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Sabah 1

—  State  —

Sabah Negeri Dibawah Bayu


Coat of arms

Motto: Sabah Maju Jaya

Anthem: Sabah Tanah Airku

Sabah in Malaysia

Coordinates: 5°15′N 117°0′E

Capital Kota Kinabalu


 - Ruling party Barisan Nasional

 - Governor Juhar Hj Mahiruddin

 - Chief Minister (Ketua Menteri) Musa Aman


 - Total 73631 km2 (28429.1 sq mi)

Population (2010)

 - Total 3120040

- Density 42.4/km2 (109.7/sq mi)

Demonym Sabahan

Human Development Index

 - HDI (2009) 0.389 (low) (14th)

Postal code 88xxx to 91xxx

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Calling code 087 (Inner District)

088 (Kota Kinabalu & Kudat)
089 (Lahad Datu, Sandakan & Tawau)

Vehicle registration SA,SAA,SAB (Kota Kinabalu & Kota

SB (Beaufort)
SD (Lahad Datu)
SK (Kudat)
SS (Sandakan)
ST (Tawau)
SU (Keningau)

Former name North Borneo

Brunei Sultanate 16th century

Sulu Sultanate 1658

British North Borneo 1882

Japanese occupation 1941-1945

British Crown Colony 1946

Accession into Malaysia 16 September 1963

Website [3]

Sabah is one of 13 member states of Malaysia.[4] It is located on the northern portion of the island of Borneo. It is
the second largest state in the country after Sarawak, which it borders on its south-west. It also shares a border with
the province of East Kalimantan of Indonesia in the south. In spite of its status as a Malaysian state, Sabah remains a
disputed territory; the Philippines has a dormant claim over much of the eastern part of the territory.[5] [6] The capital
of Sabah is Kota Kinabalu, formerly known as Jesselton. Sabah is often referred to as "The land below the wind",
because of its location just south of the typhoon-prone region around the Philippines.

The origin of the name Sabah is uncertain, and there are many theories have arisen. One theory is that during the
time it was part of the Bruneian Sultanate, it was referred to as Saba' because of the presence of pisang saba, a type
of banana, found on the coasts of the region. Due to the location of Sabah in relation to Brunei, it has been suggested
that Sabah was a Bruneian Malay word meaning upstream[7] or the northern side of the river.[8] Another theory
suggests that it came from the Malay word sabak which means a place where palm sugar is extracted. Sabah is also
an Arabic word which means morning. The presence of multiple theories makes it difficult to pinpoint the true origin
of the name.[9]
It has been said that Sabah was once referred to as Seludang in a 1365 Javanese text known as Nagarakretagama
written by Mpu Prapanca.[10]
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Geography and environment

The western part of Sabah is generally mountainous, containing the
three highest mountains in Malaysia. The most prominent range is the
Crocker Range which houses several mountains of varying height from
about 1,000 metres to 4,000 metres. At the height of 4,095 metres,
Mount Kinabalu is the highest mountain in South East Asia . The
jungles of Sabah are classified as rainforests and host a diverse array of
Mount Kinabalu, the highest mountain in plant and animal species. Kinabalu National Park was inscribed as a
World Heritage Site in 2000 because of its richness in plant diversity
combined with its unique geological, topographical, and climatic

Lying nearby Mount Kinabalu is Mount Tambuyukon. At a height of 2,579 metres, it is the third highest peak in the
country. Adjacent to the Crocker Range is the Trus Madi Range which houses the second highest peak in the
country, Mount Trus Madi, at a height of 2,642 metres. There are lower ranges of hills extending towards the
western coasts, southern plains, and the interior or central part of Sabah. These mountains and hills are traversed by
an extensive network of river valleys and are in most cases covered with dense rainforest.
The central and eastern portion of Sabah are generally lower mountain ranges and plains with occasional hills.
Kinabatangan River begins from the western ranges and snakes its way through the central region towards the east
coast out into the Sulu Sea. It is the second longest river in Malaysia after Rejang River at a length of 560
kilometres. The forests surrounding the river valley also contains an array of wildlife habitats, and is the largest
forest-covered floodplain in Malaysia.[12]
Other important wildlife regions in Sabah include Maliau Basin,
Danum Valley, Tabin, Imbak Canyon and Sepilok. These places are
either designated as national parks, wildlife reserves, virgin jungle
reserves, or protection forest reserve.
Over three quarters of the human population inhabit the coastal plains.
Major towns and urban centers have sprouted along the coasts of
Sabah. The interior region remains sparsely populated with only
villages, and the occasional small towns or townships.
Beyond the coasts of Sabah lie a number of islands and coral reefs, The northern tip of Borneo at Tanjung Simpang
including the largest island in Malaysia, Pulau Banggi. Other large Mengayau

islands include, Pulau Jambongan, Pulau Balambangan, Pulau Timbun

Mata, Pulau Bumbun, and Pulau Sebatik. Other popular islands mainly for tourism are, Pulau Sipadan, Pulau
Selingan, Pulau Gaya, Pulau Tiga, and Pulau Layang-Layang.

