the 1970s, when estates such as Taman Jurong, Boon Lay, Bukit Batok, Bukit Gombak, Hong Kah, Teban Gardens and Yuhua were built, mainly due to the resettlement of Hong Kah Village. Boon Lay, Taman Jurong and Hong Kah are all under the Jurong West New Town. Yuhua and Teban Gardens are all under the Jurong East New Town.

In 1982, Jurong West New Town started expanding as the Jurong West Extension, comprising of the later neighbourhoods such as Neighbourhood 7, 8 and 9. It converted the former section of PIE into the Jurong West Avenue 2 and renaming the other part of the Jurong Road to the Jurong West Avenue 4. The remainder of the roads were demolished in 2012 and replaced by the Bulim industrial development. It signalled the start of the development of Jurong West Extension (Yunnan, Nanyang and Pioneer). The N9 was the first to be built in 1986, and the last to be built is N6 in 2001. The MRT line was extended to Boon Lay in 1990, and Pioneer and Joo Koon in 2009.

Jurong KTMB Railway LineEdit

File:Jurong KTMB railway line bridge.jpg

The Keretapi Tanah Melayu railway from Malaysia used to have an extension branching out from the Bukit Timah railway station to Shipyard Road and Jurong Port via Teban Gardens. This railway extension was intended for goods transportation as Jurong lacked good roads at the time. It was opened in 1965 amid much fanfare, but failed to generate satisfactory traffic. It was consequently closed in early 1985 during the electrification project, and has since been partially dismantled.


Jurong today is a town with residential and industrial developments. The extensive residential developments has brought an influx of residents, who are well served by shopping centres, sports facilities, schools, good road connections and the Mass Rapid Transit system. The industrial districts are managed by JTC and it is common to find foreign workers hanging out in Jurong. The influx of foreign workers and foreign expatriates in the region has been a concern among the residents living here.


Pre-industrial JurongEdit

Natural geographyEdit

File:Plan of the British settlement of Singapore published 1828.jpg

Although Jurong's geography was documented on a few maps and records following Singapore's founding in 1819, the area only became clearer to the British in an 1828 geographical survey of the island by Lieutenant Philip Jackson. In a map that was drawn after the survey, the lieutenant clearly describes most of Jurong's natural geography with the two rivers of Jurong, Sungei Jurong and Sungei Pandan marked on the map. He also noted down several islands which have since ceased to exist. Such islands include, Pulau Ayer Chawan, Pulau Butun, Pulau Pese (Pulau Pesek), Pulau Sakra, Pulau Saraya (Pulau Seraya) all of which have since merged to form Jurong Island. Current geographical landmarks such as Pulau Damar Laut and the strait of Selat Sembilan have also been included on the map.[2]

The two rivers of Jurong were mentioned again in 1848, when a second survey conducted by John Turnbull Thomson, described the original shape and settlements of Sungei Jurong and Sungei Pandan. Turnbull describes both rivers as, "large creeks" with settlements around the both.

However, in the case of Sungei Jurong, Thomson gives his description as such:


Before the damming of Sungei Jurong, the present-day site of Jurong Lake was once occupied by two streams that split at the junction of the river. These two streams have since ceased to exist. However, like what Thomson said, these bodies of water roughly marked the present day locations of Jurong East and West, at that time identified as Jurong and Peng Kang on colonial maps respectively.[2]

Before its development in the 1960s, Jurong was left close to its pristine state after Singapore's founding in 1819. Although there were a few settlements around Jurong, most of the land was mainly uncharted territory. Swamps dominated the coastline of Jurong, yielding large amounts of wildlife such as mudskippers and horseshoe crabs. A forest reserve of dipterocarp trees would have once stood inland behind the grove of rhizophora trees along the coast. Low hills were mainly the highest elevated points around Jurong, although most of them were later leveled over the years.

