A brief history of Johor Bahru Furniture Association (JBFA)
From preparation to the formation
Johor Bahru Furniture Association (JBFA, formerly known as JBFIC, JBFMTA, JBFDA) was
registered on 22nd June 1978. However, the planning had started long before the formation in
1976. The government had implemented a 5% sales tax on the local manufacturers in 1976, this
burdened the furniture makers and other businesses in the nation. In order to make contribution
to the society as well as to protect the benefits and interests of the furniture makers in Johor
Bahru, the furniture makers in Johor Bahru organized a meeting on 27th March 1976 at Wah Luen
Furniture (M) Sdn Bhd to form Johor Bahru Furniture Dealers' Association Work Committee. The
main task of the committee was to liaise with the government for matters related to the
registration, along with developing charters and articles for the association. The first Chairman,
Encik Md Daud Bin Hj Husin (deceased), was kind enough to let out his office complimentary as
the temporary secretariat for the association, and his office's address was used as the registration
address with the government. Those who attended the meeting were regarded as the founders of
After three years of preparation, including six major meetings and supports from the local
furniture businesses, Johor Bahru Furniture Dealers' Association (JBFDA) was officially approved
on 22nd June 1978 by the government. 19th Oct 1978, the association rented a shop lot at 127A,
Jalan Keris Satu, Taman Sri Tebrau as the secretariat to promote the development and affiliation.
At that time, the association enlisted seventy six members.
3rd Feb 1980, Johor Bahru Furniture Dealers' Association Work Committee was dissolved.
On the same day, a general meeting was held to elect the first committee of Johor Bahru Furniture
Dealers' Association. 9th March 1980, the first committee sworn in and declared that day as the
establishment of Johor Bahru Furniture Dealers' Association.
The petition to join MFIC was declined
September 1980, Johor Bahru Furniture Dealers' Association's (JBFDA) application to join
Malaysia Furniture Industry Council (MFIC) was rejected. After an internal meeting, JBFDA
determined to find out the reason of rejection. 23rd November 1980, a dialogue between MFIC and
JBFDA was carried out in JBFDA's secretariat to further discuss this matter. The representative
from MFIC suggested JBFDA to join Federation of Johore Furniture Manufacturers and Traders
Association (JFA) instead in view of the fact that there was an issue with charter of MFIC. The
suggestion was accepted and hence JBFDA applied, and was successfully accepted as member of
the Federation. 20th January 1983, JBFDA sent 12 representatives to attend the Annual General
Meeting of the Federation in Kluang.
The concept of “Furniture Village”
The concept of establishing a “Furniture Village” was first raised in April 1984. A number
of lands were forcibly expropriated in Tampoi and Kempas in the 80's and 90's. This had affected
the furniture businesses and triggered the framework of “Furniture Village”. The initial proposal
was to construct the village at Tebrau industrial area in 1987. However, the concept was not able
to materialize due to the disagreement between the association and Johor State Economic
Development Corporation (JSEDC), the developer. In March 1992, the association identified a
130-acre agricultural land, freehold title, which was located at the 24thkm from Kulaijaya towards
A “Furniture Village” conference was held to discuss about acquiring the land. After
the meeting, the association decided to prioritize those members whose lands were expropriated
to have a joint fund-raising to acquire the land for the “Furniture Village”, while other registered
members of the association were in line to purchase. In the meantime, the buyers officially
registered two companies, namely JB Furniture Manufacturers & Traders Sdn Bhd and Jofur
Industrial Park Sdn Bhd, to handle the matter of land conversion, from agriculture to industrial.
Once the title changed, the concept of “Furniture Village” can be materialized. The establishment
of Jofur Industrial Park indicated “Furniture Village” as an independent entity, separated from the
31st July 1993, the association received a letter from Jofur Industrial Park Sdn Bhd. The
letter expressed gratitude to the association for impelling the formation of the “Furniture Village”,
and they hoped to receive the continued support from the association in the process of land
conversion. They promised, upon successful conversion of the land title to industrial land, acres
of land would be given to the association for the future development as an appreciation.
