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 Economic Development Board. 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 Jurong Town Corporation (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. Jurong journeys. (1996). Singapore: Oracle Works, p. 30. (Call no.: RSING 959.57 JUR-[HIS])
2. Jurong journeys. (1996). Singapore: Oracle Works, pp. 30, 32. (Call no.: RSING 959.57 JUR-[HIS]); Urban Redevelopment Authority. (1995). Jurong East planning area: Planning report 1995. Singapore: Urban Redevelopment Authority, p. 16. (Call no.: RSING 711.4095957 SIN)
3. Jurong journeys. (1996). Singapore: Oracle Works, p. 32. (Call no.: RSING 959.57 JUR-[HIS]); Urban Redevelopment Authority. (1995). Jurong East planning area: Planning report 1995. Singapore: Urban Redevelopment Authority, p. 16. (Call no.: RSING 711.4095957 SIN)
4. Urban Redevelopment Authority. (1995). Jurong East planning area: Planning report 1995. Singapore: Urban Redevelopment Authority, p. 16. (Call no.: RSING 711.4095957 SIN)
5. Jurong journeys. (1996). Singapore: Oracle Works, pp. 30, 34. (Call no.: RSING 959.57 JUR-[HIS]); Urban Redevelopment Authority. (1995). Jurong East planning area: Planning report 1995. Singapore: Urban Redevelopment Authority, p. 16. (Call no.: RSING 711.4095957 SIN)
6. Jurong GRC. (n.d.). Retrieved 2016, November 20 from Jurong GRC website: www.juronggrc.sg/about
7. Jurong-Clementi Town Council. (n.d.). About us. Retrieved 2016, November 20 from Jurong-Clementi Town Council website: http://www.jrtc.org.sg/about.aspx
8. Jurong journeys. (1996). Singapore: Oracle Works, p. 32. (Call no.: RSING 959.57 JUR-[HIS])
9. Jurong Town Council. (2006). Home is where our heart is: Jurong Town Council 5-year master plan (2006–2010). Singapore: Author, pp. 2, 14–17. (Call no.: RSING 363.585095957 HOM)
10. Salma Khalik. (2015, July 1). Quiet first day at Ng Teng Fong Hospital. The Straits Times. Retrieved from Factiva via NLB’s eResources website: http://eresources.nlb.gov.sg/; Prime Minister’s Office Singapore. (2015). Speech by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at the opening of Ng Teng Fong General Hospital and Jurong Community Hospital. Retrieved 2016, November 20 from Prime Minister’s Office website: http://www.pmo.gov.sg/mediacentre/speech-prime-minister-lee-hsien-loong-opening-ng-teng-fong-general-hospital-jurong
11. Jurong Town Council. (2006). Home is where our heart is: Jurong Town Council 5-year master plan (2006–2010). Singapore: Author, p. 18. (Call no.: RSING 363.585095957 HOM)
12. Urban Redevelopment Authority. (2008, April 4). Blueprint for Jurong unveiled [Press release]. Retrieved 2016, November 20 from Urban Redevelopment Authority website: https://www.ura.gov.sg/uol/media-room/news/2008/apr/Copy%20of%20pr08-38.aspx
13. Jurong Point. (2014). Jurong Point Shopping Centre: Singapore’s largest suburban lifestyle paradise!. Retrieved 2016, November 20 from Jurong Point website: http://www.jurongpoint.com.sg/corporate; Over 80% of Jurong Point space taken up. (1995, March 8). The Straits Times, p. 38; Tay, S. C. (2009, November 7). Malls get bigger. The Straits Times, p. 120. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
14. Jurong Port Pte. Ltd. (n.d.). About us. Retrieved 2016, November 20 from Jurong Port website: http://www.jp.com.sg/about-us/introduction/
15. Wong, C. N. (1989, April 3). A big boost for Jurong Port. The Business Times, p. 52. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
16. Jinks, B. (2003, February 27). Jurong Port begins stage 4 of expansion. The Business Times, p. 21; Jurong cement terminal ‘ready by third quarter’. (1996, June 26). The Straits Times, p. 36; JTC opens $91m cement terminal. (1997, July 30). The Straits Times, p. 38. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
17. Jurong Port Pte. Ltd. (n.d.). About us. Retrieved 2016, November 20 from Jurong Port website: http://www.jp.com.sg/about-us/introduction/
18. Jurong Port Pte. Ltd. (n.d.). Awards. Retrieved 2016, November 20 from Jurong Port website: http://www.jp.com.sg/about-us/awards/
19. Jurong journeys. (1996). Singapore: Published by Oracle Works for PAP Jurong Branch, pp. 32, 164, 166. (Call no.: RSING 959.57 JUR-[HIS]); Yong, P. A. (1983, September 13). Changing emphasis of JTC: From labour intensive in the 60s to high technology in the 80s. Singapore Monitor, p. 6. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
20. Chong, V. (2000, November 16). It’s now JTC Corporation. The Business Times, p. 4; Jurong landmark among 14 buildings to be conserved. (2005, September 27). The Straits Times, p. 4. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
21. National Heritage Board. (2015, June 1). National Heritage Board gazettes Jurong Town Hall as Singapore’s 69th national monument [Press release], pp. 1–2. Retrieved 2016, March 30, from National Heritage Board website: http://www.nhb.gov.sg/~/media/nhb/files/media/releases/new%20releases/2015-2.pdf
22. Some 16,500 professionals, technicians may work at first International Business Park. (1992, February 19). The Straits Times, p. 32. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
23. Acer Building in Jurong for sale. (2007, October 31). The Business Times, p. 13; OUB loan for Creative Tech building. (1996, April 1). The Straits Times, p. 47; International Business Park boasts country club facilities. (1995, October 5). The Straits Times, p. 54. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
24. Did you know? (2009, July 31). The Straits Times, p. 125. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; Ramachandra, S. (1961). Singapore landmarks, past and present. Singapore: Eastern Universities Press, p. 38. (Call no.: RCLOS 959.57 RAM)
The information in this article is valid as at 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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