Protected areas
National or state park areas in Sabah are under the protection of Sabah Parks. Other reserves or protected areas are
under the governance of the Sabah Forestry Department and Sabah Foundation.
• Kinabalu Park - the highest mountain in Southeast Asia with an altitude of 4,101 metres (13,455 ft). It is lower
than Puncak Jaya in Irian Jaya on the island of New Guinea, Indonesia at 4,884 metres which is located outside of
the South East Asia Region.
• Turtle Islands Park - conservation efforts for endangered sea turtles
• Tunku Abdul Rahman Park - A national park consisting of five islands off the coast of Kota Kinabalu
• Sipadan Park - Located near Semporna, the oceanic island of Sipadan has a very rich underwater ecosystem.
• Pulau Tiga Park
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• Crocker Range Park

• Tawau Hills Park

Earliest human migration and settlement into the region is believed to have dated back about 20,000–30,000 years
ago. These early humans are believed to be Australoid or Negrito people. The next wave of human migration,
believed to be Austronesian Mongoloids, occurred around 3000 BC.

Brunei Empire
During the 7th century CE, a settled community known as Vijayapura, a tributary to the Srivijaya empire, was
thought to have been the earliest beneficiary to the Bruneian Empire existing around the northeast coast of
Borneo.[13] Another kingdom which suspected to have existed beginning the 9th century was P'o-ni. It was believed
that Po-ni existed at the mouth of Brunei River and was the predecessor to the Sultanate of Brunei.[14] The Sultanate
of Brunei began after the ruler of Brunei embraced Islam. During the reign of the fifth sultan known as Bolkiah
between 1473–1524, the Sultanate's thalassocracy extended over Sabah, Sulu Archipelago and Manila in the north,
and Sarawak until Banjarmasin in the south.[15] In 1658, the Sultan of Brunei ceded the northern and eastern portion
of Borneo to the Sultan of Sulu in compensation for the latter's help in settling a civil war in the Brunei Sultanate. In
1749, the Sultanate of Borneo ceded southern Palawan to Spain.[16]

British North Borneo

In 1761, Alexander Dalrymple, an officer of the British East India Company, concluded an agreement with the
Sultan of Sulu to allow him to set up a trading post in the region, although it proved to be a failure. In 1846, the
island of Labuan on the west coast of Sabah was ceded to Britain by the Sultan of Brunei and in 1848 it became a
British Crown Colony. Following a series of transfers, the rights to North Borneo were transferred to Alfred Dent,
whom in 1881 formed the British North Borneo Provisional Association Ltd. In the following year, the British North
Borneo Company was formed and Kudat was made its capital. In 1883 the capital was moved to Sandakan. In 1885,
the United Kingdom, Spain, and Germany signed the Madrid Protocol of 1885, which recognized the sovereignty of
Spain in the Sulu Archipelago in return for the relinquishment of all Spanish claims over North Borneo.[17] In 1888
North Borneo became a protectorate of the United Kingdom.

