Kluang (simplified Chinese: 居銮; traditional Chinese: 居鑾) is a town and district located near the middle of the state of Johor in the southern portion of peninsular Malaysia. Kluang lies about 110 km north of Johor Bahru, east-southeast of Batu Pahat, west of Mersing and south of Segamat. The population of Kluang district exceeds 250,000 residents and the town itself has over 145,000 residents.
The name Kluang derives from the Malay word 'keluang' which means a type of flying fox or rather a type of fruit bat, 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. Kluang is divided into two district councils namely Simpang Renggam District Council (Malay: Majlis Daerah Simpang Renggam) based at the town of Simpang Renggam and Kluang Municipal Council (Malay: Majlis Perbandaran Kluang) based at the town of Kluang which is also the district capital.
During World War II, the town of Kluang was occupied by Japanese forces advancing southwards as it was abandoned by Allied forces withdrawing towards Singapore. General Yamashitamoved his headquarters forward from Kuala Lumpur to Kluang on 27 January 1942 as he advanced southwards. The Japanese later used the airfield in Kluang to launch air attacks on targets ranging from Singapore to Sumatra.
In the mid-fifties the airfield was used for helicopters searching for terrorists who were encamped in the Bukit Lambak area and as an artillery base It was also the base for Kluang Flying Club which used old Tiger Moth biplanes. Terrorism was largely driven out of the area in the six months leading up to Merdeka in 1957. The whole area around the airfield was a substantial army garrison with many different units and a large hospital.
Since 1915 when Kluang was founded, the area initially grew as a rubber planting district. There are vast areas planted with rubber in the early days under the Guthrie Ropel Group, Asiatic Plantations, Harrison Crossfield and various other rubber companies. An innovation was the process of vacuum evaporation of rubber latex by the Revertex company. Planters established the Kluang Club which is still thriving as the Kluang Country Club. Notable estates, i.e. rubber plantations, surrounding Kluang were Lambak Estate, Mengkibol Estate, Kluang Estate, Wessington Estate (now renamed as Simpang Renggam Estate), Benut Estate, Paloh Estate, sepuloh Estate, Chamek Estate, Niyor Estate, Kahang Estate, Pamol Estate and Kekayaan Estate.
Among the early Indian settlers who "migrated" here during the British era (they are consider as non-legitimate property owner at that time) were those who built some temples (although contrary against the British binding precedent) and the notable toddy shops in the surrounding areas of Kluang. You may find "ONE" from a million interesting stories on the website containing the biography of Ravindran Raghavan), a native Kluang boy who grew in a rubber estate.
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 cocoa and tea plantations. New kinds of plantation such as dragon fruit and organic vegetables are also added into it well established farming industry.