Facing the Straits of Tebrau, this part of downtown Johor Bahru (or lovingly known as JB) this side of the Causeway, has barely changed since I was just a mere boy in the 1960s.

Sixty years later, the mainstays have remained the same, despite a facelift here and there (check out the main bus stand!) designed to spruce the area up as well as for the convenience of JB folks.

Images by Shah Said ; @ all rights reserved ; 2021

The only addition that can be seen is the ‘Kilometre 0’ of Johor Bahru, which is located adjacent to the much improved bus stand and in front of the General Post Office, as well as the Johor Coat of Arms fountain (in front of the High Court). The ‘Kilometre 0’ is where the three major backbone routes in Malaysia (Federal Routes 1,3 and 5) meet and are measured from.

At one corner of this little but historical part of downtown JB, as it was then, is the JB main branch of HSBC. The main entrance to the bank is via Jalan Bukit Timbalan, with the road leading to where the Bangunan Sultan Ibrahim, as well as to the local branch of Bank Negara Malaysia, the country’s central bank, are located.

Images by Shah Said ; @ all rights reserved ; 2021

Adjacent to HSBC is JB’s General Post Office and as many of my generation can testify, it has been there for as long as we can remember. It was THE location to conduct matters pertaining to mail and philately until post offices began springing up all over JB to the convenience of JB folks.

Next to the post office are the offices of the JB City Council (I have been reliably told that these offices have now been redesignated as collection centres for local taxes and rates) and a few meters away, the High Court of Johor Bahru. To this day, I still wonder whether the sight of lawyers dressed in their black suits or dresses coming out of the High Court is a good sight or otherwise.

Images by Shah Said ; @ all rights reserved ; 2021

Across the road, at the other end of that part of downtown JB, lies the main entrance to the Istana Besar (or Grand Palace), with its imposing arch entrance. The Istana Besar was the official residence of Sultan Ibrahim ibni Almarhum Sultan Abu Bakar and is still in use today especially for special as well as official state functions.

However, if one was to travel further up the coastal road towards Tampoi and Skudai the other landmarks of Johor Bahru namely the Sultan Abu Bakar State mosque, the red-bricked Sultanah Aminah Hospital and the Istana Bukit Serene (the official residence of the Sultan of Johor) can be found.

Images by Shah Said ; @ all rights reserved ; 2021

If one ventures into the city centre, the most imposing view will be that of the Sultan Iskandar CIQ complex leading to that other imposing landmark of JB, the Causeway.

The Causeway links the Peninsular Malaysia to what was once a part of the state of Johor, the island of Singapore. But due to the political climate of the mid 60s after the formation of the Federation of Malaysia, a resolution was tabled in the Malaysian parliament and the rest is, as they say, history.