Japanese Occupation
As part of the Second World War Japanese forces landed in Labuan on January
1, 1942, and continued to invade the rest of North Borneo. From 1942 to 1945,
Japanese forces occupied North Borneo, along with most of the island. Bombings
by the allied forces devastated of most towns including Sandakan, which was
razed to the ground. In Sandakan there was once a brutal POW camp run by the
Japanese for British and Australian POWs from North Borneo. The prisoners
suffered under notoriously inhuman conditions, and Allied bombardments caused
the Japanese to relocate the POW camp to inland Ranau, 260 km away. All the
prisoners, then were reduced to 2504 in number, were forced to march the
infamous Sandakan Death March. Except for six Australians, all of the prisoners
died. The war ended on 10 September 1945. After the surrender, North Borneo
The Japanese POW camp in was administered by the British Military Administration and in 1946 it became a
Sandakan during World War II. British Crown Colony. Jesselton replaced Sandakan as the capital and the Crown
continued to rule North Borneo until 1963.
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Federation of Malaysia
On August 31, 1963 North Borneo attained self-government. 1962, the Cobbold Commission was set up to
determine whether the people of Sabah and Sarawak favoured the proposed union, and found that the union was
generally favoured by the people. Most ethnic community leaders of Sabah, namely, Tun Mustapha representing the
Muslims, Tun Fuad Stephens representing the non-Muslim natives, and Khoo Siak Chew representing the Chinese,
would eventually support the formation. On 16 September 1963 North Borneo, as Sabah, was united with Malaya,
Sarawak and Singapore, to form the independent the Federation of Malaysia.[18] [19]
From before the formation of Malaysia till
1966, Indonesia adopted a hostile policy
towards the British backed Malaya, and
after union to Malaysia. This undeclared
war stems from what Indonesian President
Sukarno perceive as an expansion of British
influence in the region and his intention to
wrest control over the whole of Borneo
under the Indonesian republic. Tun Fuad
Stephens became the first chief minister of
Sabah. The first Governor (Yang di-Pertuan
Negeri) was Tun Mustapha. Sabah held its
first state election in 1967. Until 2008, a
Kota Kinabalu in 2008. It became the first city in the state in 2000 and has become
total of 11 state elections has been held. not only the administrative capital but also the economic and transportation hub of
Sabah has had 13 different chief ministers the region.
and 9 different Yang di-Pertua Negeri as of
2009. Beginning 1970, Filipino refugees from the Mindanao began arriving in Sabah as a result of the Moro
insurgency taking place in that region.[20] On14 June 1976 the government of Sabah signed an agreement with
Petronas, the federal government-owned oil and gas company, granting it the right to extract and earn revenue from
petroleum found in the territorial waters of Sabah in exchange for 5% in annual revenue as royalties.[21]

The state government of Sabah ceded the island of Labuan and its 6 smaller islands to the Malaysian federal
government and it was declared a federal territory on April 16, 1984. In 2000, the state capital Kota Kinabalu was
granted city status, making it the 6th city in Malaysia and the first city in the state. Also this year, Kinabalu National
Park was officially designated by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site, making it the first site in the country to be
given such designation. In 2002, the International Court of Justice ruled that the islands of Sipadan and Ligitan,
claimed by Indonesia, are part of Sabah and Malaysia.[22]

Philippine claim
The Sultanate of Sulu was granted the north-eastern part of the territory as a prize for helping the Sultan of Brunei
against his enemies and from then on that part of Borneo was recognized as part of the Sultan of Sulu's sovereignty.
In 1878, Baron Von Overbeck, an Austrian partner representing The British North Borneo Company and his British
partner Alfred Dent, leased the territory of Sabah. In return, the company was to provide arms to the Sultan to resist
the Spaniards and 5,000 Malayan dollars annual rental based on the Mexican dollar's value at that time or its
equivalent in gold. This lease was continued until the independence and formation of the Malaysian federation in
1963 together with Singapore, Sarawak and the states of Malaya. As of 2004, the Malaysian Embassy to the
Philippines had been paying cession/rental money amounting to US$1,500 per year (about 6,300 Malaysian
Ringgits) to the heirs of the Sultanate of Sulu.
The contract between Sri Paduka Maulana Al Sultan Mohammad Jamalul Alam, representing the sultanate as owner
and sovereign of Sabah on one hand, and that of Gustavus Baron de Overbeck and Alfred Dent representing the
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North Borneo Company, on the other as lessees of Sabah, was executed on 22 January 1878. The Lease prohibits the
transfer of Sabah to any nation, company or individual without the consent of His Majesty’s Government
(“Government of the Sultan of Sulu”).[23]
Less than a decade later, the Sultanate of Sulu came under the control of Spain and in 1885, Spain relinquished all of
its claim to Borneo to the British in the Madrid Protocol of 1885.[24] In spite of that, in 1906 and 1920 the United
States formally reminded United Kingdom that Sabah did not belong to them and was still part of the Sultanate of
Sulu on the premise that Spain never acquired sovereignty over North Borneo to transfer all its claims of sovereignty
over North Borneo to the United Kingdom on the Madrid Protocol of 1885. This is so because the Sultan of Sulu did
not include his territory and dominion in North Borneo in signing the treaty of 1878 recognizing the Spanish
sovereignty over “Jolo and its dependencies.”. North Borneo was never considered a dependency of Jolo. However,
the British Government ignored the reminder and still annexed the territory of North Borneo as a Crown Colony on
10 July 1946. This was in spite of the fact that the British Government was aware of the decision made by the High
Court of North Borneo on 19 December 1939, that the successor of the Sultan in the territory of Sabah was the
Government of the Philippines and not United Kingdom.[25]
On 12 September 1962, during President Diosdado Macapagal's administration, the territory of North Borneo, and
the full sovereignty, title and dominion over the territory were ceded by the then reigning Sultan of Sulu, HM Sultan
Muhammad Esmail E. Kiram I, to the Republic of the Philippines.[26] The cession effectively gave the Philippine
government the full authority to pursue their claim in international courts. The Philippines broke diplomatic relations
with Malaysia after the federation had included Sabah in 1963 but probably resumed it unofficially through the
Manila Accord. It was revoked in 1989 because succeeding Philippine administrations have placed the claim on the
backburner in the interest of pursuing cordial economic and security relations with Kuala Lumpur.[27]


