• 1960s - 1970s
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  • 1990s
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1960s - 1970s

1960s - 1970s

And There Was Jurong

Jurong will always stand for Singapore's industrialisation growth and success. What began as an impossible challenge for the young nation became an unprecedented triumph.

In the 1960s, Singapore faced a bleak future. Without natural resources, the young nation was saddled with crippling unemployment that led to widespread labour unrest. People were out of work, out of hope, and out of patience.

In stepped a United Nations team led by Dr Albert Winsemius. They proposed a daring industrialisation programme: massive land and infrastructure development, at breakneck speed, to attract foreign investments. These new investments would bring in new industries to create thousands of much-needed jobs for the fast-growing population.

Such a bold move called for strong leadership. Dr Goh Keng Swee, then Finance Minister, had nerves of steel and an astute mind. He surged ahead, choosing the rural western region as the focal site to build the future Jurong Industrial Estate. Even Dr Goh himself realised such a risk. He admitted years later that had the Jurong project failed, it would have gone down in history as 'Goh's folly'. But that didn't happen!

In 1961, development began under the Economic Development Board (EDB) to reclaim the swamps of Jurong. But as Singapore ramped up its industrialisation, it became clear that management of such estates would become more challenging and complex. In 1968, JTC emerged from EDB as the specialist agency tasked to spearhead the planning and development of industrial infrastructure for Singapore's economic development. Today, 50 years later, JTC continues to serve this pivotal role.

But it all began with Jurong!

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