Declared a city only in 1994, Johor Bahru is a rapidly growing city. Latest census figures indicates that it is Malaysia's second largest city proper and second largest metropolitan area, with a population of 1.4 million and 1.8 million respectively. Given its relatively large land space, the town is not as dense as other cities around Malaysia.
Due to its proximity to Singapore, it unavoidably suffers from comparison with its neighbour. Recent clean-up initiatives like greening the city and covering the open sewers that until a few years ago ran through the center of the city have made it a more pleasant place to live. Though appreciably less organised and much more messy compared to the glitz of Singapore, shopping and eating in the city can be a real adventure, with many shopping complexes and a wide variety of food establishments offering budget to fine dining.
Johor Bahru is probably more well known as an industrial city rather than a tourist-friendly town. Many of the world's top electronics manufacturers have at least one plant in Johor Bahru, and after the tough times after the 1997 economic crisis the town is stirring to life again.
A new immigration and customs checkpoint - the Sultan Iskandar Customs, Immigration and Quarantine Complex
- was opened in Dec 2008. An almost straight, 600-metre long flyover now links this gigantic complex with the Causeway.