12th January 1996, a followed up letter was received on this matter, to notify the proposal of offering acres of land to the association was approved in the board meeting.
15th April 2010, the association sent a letter to Jofur Industrial Park to inquire about the
status of “Furniture Village” and title conversion. A reply on 5th May 2010 disclosed they had
stopped progressing due to economic recession together with shortage of manpower. The project
was called off in the recent board meeting, the piece of land would be put up for sale, and it was
agreed that they would recompense RM100,000 to the association in an exchange of the acres of
land as promised. A cheque amounted RM100,000 was enclosed with the letter. The concept of
“Furniture Village” formally came to an end.
Wood-Based Industry Act
Johor government enacted Wood-Based Industry Act in 1986. This newly enacted law had
a deep financial impact on furniture businesses. Investors lose confidence in the furniture
businesses and it was a barrier to economic growth and development. As requested by high
demand from the members, the association together with JFA and MFIC, developed and
submitted a Memorandum of Wood-Based Industry Act 1986 to the government. The association
also set up a group of four to communicate with the minister of forestry simultaneously. The
result of dialogue specified the law would not be abolished. The government would only
compromise with cost reduction or a simplified application procedure. Hence, no further
development on this matter.
Change of Name - Johor Bahru Furniture Association (JBFA)
Malaysia Furniture Industry Council (MFIC) unified the name of associations in the
country in 1987. In line with this, Johor Bahru Furniture Dealers' Association (JBFDA) officially
changed of name to PERSATUAN PENGILANG & PENIAGA PERABUT JOHOR BAHRU (English :
Johor Bahru Furniture Manufacturers & Traders Association – JBFMTA) on 12th August 1987. In
March 1997, the association had again changed its name to MAJLIS PERINDUSTRIAN PERABOT
JOHOR BAHRU (English : Johor Bahru Furniture Industry Council – JBFIC), and the association
carried the name till 2011, as aligned with the relocation of secretariat to Mount Austin, the
association was renamed PERSATUAN PERABUT JOHOR BAHRU (English : Johor Bahru Furniture
Association – JBFA), up until now.
The 13th day of every June of the lunar calendar is said to be Master Lu Ban's birthday. The
association has been celebrating Lu Ban's birthday since 1981. In conjunction with the
celebration, the association launched a scholarship program since 1982, to award children of
members who have outstanding academic result or achievement in school. The celebration is a
major event of the association, members get this occasion to engage with each other annually
from their busy schedule on top of paying tribute to Master Lu Ban.
Acquire building as secretariat of the association
April 1983, the association was selected as the secretariat of Federation of Johore
Furniture Manufacturers and Traders Association (JFA), more activities and events were entailed,
hence, the rented shop lot at Taman Sri Tebrau was inadequate to handle the increasing
businesses. A month later in May, the association moved to Taman Sentosa (151A, Jalan Sutera,
Taman Sentosa) temporarily, while searching for a permanent solution. 17th March 1989, a
searching team was formed to solve this issue. After numerous discussions and analyses, the
association decided to go for a 3-storey shophouse in Taman Pelangi (73B Jalan Kuning, Taman
Pelangi). A fund-raising team was deployed right away as shortage of funds. The team
encountered countless challenges and obstructions, nevertheless, they were solved hand in hand
with the committees. Lastly, a renovation team was set up for restoration and upgrading work,
and the association relocated to Taman Pelangi in June 1991.
The 15th anniversary together with the opening ceremony
The association would turn 15-year-old in 1993. The association decided to hold an
anniversary celebration in conjunction with the opening of the new secretariat, for a double
celebration. 30th Sept 1992, a special committee was formed to organize the grand celebration.
They published a special anniversary issue for the significant event.