The population of Sabah is 3,120,040 as of 2010,[28] and is the third most populous state in Malaysia after Selangor
and Johor. Sabah has one of the highest population growth rates in the country as a result of illegal immigration from
the Muslim-dominated southern provinces of Philippines.
• Kadazan-Dusun: 17.8%
• Rungus
• Bajau: 13.4%
• Malay: 11.5%
• Murut: 3.3%
• Other bumiputra: 14.6%
• Chinese (majority Hakka): 13.2%
• Other non-bumiputra: 4.8%
• Non-Malaysian citizens: 25%

Race and ethnicity

The people of Sabah are divided into 32 officially recognised ethnic groups. The largest non-bumiputra ethnic group
is the Chinese (13.2%). The predominant Chinese dialect group in Sabah is Hakka, followed by Cantonese and
Hokkien. Most Chinese people in Sabah are concentrated in the major cities and towns, namely Kota Kinabalu,
Sandakan and Tawau. The largest indigenous ethnic group is Kadazan-Dusun, followed by Bajau, and Murut. There
is a much smaller proportion of Indians and other South Asians in Sabah compared to other parts of Malaysia. Cocos
people is a minority ethnic residing in Sabah especially at the Tawau Division. Collectively, all persons coming from
Sabah are known as Sabahans and identify themselves as such.
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Sabah demography consists of many ethnic groups, for example:

• Kadazan-Dusun • Mangka'ak • Ida'an

• Malay • Suluk • Minokok
• Kwijau • Orang Sungai • Rumanau
• Murut • Kedayan • Sabah born Chinese (Malaysian)
• Bajau • Bisaya • Sabah born Chinese with mixed indigenous parentage Example: Bumiputra Sino Kadazan etc.
[29] • Tidong • Lun Bawang
• Illanun
• Lotud • Maragang
• Rungus • Orang Cocos
• Tambanuo • Paitan
• Dumpas

Other inhabitants:
• Filipino - Chavacano,Visaya,Ilocano,Suluk,Badjao,Iranun,Tausug
• Indonesian - Bugis,Jawa,Timoris,Banjar
• Indian - Punjabi,Tamil
• Sarawakian indigenous - Iban,Penan,Dayak

Malay (Bahasa Malaysia) is the national language spoken across ethnicities, although the spoken Sabahan dialect of
Malay differs much in inflection and intonation from the West Malaysian version. The Sabahan accent of Malay is
actually what 'Dewan Bahasa & Pustaka' endorses, which is Baku. Sabah also has its own unique slang for many
words in Malay, mostly originated from indigenous or Indonesian words. English, Mandarin as well as Hakka and
Cantonese are widely understood. In addition, indigenous languages such as Kadazan, Dusun, Bajau and Murut have
their own segments on state radio broadcast.

Statistics of religion by state are not provided by the Department of Statistics Malaysia. In 2000, its religious
breakdown was as follows: Islam 63.7%, Christianity 27.8%, Buddhism 12%, no religion 1.0%,
Taoism/Confucianism 0.4%, Others 0.3%, Hinduism 0.1%, unknown 0.3%.[30]. Sabah is home to the second highest
proportion of Christians (Roman Catholic and Protestant) in Malaysia, behind that of Sarawak.