This was evident, given the description made by Commodore Perry in his accounts of Jurong made during the Perry Expedition:


Administrative geographyEdit

In maps made by the British administration before Singapore's self-governance in 1959, Colonial Jurong's territory was rather small, occupying what is today the present-day district of Bukit Batok. However, as the boundaries of Jurong were never made clear by surveyors at that time, many residents have often regarded the areas along the stretch of Jurong Road as part of the region itself. Such areas include Peng Kang, colonial Choa Chu Kang, colonial Pandan and colonial Tuas.[2]

Modern JurongEdit

Natural geographyEdit

File:Sungei Ulu Pandan.JPG

Today, most of what is left of the original pristine Jurong is restricted to the areas around the Pandan Reservoir and Sungei Pandan. Little traces of the dipterocarp forest still remain. The mangrove swamps today are now just a fraction of its former self, located at the mouth of Sungei Pandan. The untouched mangrove fringes still hold the last remnants of wildlife in Jurong. It is because of this that area remains a hotspot for bird watching and nature enthusiast to this day.[2]

Jurong's unique locale lends to itself a special rock formation unlike any other in Singapore. Named the Jurong Formation, the sedimentary rock deposits can trace its roots back to the late Triassic and early to middle Jurassic periods.

Administrative geographyEdit

Although modified several times throughout its modern history, Jurong's borders post-industrialization have remained relatively the same since the 1960s.

The boundaries of modern-day Jurong were finally defined in the 1960 proposal of the new town. The planned district would be located entirely south of Jurong Road, combining land that was once the colonial era districts of Jurong, Peng Kang, Pandan and the southernmost portion of Choa Chu Kang.[6] As a result of this proposal, the government gazetted portions of land from these areas to increase the overall size of Jurong.[7]

Some land portions however, have since been seceded to other districts. The northern portions of Colonial Jurong would eventually become the district of Bukit Batok. The district of Tuas eventually became its own separate entity after going through numerous changes under the planning schemes of the Urban Redevelopment Authority. Pandan today is a small sub-zone that has since been seceded to the district of Clementi. It covers the eastern area of the mouth of Sungei Pandan.

Through numerous changes made to the planning areas over the decades, the borders of Jurong today are marked by a number of roads and expressways.

With the decommissioning of Jurong Road following the completion of the Pan Island Expressway in 1992, the northern limits of the district were changed. Today, the stretch of the PIE that runs adjacent to the northern portions of Jurong, separates it from the districts of Tengah in the north-west and Bukit Batok to the immediate north.

Everything south of Jurong is the coastline facing three of the district's islands, Jurong Island, Pulau Damar Laut and Pulau Samulun. Although these islands fall under the composition of the district, Jurong Island is technically classified by the URA under the Western Islands Planning Area.

The eastern border of Jurong that is shared with Clementi mostly runs along Sungei Pandan. At its northern tip, the eastern border cuts through a portion of the PIE merging with the northern border that separates Jurong from Bukit Batok.

Towards the westernmost point of Jurong, the border with the industrial district of Tuas runs along Tuas Road before cutting into the uppermost portion of Pioneer Road and eventually ending at the Tuas Basin.[8]

Within the district itself, Jurong is further split into four contiguous parts. Jurong East and West in the north and north-west form the main bulk of the residential district. Boon Lay and Pioneer to the south and south-west form the Jurong Industrial Estate.


Jurong was used to be an independent constituency in the 1959 general elections. Chia Thye Poh, represented the constituency between 1963 and 1966. Boon Lay SMC was later carved in 1976 during the building of HDB flats at Boon Lay, and later Hong Kah SMC was carved in 1984, together with Yuhua SMC. Ayer Rajah SMC was redrawn for the Teban Gardens side.

Hong Kah GRC was regrouped in 1988, to include boundaries of the Hong Kah North (Bukit Batok). In 2001, there were major changes to the constituencies in Jurong. One of the places affected is Daisy Ang's house, which was moved to Jurong GRC (Jurong Central). Bert Koh's house is still located at Jurong GRC (Yuhua), formerly known as Bukit Timah GRC. Hong Kah GRC is only remains for the existing portion of Nanyang and Bulim. It was extended to include Bukit Gombak and the Keat Hong area.

In 2011, the constituencies such as Hong Kah North, Yuhua and Pioneer were later split, mainly for the Pioneer side, Er Hui Jun wanted to bring the reputation down. Nonetheless, among the 6 constituencies in Jurong, they will never go to the opposition.

See alsoEdit


  1. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named citypopulation
  2. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named NHBJurong
  3. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named Dutchdocument
  4. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named PerryJournal
  5. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named uslcRoadToIndependence
  6. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named STJurongplan
  7. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named STJuronggazetted
  8. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named URA2014MasterPlan


External linksEdit



Ad blocker interference detected!

Wikia is a free-to-use site that makes money from advertising. We have a modified experience for viewers using ad blockers

Wikia is not accessible if you’ve made further modifications. Remove the custom ad blocker rule(s) and the page will load as expected.