Jurong used to be a mangrove swamp before it was developed into an industrial estate in 1961.1 Residential and recreational amenities were built in Jurong over the next two decades to attract people to live and work there and to facilitate the expansion of the estate. Jurong has since transformed into a self-sufficient town consisting of five administrative zones. In response to the town’s gentrification in recent years, a five-year masterplan to further develop it was announced in 2006. Landmarks in Jurong include Jurong Port, Jurong Industrial Estate, Jurong Town Hall, Science Centre Singapore and Jurong Bird Park.
Jurong was historically a mangrove swamp, with some plantation farms, fish and prawn ponds, and crocodile-infested rivers. The rural land was mostly state-owned, except for plots owned by a small number of residents.2
In 1961, Dutch economist Albert Winsemius initiated Singapore’s industrialisation programme.3 A land area of 69 sq km in Jurong was chosen as the site for industrial development. Low hills were levelled and the swampland was filled with soil to prepare the land for industrial, residential and recreational developments.4 Jurong Industrial Estate project, Singapore’s first industrial estate, was kick started with the laying of the foundation stone for the National Iron & Steel Mills (known today as NatSteel) on 1 September 1962. Early industries in the estate included timber, sawmilling, oil-rig fabrication, shipbuilding and repair. By 1976, 650 factories were in operation and more than 20,000 flats occupied.5
Jurong is under the Jurong Group Representation Constituency (GRC), which comprises Clementi, Bukit Batok East, Jurong Central, Jurong Spring and Taman Jurong.6 The GRC is managed by the Jurong-Clementi Town Council.7
From the 1970s to ’90s, in order to attract workers and facilitate the expansion of Jurong Industrial Estate, residential and recreational amenities were constructed by the Jurong Town Corporation (JTC), which had taken over from the Economic Development Board the responsibility of managing and developing industrial estates. The estate has since grown into a self-sufficient town with a good transportation network consisting of buses and the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) rail system. There are amenities such as wet markets, food centres, sports complexes, schools, polyclinics, places of worship, shopping centres, a library, community centres and a country club. The estate is also home to several tourist attractions: Jurong Bird Park, Science Centre Singapore and the Chinese and Japanese gardens.8
By 2000, the estate was experiencing a gentrification with private residential developments springing up alongside public housing. In response to the change in the residents’ profile, plans were made to further enhance existing facilities. Educational institutions, such as Jurong Primary School and Yuan Ching Secondary School, were renovated. On 25 March 2006, the Jurong Town Council launched a five-year masterplan to upgrade Jurong. Under the Main Upgrading Programme and Lift Upgrading Programme, improvements were carried out, including expanded playground areas, a fitness corner for the elderly, ramps for the disabled, covered walkways, repainting, rewiring works and communal gardens.9 The 700-bed Ng Teng Fong General Hospital and 400-bed Jurong Community Hospital, both located on the same site, were opened on 30 June 2015.10 Roads at Toh Tuck Avenue and Jurong Town Hall were also widened.11
In 2008, the Urban Redevelopment Authority unveiled extensive plans to improve the quality of life in Jurong. The Jurong Lake area will be home to a water-sports hub, with improved walkways and scenic trails.12 In the same year, the Jurong Point shopping centre was expanded to almost thrice its original size.13
Singapore’s second port, Jurong Port, began operations in 1965.14 The port handles and transports raw materials and manufactured products.15 It underwent further expansion after the completion of the Pulau Damar Laut expansion.16 Currently, the port features 32 berths, over 174,000 sq m of warehouse facilities, and can accommodate ships weighing up to 150,000 deadweight tonnes.17 The container terminal receives containers from lines such as Goldstar, Hanjin and TS Lines, while the cargo terminal is a one-stop centre for the consolidation, packaging and redistribution of goods. Jurong Port has won accolades such as Asia Pacific Multi-Purpose Terminal Operator of the Year (Asia Pacific) for six consecutive years (201015) and Best Container Terminal Operator Asia (2008–11).18
Jurong Town Corporation
On 1 June 1968, the JTC was established to head the planning, development and management of all industrial sites. The economy took off in the 1970s, and the corporation stepped up its development of facilities, ahead of demand. As the economy matured in the 1980s, JTC emphasised the development of facilities for high-technology and capital-intensive industries.19 In 2000, it was renamed JTC Corporation, and its headquarters relocated to JTC Summit after being housed in Jurong Town Hall since 1974.20 Jurong Town Hall was gazetted as a national monument in 2015.21
International Business Park, Singapore’s first business park, was built in 1992 in Jurong East.22 Managed by JTC, it is home to international and homegrown companies such as Acer Computer International Ltd, Ascendas Pte Ltd and Creative Technology Centre Pte Ltd.23
Malay: The name “Jurong” is derived from the Malay word jerong, which literally means “shark”. It is also a reference to an unscrupulous, greedy person.24
Grace Lee & Vernon Cornelius
1. People's Action Party (Singapore), Jurong Journeys (Singapore: Oracle Works, 1996), 30. (Call no. RSING 959.57 JUR-[HIS])
2. People's Action Party (Singapore), Jurong Journeys, 30, 32; Urban Redevelopment Authority (Singapore), Jurong East Planning Area: Planning Report 1995 (Singapore: Urban Redevelopment Authority, 1995), 16. (Call no. RSING 711.4095957 SIN)
3. People's Action Party (Singapore), Jurong Journeys, 32; Urban Redevelopment Authority (Singapore), Jurong East Planning Area, 16.
