Singapore Infopedia


Tuas is an area located in the southwestern region of Singapore.1 Landmarks in the district include the Tuas Industrial Estate, Second Link and Tuas Naval Base. The construction of the megaport known as Tuas Terminal is currently underway and expected to be completed in the 2020s.

The name “Tuas” was derived from a daytime fishing method used by Malay fishermen in the past. The fishermen left coconut fronds and leafy branches afloat in the sea, with the rising tide helping to keep them close together. A large net was then spread and suspended below the coconut fronds and leafy branches. The shade created attracted fish and the fishermen then hauled up the net in their boats. The Malay word menuas, referring to the action of hauling up, evolved into tuas, which translates to “chop in two pieces”, “to raise by leverage” or “to support”.2

Tuas used to be a swampland, which was later cleared for squatter settlement. The area used to be a popular fishing village and it was common to see about 200 fishing boats in Tuas every morning. With six subzones, Tuas is bounded by Tengeh Reservoir to the north; Selat Johor to the west; the Strait of Singapore to the south; and the Pan Island Expressway, Tuas Road, Southern Tuas Basin and Tuas Bay to the east.3

In the 1970s, to pave the way for development, the residents of Tuas were resettled in public housing estates. The place was then developed for industrial use. Tuas underwent a series of land reclamation works during the 1980s and, by 1988, Tuas had expanded by approximately 650 ha. The reclaimed land was used for further industrial development.4

In addition to the sprawling Tuas Industrial Estate,5 Tuas is also home to port facilities.6 Famous landmarks include the Republic of Singapore Navy’s 28-hectare Tuas Naval Base;7 a golf course that is part of the Raffles Country Club along Jalan Ahmad Ibrahim;8 and the Second Link, a bridge that connects Singapore and Malaysia.9

With plans to move all port activities to Tuas South from 2027, currently the major development in Tuas is the construction of Tuas Terminal. This megaport will be developed in four phases over 30 years. Work for Phase 1 began in April 2016 and is scheduled to complete by early the 2020s. When completed, Tuas Terminal can handle 65 million TEUs (20-foot equivalent units) of cargo annually, almost twice as much as the volume Singapore handled in 2014.10


Vernon Cornelius

1. Victor R. Savage and Brenda S. A. Yeoh, Singapore Street Names: A Study of Toponymics (Singapore: Marshall Cavendish Editions, 2013), 389. (Call no. RSING 915.9570014 SAV-[TRA])
2. S. Ramachandra, Singapore Landmarks, Past and Present (Singapore: Eastern Universities Press, 1961), 38 (Call no. RCLOS 959.57 RAM); Savage and Yeoh, Singapore Street Names, 389.
3. Urban Redevelopment Authority (Singapore), Tuas Planning Area: Planning Report 1996 (Singapore: Urban Redevelopment Authority, 1996), 4. (Call no. RSING 711.4095957 SIN)
4. Urban Redevelopment Authority (Singapore), Tuas Planning Area, 8.
5. “Tuas Sheds Sleepy Village Image as More Factories Start Up,” Straits Times, 15 February 1988, 12. (From NewspaperSG)
6. Nicholas Fang, “Radical Moves to Retain, Grow Port Business,” Straits Times, 29 June 2002, 1. (From NewspaperSG)
7. “Tuas Naval Base,” Ministry of Defence, Singapore, accessed 5 June 2016.
8. “General Information,” Raffles Country Club, accessed 5 June 2016.
9. “Our Checkpoints,” Immigration and Checkpoints Authority, 5 June 2016; Urban Redevelopment Authority (Singapore), Tuas Planning Area, 24.
10. Wong Siew Ying, “Commercial-Residential Areas Possible at Future Tuas Mega Port,” Straits Times, 23 October 2015, 2; Samantha Boh, “First Part of Future Mega Port in Tuas Launched,” Straits Times, 30 April 2016, 12–13. (From NewspaperSG)

Further resources
Fate of Tuas Fishing Hangs By a Line,” Business Times, 3 January 1978, 1. (From NewspaperSG)

K. K. Fong, “Pirates Strike at Tuas Village,” Singapore Monitor, 16 August 1984, 3. (From NewspaperSG)

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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