Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Kluang is a town and district located roughly in the middle of the state of Johor in Malaysia. Kluang lies north of Johor Bahru, east-southeast of Batu Pahat, west of Mersing and south of Segamat. The population of Kluang district now exceeds 250,000 residents and the town itself has over 140,000 residents.
It is said that the small coffee shops in Kluang, including, in particular, the coffee shop in the railway station, serve some of the best local coffee in Malaysia. Gunung Belumut and Gunung Lambak are popular with jungle trekkers. The area of Machap (on the road between Simpang Rengam and Air Hitam ) is well known for its pottery and porcelain.
Kluang lies in an area of undulating hills.
The highest point in Kluang is Gunung Lambak , a 510m tall mountain and one of the southernmost mountains in the Malaysian main range which lies not far from the town.
The Mengkibol river runs through the town. Kluang is landlocked and has no seafront.
Kluang is served by a railway and roads linking it to all neighbouring districts. It has a railway station as well as a bus interchange. The closest on-ramp to the North-South Highway is at Air Hitam although travellers approaching Kluang from the south may find exiting at Simpang Rengam more convenient. There is an airfield in Kluang but it is a military airfield, not a civilian one.
Urban sprawl in Kluang over the last three decades or so from the 1970s to 2000 has been roughly along the major roads. The town center itself has more than tripled in size in terms of the number and land area occupied by commercial and retail buildings in that time.
Kluang initially grew as a rubber planting district. Rubber planting has, however, since then taken a back seat to other types of crops. Kluang now boasts large tracts of oil palm plantations as well as pineapple and tea plantations.
Industry and commerce
From its early days as an entirely agricultural economy, Kluang has developed various industries including paper, textiles, ceramics and electrical products. Most of Malaysia's major banks have branches in Kluang. In the last few years, several stock brokerages have opened shop in Kluang.
Kluang is served by a district hospital, a district police station and fire station. It has numerous primary schools, several secondary schools and a public library.
The name Kluang derives from the Malay word 'keluang' which means a type of flying fox or rather a type of fruit bat. These used to be plentiful in the district decades ago. They have almost completely disappeared due to the combination of hunting and destruction of their natural habitat (deforestation).
Kluang was founded in 1915 as the administrative capital for central Johor. The main railway line linking north to south Malaya was built passing through Kluang and this helped in its growth. Roads were built to link Kluang to Johor Bahru towards the south, to Batu Pahat towards the north-west and to Mersing towards the east.
During World War II, the town of Kluang was captured relatively uncontested by Japanese forces advancing southwards as it was abandoned by Allied forces retreating towards Singapore. General Yamashita moved his headquartes forward from Kuala Lumpur to Kluang on the 27th of January, 1942 as he advanced southwards.  The Japanese later used the airbase in Kluang to launch air attacks on targets ranging from Singapore to Sumatra.
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