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Sabah - Malaysia

Located at the northeast corner of Borneo, Sabah was known in ancient times as the "Land Below The Wind" because it lies below the typhoon belt. Sabah's terrain is rugged, with Mt. Kinabalu, at 4,101 metres, dominating the surrounding landscape. It has a wide diversity of flora and fauna, as well as one of the world's largest rainforests. Sabah's people comprise 31 different indigenous groups, including the Kadazans, Muruts, Bajaus, Kedayans, Sulu, Bisaya, Rumanau, Minokok, and Rungus.

International access to Malaysia'a eastern gateway is through Sabah's capital, Kota Kinabalu, which receives flights from Kuala Lumpur, Johor Bahru, Kuching, Singapore, Hong Kong, Manila, Brunei, Jakarta, Seoul, and Taipei. Domestic travel in this vast state is via daily flights between Labuan, Sandakan, Lahad Datu, and Tawau, though large areas are still inaccessible. A rail network stretches from Kota Kinabalu to Tenom, and buses, taxis, and boats are also available.


The first known settlement of man in Sabah (or North Borneo) was 27,000 years ago. The kingdom of Brunei took control of Sabah's west coast in the 16th century while the Sulu Sultanate controlled Sabah's east coast in the 17th and 18th centuries.

British encroachment started with the occupation of Balambangan Island by the British East Indies Company. In 1764, the Sultan of Sulu was forced to concede his power over Sabah territories to the British. The British also installed Raja Muda Hashim as the new Sultan of Brunei after a succession struggle for the throne of Brunei.

Brunei's control over Sabah diminished by the 19th century. In 1850, an American trader, Charles Lee Moses, succeeded in obtaining a lease over a large part of the west coast from the Sultan of Brunei. This eventually passed into the hands of Alfred Dent, a British businessman. Dent converted the lease into a cession. In 1870, William Cowie and Baron Overback persuaded the Sultan of Sulu to hand over his concession in Sandakan.

By 1878, both Brunei and Sulu had delivered all their Sabah territories to the British. In 1879, the British established administrative capitals at Sandakan, Temparuk and Papar. In 1881, the Chartered Company of British North Borneo was established to manage the procurements, with W.H. Treacher as the first Governor of Sabah. British Government protection was also granted.

This lasted until 1941, the year of the Japanese invasion. Following the end of the Second World War, Sabah was placed under the British Military Administration (BMA). In 1946, the Company surrendered its rights to the British Government and on 15 July 1946, Sabah became a British Crown Colony.

Sabah eventually obtained its independence by joining Malaysia in 1963, after Tunku Abdul Rahman allayed its fears of domination by the Federal Government. The findings of the Cobbold Commission in 1962 found over 70% of the population of Sabah and Sarawak favoured joining Malaysia, and on 31 August 1963, the Federation of Malaysia with Sabah and Sarawak was formed. Both the Philippines and Indonesia challenged this development. But Malaysia was formally formed on 16 September 1963.



The red stripe represents courage and the willingness to sacrifice for the state of Sabah. White is the colour of purity while dark blue is the colour of peace and prosperity. The light blue denotes Sabah's status as a young state. The silhouette of Mount Kinabalu is the symbol of the unity of the people.

The two arms holding up the State flag symbolises the people's unity and cooperation. The five colours on the emblem represent the five divisions of Sabah. Dark blue is the colour of peace and tranquillity, white is the colour of purity, red is the colour of courage, icicle blue represents unity, and the people's strength and cooperation is suggested by the light blue. The silhouette of Mount Kinabalu symbolises the state of Sabah. The State motto is "Prosperity and Success to Sabah".


Kota Kinabalu

Details to follow.


Danum Valley

Danum Valley is located 83 km southeast of Lahad Datu. It is a forest reserve 438 square km wide and home to some of the rarest and nearly extinct species of flora and fauna like the Orangutan and the Sumatran Rhinoceros. There are about 275 species of birds and 110 species of mammals living in this 60 million-year-old forest. This place is a must of avid nature lovers.

Mount Kinabalu

The main attraction of the Kinabalu Park is Mount Kinabalu. At a height of 4 095.2 m from sea level, Mount Kinabalu is the highest peak in Malaysia. Also, the Rafflesia, the largest flower in the world can be found at the Kinabalu National Park which is located on the Crocker Range.


Area : 73,620 square km
State Capital : Kota Kinabalu
Administrative Divisions : 5
Namely:- West Coast, Kudat, Interior, Sandakan and Tawau


: 2,449,389 (2000)

Breakdown of Races (1997)

Other Bumiputeras
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