Batu Pahat, formerly known as Bandar Penggaram, takes its name from a chiselled rock well located at the mouth of Batu Pahat River, near a coastal village of Kampung Minyak Beku.
It was believed that the well was dug by fleeing Siamese troops to collect drinking water, after a failed attack on Malacca during the reign of Sultan Muzaffar Shah who ruled from 1446 to 1459.
Batu Pahat was upgraded to a municipality on the 1st of January 2001. As of 2008, it is the 10th largest city in Malaysia, and the 2nd most developed city in the state of Johor. Numerous local and international companies are attracted to set up plants and factories in the area.
The city was once known as the textile city of Malaysia with 40% of the nation's textile factories located here. Nowadays, furniture, electronics and food processing industries are becoming the major driving forces in the economy.
Once famed for its entertainment and redlight district in the 60's and 70's, Batu Pahat has re-established itself as the capital city of food & drinks in Johor, with more than 100 café, pubs, eateries and restaurants opened between 2006 and 2008. It is believed that one will never run out of places to eat in Batu Pahat, at any time of the day.
Since the establishment of Taman Bukit Pasir in the early 90's, the city's economy center has slowly but surely moved north, away from the existing city center in the south-west near Batu Pahat River.
The "Bukit Pasir" area (an H-shaped area bordered by Jalan Tongkang Pechah, Jalan Tan Swee Hoe and Jalan Kluang) has attracted retail and service shops, bank branches, post office, telcos, several new housing areas as well as the heavyweight resident - Carrefour hypermarket.
The once narrow and poorly maintained two-lane Jalan Tan Swee Hoe has been widen in recent years to 2+1 lanes each side with a center barrier, and features several U-turns which were never heard of in Batu Pahat before 2007.