Batu Pahat district lies south-east of Muar, south-west of Kluang, north-west of Pontian, and south of Segamat and the new Ledang district.The capital of the district is Batu Pahat (Town) (also known as Bandar Penggaram)
Batu Pahat is located at . It is 239 km from Kuala Lumpur. Next nearest town is Muar
which is 50 km northwest of Batu Pahat. The town of Kluang
is located about 52 km to the northeast.
is located about 70 to 100 km to the south east of the town.
The district itself borders the district of Segamat and Ledang to the north, Kluang to the east, Muar to the west and shares a border in the southeast with the district of Pontian. The coast of the Straits of Melaka lies to the south.
The name Batu Pahat means 'chiseled rock' in Malay. The origin of this name can be traced back to a legend in the 15th century; when the invading Siamese troops were chiselling rocks at a rocky spot in the coastal village of Kampung Minyak Beku
, in hope to get fresh water during their retreat. They were being chased by the Melaka troops, being led by Tun Perak, the famous Bendahara (Prime Minister) of the Malacca Empire. In fact, in around 1456, the Siamese army was led by Admiral Awi Di Chu camped in Batu Pahat before attacking Malacca . Another story goes like this - after capturing Melaka, the Portuguese built a fortress - "A Famosa" of granite rocks taken from the mouth of Sungai Batu Pahat. The town acquired its name, which means "Chiselled Stone" from the quarries near the estuary. Renowned for its salted fish in the past, Batu Pahat was formerly known as Bandar Penggaram, which means town of salt-makers. In 1893, the present township was founded by Dato' Bentara Luar
, Mohamed Salleh bin Perang, acting on the orders of the Sultan of Johor, Sultan Abu Bakar .
Today, the ancient well can still be found in Minyak Beku, though little was done to maintain this ancient landmark which gives name to the town. For the town's centennial celebration in the early 90's, a quaint monument depicting a 'floating hand chiselling a rock' was set up in the town square. It became the landmark of the town instantaneously. Currently, the newly refurbished town square is popular with locals to chill out on weekend nights and also provides as a venue for many public festive celebrations.
Batu Pahat is growing rapidly and has now developed to become the second major town in Johor state after Johor Bahru.
Subdivisions and administration
The district (daerah
) is further divided into mukim-mukim
(pl.) or subdistricts. The subdistricts are designated with a number (Mukim 1 until 12,17 and 18):
- Lubok (Mukim I)
- Bagan (Mukim II)
- Peserai (Mukim III)
- Simpang Kiri (Mukim IV)
- Simpang Kanan (Mukim V)
- Linau (Mukim VI)
- Tanjung Semberong (Mukim VII)
- Sri Gading (Mukim VIII)
- Minyak Beku (Mukim IX)
- Kampung Bahru (Mukim X)
- Sungai Punggor (Mukim XI)
- Sungai Kluang (Mukim XII)
- Chaah Bahru (Mukim XVII)
- Sri Medan (Mukim XVIII)
Batu Pahat is administered by Majlis Perbandaran Batu Pahat or Batu Pahat Municipal Council which was upgraded from the previous District Council (Majlis Daerah Batu Pahat Barat)on 9 June 2001.
Batu Pahat district has 525 gazetted villages (kampung-kampung pl.) and village-clusters (kampung rangkaian) where smaller villages were annexed to their bigger immediate neighbours for the purpose of administration. The villages are represented by Ketua-Ketua Kampung (village heads), answering to the Penghulu (subdistrict chief) administering the mukim. The mukim itself however is under the jurisdiction of the District Officer or Pegawai Daerah. The district office of Batu Pahat also have five district engineers (Jurutera Daerah) to oversee all the subdistricts.
Growth in small and medium industries such as textiles, garments and electronics helped to boost development, and Batu Pahat was upgraded to town status (Majlis Perbandaran) in 2001, alongside Muar, Kluang and Skudai. As of 2008, the government does not have any plans to upgrade Batu Pahat to a city status (Majlis Bandaraya).
The town of Batu Pahat has a population of more than 200,000 local residents. There are about 59,587 households with 468,058 population in this district. The most populated mukim is Simpang Kanan with more than 180,000 people and the least populated is Bagan with a population of only 4,692.
Overall district-wide population distribution based on gender are almost equal with a male population of 169,087 and female population of 166,281.
Batu Pahat has Johor's second largest manufacturing industry; encompassing textiles, electronics, food-processing, timber, porcelain and plastic industry. It produces 50% of the textile exported from Malaysia and there are about 300 garment and textile factories. There are several industrial zones including Tongkang Pecah, Parit Raja and Sri Gading. Private industrial zones include Sri Sulong, Lian Aik and Buditama, ranging from 20 acres to 200 acres. Foreign investments include Sharp Roxy, Sony, Fujitsu , Hitachi and Mitsumi. There over 20 public listed companies, including: Harta Packaging, PCCS, Baneng Holdings, S&P, Sharp Roxy, Ramatex, Southex, Prolexus, Fujitsu, Hitachi , Yong Tai, Hwa Tai, AE, Kia Lim, Kayu Wangi, Hup Seng, Xiang Leng, Magnum, SKP, SPI Plastics, BP Plastics, Cheng Yap Sdn. Bhd.and Fast Track Solutions Bhd.
Agriculture is another important source of income for the locals. Batu Pahat has some of the largest rubber, oil palm, coconut and cocoa plantations in Johor. Fruit produce such as water-melons, papayas, bananas, pineapples and durians and 20 varieties of vegetables are being exported. Besides, there are several fishing villages near the Straits of Malacca, providing rich sources of fisheries. Ornamental fishes such as the Arowana are some of the major export from some companies such as Xiang Leng.