4. Urban Redevelopment Authority (Singapore), Jurong East Planning Area, 16.
5. People's Action Party (Singapore), Jurong Journeys, 30, 34; Urban Redevelopment Authority (Singapore), Jurong East Planning Area, 16.
6. “About,” Jurong GRC, accessed 20 November 2016.
7. “About Us,” Jurong-Clementi Town Council, accessed 20 November 2016.
8. People's Action Party (Singapore), Jurong Journeys, 32.
9. Jurong Town Council, Home Is Where Our Heart Is: Jurong Town Council 5-Year Master Plan (2006–2010) (Singapore: Jurong Town Council, 2006), 2, 14–17. (Call no. RSING 363.585095957 HOM)
10. Salma Khalik, “Quiet First Day at Ng Teng Fong Hospital,” Straits Times, 1 July 2015, 2 (From NewspaperSG); Lee Hsien Loong, “The Opening of Ng Teng Fong General Hospital and Jurong Community Hospital,” speech, 11 October 2015, Prime Minister’s Office Singapore.
11. Jurong Town Council, Home Is Where Our Heart Is, 18.
12. Urban Redevelopment Authority, “Blueprint for Jurong Unveiled, press release, 4 April 2008.
13. “Jurong Point Shopping Centre: Singapore Largest’s Suburban Lifestyle Paradise!” Jurong Pint, accessed 20 November 2016; “Over 80% of Jurong Point Space Taken Up,” Straits Times, 8 March 1995, 38; Tay Suan Chiang, “Malls Get Bigger,” Straits Times, 7 November 2009, 120. (From NewspaperSG)
14. “About Us,” Jurong Port Pte Ltd., accessed 20 November 2016.
15. Wong Chun Ning, “A Big Boost for Jurong Port,” Business Times, 3 April 1989, 52. (From NewspaperSG)
16. Beth Jinks, “Jurong Port Begins Stage 4 of Expansion,” Business Times, 27 February 2003, 21; “Jurong Cement Terminal ‘Ready By Third Quarter’,” Straits Times, 26 June 1996, 36; “JTC Opens $91M Cement Terminal,” Straits Times, 30 July 1997, 38. (From NewspaperSG)
17. Jurong Port Pte. Ltd, “About Us.”
18. “Awards,” Jurong Port Pte. Ltd., accessed 20 November 2016.
19. People's Action Party (Singapore), Jurong Journeys, 32, 164, 166; Yong Pow Hong, “Changing Emphasis of JTC: From Labour Intensive in the 60s to High Technology in the 80s,” Singapore Monitor, 13 September 1983, 6. (From NewspaperSG)
20. Vince Chong, “It’s Now JTC Corporation,” Business Times, 16 November 2000, 4; “Jurong Landmark among 14 Buildings to Be Conserved,” Straits Times, 27 September 2005, 4. (From NewspaperSG)
21. National Heritage Board, “National Heritage Board Gazettes Jurong Town Hall as Singapore’s 69th National Monument,” media release, 1 June 2015, 1–2.
22. “Some 16,500 Professionals, Technicians May Work at First International Business Park,” Straits Times, 19 February 1992, 32. (From NewspaperSG)
23. “Acer Building in Jurong for Sale,” Business Times, 31 October 2007, 13; “OUB Loan for Creative Tech Building,” Straits Times, 1 April 1996, 47; “International Business Park Boasts Country Club Facilities,” Straits Times, 5 October 1995, 54. (From NewspaperSG)
24. “Did You Know?” Straits Times, 31 July 2009, 125 (From NewspaperSG); S. Ramachandra, Singapore Landmarks, Past and Present (Singapore: Eastern Universities Press, 1961), 38. (Call no. RCLOS 959.57 RAM)
The information in this article is valid as of 2016 and correct as far as we are able to ascertain from our sources. It is not intended to be an exhaustive or complete history of the subject. Please contact the Library for further reading materials on the topic.
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