Sabah's economy was traditionally heavily dependent on lumber based on export of tropical timber, but with
increasing depletion at an alarming rate of the natural forests, ecological efforts to save the remaining natural
rainforest areas were done in early 1982 through forest conservation methods by collecting seeds of different species
particularly acacia mangium and planting it to pilot project areas pioneered by the Sandakan Forest Research
Institute researchers, however, palm oil has emerged as a choice of farmers to plant as a cash crop. Other agricultural
products important in the Sabah economy include rubber and cacao. Tourism is currently the second largest
contributor to the economy. There are other exports like seafood and vegetables.
In 1970, Sabah ranked as one of the richest states in the federation, with a per capita GDP second only to Selangor
(which then included Kuala Lumpur).[31] However, despite its vast wealth of natural resources, Sabah is currently the
poorest of Malaysia's states. Average incomes are now among the lowest in Malaysia, and with a considerably higher
cost of living than in West Malaysia. In 2000 Sabah had an unemployment rate of 5.6 per cent, the highest of any
Malaysian state and almost twice the national average of 3.1 per cent. The state has the highest poverty level in the
country at 16 per cent, more than three times the national average. Due to the lack of industry that can provide jobs
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for professional and highly skilled workforce, large numbers of Sabahan's have literally migrated or practically
moved out to either to Peninsular Malaysia, Singapore, Australia and USA. Part of the problem is the inequitable
distribution of wealth between state and federal governments, and large numbers of illegal immigrants from
Indonesia, the Philippines, even from China and East Timor, whose population was estimated to be in the region of
half a million people. Due to huge tracks of land that has been cultivated with palm oil, the industry is not fully
mechanized and it is highly dependent towards immigrants with work pass and illegals. In 2004 the poverty level
worsened to 22 per cent.[32] However the state government with the assistance from the Federal government and
active participation of UN and the governments where the illegal immigrants originated, steps has been taken and
slowly Sabah is overcoming the crises.
The recent tabling of the Ninth Malaysia Plan has allocated RM16.908 billion for Sabah, the second highest state
allocation after Sarawak's but it is still only 8% of the total national budget for a population of Sabah of more than
13%, and an area of more than 25%. This is clearly discriminatory and has contributed to the State of Sabah having
the largest number of people below the poverty line in Malaysia, and lower than the Indonesian national poverty rate
and in the same level as Aceh and Myanmar based on 2004 United Nations figures.[32] [33] [34] [35]
The fund is pledged to improve the state's rural areas, improve the state's transportation and utilities infrastructures,
and boost the economy of Sabah. The government has placed its focus on three major areas of the economy which
have the potential to be Sabah's growth engine. These are agriculture, manufacturing and tourism.
When this discriminatory budget against Sabah and Sarawak was pointed out, the allocation for Sabah was increased
from the earlier figure of 15.7 billion RM while there is none for Sarawak. The reason given to Sarawak's Chief
Minister, as reported by Borneo Post (11 November 2007) is that it is not economical to develop Sarawak. Sarawak
is to be the source of renewable resources for Malaya. This situation applies to Sabah as well except that Sarawak's
renewable resources are not even meant for Sabah. The percentage of the total budget is still much less than Sabah's
population and area burdens.

Tourism, particularly eco-tourism, is a major contributor to the economy of Sabah. In 2006, 2,000,000 tourists
visited Sabah[36] and it is estimated that the number will continue to rise following vigorous promotional activities
by the state and national tourism boards and also increased stability and security in the region. Sabah currently has
six national parks. One of these, the Kinabalu National Park, was designated as a World Heritage Site in 2000. It is
the first[37] of two sites in Malaysia to obtain this status, the other being the Gunung Mulu National Park in Sarawak.
These parks are maintained and controlled by Sabah Parks under the Parks Enactment 1984. The Sabah Wildlife
Department also has conservation, utilization, and management responsibilities.[38]
Sabah 9

Urban centers and ports

There are currently 7 ports in Sabah: Kota Kinabalu Port, Sepanggar Bay Container Port, Sandakan Port, Tawau
Port, Kudat Port, Kunak Port, and Lahad Datu Port. These ports are operated and maintained by Sabah Ports
Authority.[39] The major towns and city are:

Kota Kinabalu City Sandakan City

Rank City [40]