Associated with Federation of Johore Furniture Manufacturers and Traders Association
Johor Bahru Furniture Association (JBFA) is a permanent member of Federation of Johore
Furniture Manufacturers and Traders Association (JFA), and was once selected as JFA's secretariat
in the 80's. Former chairmen of JBFA were elected for various key roles in JFA. The two
associations share and exchange information regularly, maintain a close relationship, united to
protect the furniture industry and its business in the state.
Moving to the north-east region
25th March 2005, the 13th committee made a decision to scout around for a new building.
The two main factors of moving were :
1) A bigger space is needed to accommodate the increasing members;
2) Changed of demographic. Most of the members moved to north-east region of JB, Taman
Pelangi was no longer an ideal location for the association. The association should be
situated at the populous zone.
Thus, a scouting team was formed to search for a best possible spot for the association.
29th September 2005, an extraordinary general meeting was held, members agreed to sell
the Taman Pelangi premises for a new building.
2nd January 2006 , the association successfully acquired two units of 3-storey shophouse in
Taman Mount Austin (No.65 & 67, Jalan Mutiara Emas 10/19), amounted RM1,140,000. The
premises at Taman Pelangi was sold at RM950,000, and the 13th committee generously
contributed RM100,000, still, a shortage of RM90,000. Besides, after added the cost for
renovation and the necessary equipments, the total deficit was RM500,000.
27th July 2007, the association organized a fund-raising banquet on Master Lu Ban's
birthday, raised RM199,000. The gap of paying off the new premises was reduced to less than
RM400,000. Finally, the furniture makers and members of the association donated RM660,000.
The total donation collected had much exceeded the target set.
Li Jing Tower (Chinese : 力劲楼) : Currently, JBFA owns three units of 3-storey shophouse
(No.63, 65 & 67, Jalan Mutiara Emas 10/19). The previous owner of No.63 was Mr Chen Jian Li
( 陈健利), the Permanent Honorary President of JBFA. He agreed to sell the property at
RM700,000 to the association back in 2008, which was the property's value at that time. However,
when the association finally received the certificate of occupancy in 2011, the property value had
increased 48% to RM980,000. Nevertheless, Mr Chen Jian Li maintained the selling price as
RM700,000 despite the differences. As a great appreciation and gratefulness to Mr Chen Jian Li's
kindness on top of his generosity, No.63 is named Li Jing Tower.
A grand opening ceremony was held on 23rd July 2011, a special 33rd anniversary issue was
published for the remarkable event to mark a milestone.
Johor Furniture Fair
Since 2007, the association has been organizing “Johor Furniture Fair” annually. This
provides a great business opportunity for the members. The aim of organizing the fair is to
protect members' welfare and benefit, strengthen the relationship and promote communication
among members. Johor Furniture Fair is a great platform for furniture businesses to display and
sell their products and brands. It provides a one-stop solution for consumers to engage with all
the necessary people and items for renovation and upgrading work. The fair provides convenient
and efficient service for consumers.
The association has been enhancing the image of Johor Furniture Fair to further improve
the quality. The fair is now one of the most anticipated events by consumers in Johor. It is a
success to hold an exhibition steadily and a triumph with consecutive 16 successes! It is certainly
an excellent achievement to be proud of. This is a collective result from the association's
committees and members.
Moving forward in 21st century
It has been 37 years since the formation of the association. The registered members have
been increasing from 76 to 177 to date. The association has relocated for several times from a
rented site to now, having own permanent premises, and engaging more and more exciting
activities along the way. The association acknowledges the hard work from the past presidents,
namely, Encik Daud Bin HJ Husin, Chong Bam, Chang Chien Seng, Sham Wai Yin, Soon Chong
Boon, Nam Fun Lai, Tan Kian Lee, Sham Ju Meng and Goh Lai Chai. The new chapter of the
association has started with the completion of the new permanent secretariat in 2011. The
association is moving towards modernization and enterprise management with youthful leaders
and diversified strategies. The association is moving towards the digital-age in the21st century.