• Low Hui Ching Department of Architecture, Faculty of Built Environment, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, 81310 UTM Johor Bahru, Johor, Malaysia
  • Raja Nafida Raja Shahminan Center for the Study of Built Environment in the Malay World (KALAM), Faculty of Built Environment, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, 81310 UTM Johor Bahru, Johor, Malaysia
  • Gurupiah Mursib Institut Sultan Iskandar, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, Jalan Sultan Yahya Petra, 54100 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia



Kangkar, Chinese settlement, Johor, Kangchu


In the 19th century, Chinese immigrants were drawn to Johor via the entirely unique Kangchu system that was only adapted in the state, later contributed significantly to its economic progress. The Chinese came for pepper and gambier plantation and settled at riverside which formed the frontier Chinese settlement called “Kangkar”. It is also believed that kangkar is the earliest established Chinese settlement in Johor, then many of them substituted by New Village in 1950s, and today’s modern housing in the 20th century. Irony the kangkar settlements are declining while some already abandoned. Furthermore, study of Chinese settled at Johor in kangkar settlement is still lacking, which severely constrain the preservation of such historical settlement. To help fill this gap, this paper aims to delineate the kangkar settlement which represents strong historical significance to Chinese architectural paradigm in Johor. It is crucial to start paying attention on this Chinese heritage to avoid irreversible loss of humanity’s heritage as well as diversity. As the formation of kangkar settlement was mainly ranged from 1844 to 1917, historical data was collected through content analysis of archival documents, literature reviews, and interviews of scholars. The special terms used were revealed such as Kangchu, kangkar, and “surat sungai”. Kangkar as a unique Chinese living settlement which existed due to Kangchu system, plays important and positive roles in Johor development in terms of economy, co-existence, and identity. It is hence crucial to preserve the kangkar settlements by providing insight of guideline to sustain and avoid further decline.


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How to Cite

Hui Ching, L., Raja Shahminan, R. N., & Mursib, G. (2019). THE FORMATION OF KANGKAR AS THE FRONTIER CHINESE SETTLEMENT IN JOHOR, MALAYSIA. International Journal of Built Environment and Sustainability, 6(1-2), 47–53.