1 Kota Kinabalu 532,129

2 Sandakan 448,074

3 Tawau 349,962

4 Lahad Datu 119,938

5 Keningau 97,152

6 Semporna 71,157

7 Kudat 34,481
Sabah 10

Law and government

Sabah is a representative democracy with
universal suffrage for all citizens above 21
years of age. However, legislation regarding
state elections are within the powers of the
federal government and not the state. The
Yang di-Pertua Negeri sits at the top of the
hierarchy followed by the state legislative
assembly and the state cabinet. The Yang
di-Pertuan Negeri is officially the head of
state however its functions are largely
ceremonial. The chief minister is the head of
government and is also the leader of the
state cabinet. The legislature is based on the
Westminster system and therefore the chief
minister is appointed based on his or her
ability to command the majority of the state
Administrative divisions and districts of Sabah
assembly. A general election representatives
in the state assembly must be held every five
years. This is the only elected government body in the state, with local authorities being fully appointed by the state
government owing to the suspension of local elections by the federal government. The assembly meets at the state
capital, Kota Kinabalu. Members of the state assembly are elected from 60 constituencies which are delineated by
the Election Commission of Malaysia and may not necessarily result in constituencies of same voter population
sizes. Sabah is also represented in the federal parliament by 25 members elected from the same number of

The present elected state and federal government posts are held by Barisan Nasional (BN), a coalition of parties
which includes United Malays National Organisation (UMNO), Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP), United
Pasokmomogun Kadazandusun Murut Organisation (UPKO), Parti Bersatu Rakyat Sabah (PBRS), Parti Bersatu
Sabah (PBS), Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), and Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA).
The last state election was in 2004 and as of 2006, the state legislature has 60 members. It comprises 59 BN state
legislature members (Ahli Dewan Undangan Negeri) and a single independent. Of this, 32 are from UMNO, 13 from
PBS, 5 from UPKO, 4 from the SAPP, 3 from LDP, and one each from MCA and PBRS.[41]

The political climate

Prior to the formation of Malaysia in 1963, the then North Borneo interim government submitted a 20-point
agreement to the Malayan government as conditions before Sabah would join the Federation. Sabah entered
Malaysia as an autonomous state with a Christian Kadazan-Dusun chief minister, but soon succumbed to Kuala
Lumpur's vision of a one-party unitary Islamic state dominated by the indigenous Muslim Bajau and Brunei Malay
people. This has created considerable friction and even occasional calls for secession. These tensions are further
inflamed by Kuala Lumpur's colonial mentality towards Sabah, wherein 95% of the profits from Sabah's immense
natural resources are taken by the federal government, leaving the state government with only 5%. Aside from
nominally separate immigration controls, little evidence remains of Sabah's theoretical autonomy.
Until the Malaysian general election, 2008, Sabah, along with the states of Kelantan and Terengganu, are the only
three states in Malaysia that had ever been ruled by opposition parties not part of the ruling BN coalition. Led by
Datuk Seri Joseph Pairin Kitingan, PBS formed government after winning the 1985 elections and ruled Sabah until
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1994. Due to certain internal troubles, BN took over the government in 1994 despite PBS winning the elections. PBS
subsequently joined the BN coalition in 2002.
A unique feature of Sabah politics was a policy initiated by the BN in 1994 whereby the chief minister's post is
rotated among the coalition parties every 2 years regardless of the party in power at the time, thus theoretically
giving an equal amount of time for each major ethnic group to rule the state. This extremely weakens the executive
branch of the state government, which was formerly much at odds with the federal government in Kuala Lumpur. It
also serves to give a disproportionate power to the indigenous Muslim Bajau ethnic group, at the expense of the
mainly Christian indigenous Kadazan-Dusun, the largest ethnic group. This practice has since stopped with power
now held by majority in the state assembly by the UMNO party, which also holds a majority in the national
There has been a conspiracy theory that the chief minister post rotation system was implemented to allow UMNO to
control the post permanently by abolishing the whole system once it was UMNO's turn to hold the post. It has never
been proven but it is considered impossible for UMNO to get a hold of the post through any other method. The
conspiracy theory was brought up once again when a division from UMNO proposed to implement the same rotation
system in Penang, when it was under BN rule. It was one of the two states which were not controlled by UMNO but
was under BN rule (the other state being Sarawak). The proposal was raised even though UMNO abolished the
system in Sabah by declaring it a failure.
UMNO had a quick rise to power since its entry into Sabah in 1991 where before that both eastern Malaysian states
were not penetrated by the party, whose president is the de facto leader of the ruling coalition BN and automatically
the Prime Minister of Malaysia. This has given rise to dissent as the chief minister rotation system was halted just as
UMNO was holding the post. Thus the 2004 general elections saw widespread disillusionment, coupled with an
ineffectual opposition. The state assembly is now dominated by the ruling party BN with only one seat held by an
opposition politician who is an independent candidate. This was caused by a general sentiment where a number of
voters were reluctant to cast votes for BN whose victory was almost assured but did not trust the opposition parties,
most of which were not vigorously active before the election. Therefore many cast votes for independent candidates.
Sabah politics, as are Malaysia's, is very much based upon party lines. An effort by PBS, a component party of BN,
to hatch a co-operation with the one opposition candidate within the state assembly, who conversely was a former
UMNO member competing independently because he was not nominated for the constituency by his party, in an
unprecedented attempt at bipartisanship, was harshly criticized by UPKO, another component party of BN.

