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The British and other Allied forces were forced to retreat towards Johor Bahru; however, following a further series of bombings by the Japanese on 29 January, the British retreated to Singapore and blew up the causeway the following day as a final attempt to stop the Japanese advance in British Malaya.
The Japanese then used the Sultan's residence of Bukit Serene Palace located in the town as their main temporary base for their future initial plans to conquer Singapore while waiting to reconnect the causeway.
Johor Bahru was occupied by the Japanese forces from 1942 to 1945.
Johor Bahru became the cradle of Malay nationalism after the war and gave birth to a political party named United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) in 1946.
In the first phase of Abu Bakar's administration, the British only recognised him as a maharaja rather than a sultan.
In 1855, the British Colonial Office began to recognise his status as a Sultan after he met Queen Victoria.
Johor Bahru continued as the state capital and more development was carried out, with the town's expansion and the construction of more new townships and industrial estates.
For the administrative district, see Johor Bahru District.
For the former British cargo ship, see SS Johore Bahru.
Johor Bahru developed at a modest rate between the First and Second World Wars.
The secretariat building—Sultan Ibrahim Building—was completed in 1940 as the British colonial government attempted to streamline the state's administration.