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
1. Savage, V., & Yeoh, B. S. A. (2013). Singapore street names: A study of toponymics. Singapore: Marshall Cavendish Editions, p. 389. (Call no.: RSING 915.9570014 SAV-[TRA])
2. Ramachandra, S. (1961). Singapore landmarks, past and present. Singapore: Eastern Universities Press, p. 38. (Call no.: RCLOS 959.57 RAM); Savage, V., & Yeoh, B. S. A. (2013). Singapore street names: A study of toponymics. Singapore: Marshall Cavendish Editions, p. 389. (Call no.: RSING 915.9570014 SAV-[TRA])
3. Urban Redevelopment Authority. (1996). Tuas planning area: Planning report 1996. Singapore: Urban Redevelopment Authority, p. 4. (Call no.: RSING 711.4095957 SIN)
4. Urban Redevelopment Authority. (1996). Tuas planning area: Planning report 1996. Singapore: Urban Redevelopment Authority, p. 8. (Call no.: RSING 711.4095957 SIN)
5. Tuas sheds sleepy village image as more factories start up. (1988, February 15). The Straits Times, p. 12. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
6. Fang, N. (2002, June 29). Radical moves to retain, grow port business. The Straits Times, p. 1. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
7. Ministry of Defence. (2011, June 14). Our bases. Singapore: Ministry of Defence. Retrieved 2016, June 5 from Ministry of Defence website: http://www.mindef.gov.sg/imindef/mindef_websites/atozlistings/navy/assets/bases.html
8. Raffles Country Club. (n.d.). Golf: General information. Retrieved 2016, June 5 from Raffles Country Club website: http://www.rcc.org.sg/golf/general-information.html
9. Immigration and Checkpoints Authority. (2016). Our checkpoints. Retrieved 2016, June 5 from Immigration and Checkpoints Authority website: https://www.ica.gov.sg/page.aspx?pageid=194#tuascheckpoint; Urban Redevelopment Authority. (1996). Tuas planning area: Planning report 1996. Singapore: Urban Redevelopment Authority, p. 24. (Call no.: RSING 711.4095957 SIN)
10. Wong, S. Y. (2015, October 23). Commercial-residential areas possible at future Tuas mega port. The Straits Times; Boh, S. (2016, April 30). First part of future mega port in Tuas launched. The Straits Times. Retrieved from Factiva via NLB’s eResources website: http://eresources.nlb.gov.sg/
Fate of Tuas fishing hangs by a line. (1978, January 3). The Business Times, p. 1. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
Fong, K. K. (1984, August 16). Pirates strike at Tuas village. Singapore Monitor, p. 3. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
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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