Chief Ministers of Sabah

Year Chief Minister Party

1963-1964 Tun Fuad Stephens United National Kadazan Organization (UNKO)

1965-1967 Datuk Peter Lo Sui Yin Sabah Chinese Association (SCA)

1967-1975 Tun Mustapha Datu Harun United Sabah National Organization (USNO) - BN

1975-1976 Tun Said Keruak USNO - BN

1976 (44 days) Tun Fuad Stephens Berjaya - BN

1976-1985 Datuk Harris Mohd Salleh Berjaya - BN

1985-1994 Tan Sri Joseph Pairin Kitingan PBS - Opposition (In partnership with BN in 1986-1990)

1994-1995 Tun Sakaran Dandai UMNO - BN

1995-1996 Datuk Salleh Tun Said Keruak UMNO - BN

1996-1998 Datuk Yong Teck Lee SAPP - BN

1998-1999 Tan Sri Bernard Dompok (now UPKO) Parti Demokratik Sabah (PDS) - BN
Sabah 12

1999-2001 Datuk Seri Osu Haji Sukam UMNO - BN

2001-2003 Tan Sri Chong Kah Kiat LDP - BN

2003–present Datuk Seri Musa Aman UMNO - BN

Administrative divisions
Sabah consists of five administrative divisions, which are in turn divided into 24 districts.
These administrative divisions are, for all purposes, just for reference. During the British rule until the transition
period when Malaysia was formed, a Resident was appointed to govern each division and provided with a palace
(Istana). This means that the British considered each of these divisions equivalent to a Malayan state. The post of the
Resident was abolished in favour of district officers for each of the district.

Division Name Districts Area (km²) Population (2006)[42]

1 West Coast Division Kota Belud, Kota Kinabalu, Papar, Penampang, Putatan, Ranau, Tuaran 7,588 953,900

2 Interior Division Beaufort, Nabawan, Keningau, Kuala Penyu, Sipitang, Tambunan, Tenom 18,298 420,800

3 Kudat Division Kota Marudu, Kudat, Pitas 4,623 189,500

4 Sandakan Division Beluran, Kinabatangan, Sandakan, Tongod 28,205 676,000

5 Tawau Division Kunak, Lahad Datu, Semporna, Tawau 14,905 756,800

Local Government
As in the rest of Malaysia, local government comes under the purview of state governments. However, ever since the
suspension of local government elections in the midst of the Malaysian Emergency, which was much less intense in
Sabah than it was in the rest of the country, there have been no local elections. Local authorities have their officials
appointed by the executive council of the state government.


There are many types of traditional dances in Sabah, most notably:
• Daling-daling: Danced by Bajaus and Suluks . In its original form, it was a dance which combined Arabic belly
dancing and the Indian dances common in this region, complete with long artificial finger nails and golden head
gear accompanied by a Bajau and Suluk song called daling-daling which is a love story. Its main characteristic is
the large hip and breast swings but nowadays it is danced with a faster tempo but less swings, called Igal-igal by
the Bajau from Semporna District.
• Sumazau: Kadazandusun traditional dance which performed during weddings and Kaamatan festival. The dance
form is akin to a couple of birds flying together.
• Magunatip: Famously known as the Bamboo dance, requires highly skilled dancers to perform. Native dance of
the Muruts, but can also be found in different forms and names in South East Asia.
• Nona Mansaya: Called Dansa among the Cocos Islanders in Sabah, the dance used violin as the primary
instrument and the dance derived from the culture of Scottish and Javanese.
Sabah 13

Movies & TV
The earliest known footage of Sabah comes from two movies by Martin and Osa Johnson titled 'Jungle Depths of
Borneo' and 'Borneo'.
Sabah's first homegrown film was Orang Kita, starring Abu Bakar Ellah.
Some films and TV shows filmed in Sabah include the reality show Survivor: Borneo, The Amazing Race,
Eco-Challenge Borneo, films Bat*21, as well as a number of Hong Kong production films such as Born Rich. Sabah
was also featured in Sacred Planet, a documentary hosted by Robert Redford.

Sabah's first established newspaper was the New Sabah Times. The newspaper was founded by Tun Fuad Stephens,
who later became the first Chief Minister of Sabah.
Australian author Wendy Law Suart lived in Jesselton between 1949 - 1953 and wrote 'The Lingering Eye -
Recollections of North Borneo' about her experiences.
American author Agnes Newton Keith lived in Sandakan between 1934–1952 and wrote several books about Sabah.
Sabah was also the main location for the filming of the 1937 American documentary based on the adventures of
Martin and Osa Johnson titled Borneo.
In the Earl Mac Rauch novelization of Buckaroo Banzai (Pocket Books, 1984; repr. 2001), and in the DVD
commentary, Buckaroo's archenemy Hanoi Xan is said to have his secret base in Sabah, in a "relic city of caves."

Reality TV
Sabahan contestants attained many finalist spots and even won major reality TV show contests. This phenomenon is
probably due to many hidden Sabahan talents finally uncovered through Reality TV.
• One in a Million: Ayu (OIAM2 winner), Esther (1st runner-up OIAM3)
• Akademi Fantasia finalist: Norlinda Nanuwil & Adam - AF2, Felix Agus & Marsha Milan Londoh - AF3,
Velvet & Lotter - AF4, Candy & Ebi - AF5, Stacy the AF6/1st Sabahan champion, Adira - AF8
• Gang Starz: E-Voke (season 1 semi-finalist), One Nation Emcees (season 2 winner)
• Blast-Off: Jiaja (season 2 winner)
• Mentor: Pija (winner season 1), Fiq (winner season 2), Chaq (finalist season 3)
• Raja Lawak: Kechik (winner season 4), Alex (3rd place season 4)
• Reality TV stars (non-finalist): Nikki Palikat (Malaysian Idol), Mas (AF2), Yazer (AF3), Nora (AF4), Farha &
Noni (AF5), Rubisa & Zizi (AF7), AB & Mark Malim & Shone (OIAM2), Ema & Anum & Ain (AF8)
• Love Me Do: Kelvin Teo (season 1 winner)

• Universiti Malaysia Sabah

Sabah FA won the FA Cup in 1995 then become the Premier League champion in 1996.
Matlan Marjan is a former football player for Malaysia. He scored two goals against England in an international
friendly on June 12, 1991. The English team included Stuart Pearce, David Batty, David Platt, Nigel Clough, Gary
Lineker, was captained by Bryan Robson and coached by Bobby Robson.[43] No other Malaysian player managed to
achieve this. In 1995, he along with six other Sabah players, were arrested on suspicion of match-fixing. Although
the charges were dropped, he was prevented from playing professional football and was banished to another
district.[44] [45] He was punished under the Internal Security Act (which allows for indefinite detention without any
Sabah 14

trial, despite being proven innocent, and even on non-security related issues).
Martin Guntali was a weightlifter who won the Commonwealth Games bronze medal. Lim Keng Liat was a
swimmer who won the Asian Games gold medal in 2006. Arrico Jumiti is a weightlifter who won the Asian Games
gold medal at Guangzhou in 2010.

Notable residents

Politics and governance

Mat Salleh was a Bajau leader who led a rebellion against British North Borneo Company administration in North
Borneo. Under his leadership, the rebellion which lasted from 1894 to 1900 razed the British Administration Centre
on Pulau Gaya and exercised control over Menggatal, Inanam, Ranau and Tambunan. The rebellion was by Bajaus,
Dusuns and Muruts.[46]
Antanum or Antanom (full name Ontoros Antonom) (1885–1915) was a famous and influential Murut warrior who
led the chiefs and villagers from Keningau, Tenom, Pensiangan and Rundum to start the Rundum uprising against
the British North Borneo Company but was killed during fighting with the company army in Sungai Selangit near
Another notable Sabahan is Donald Stephens who helped form the state of Sabah under the UN appointed Cobbold
commission. He was an initial opponent of Malaysia but was persuaded by Lee Kuan Yew with an offer of 8
university places for Sabahan students at the University of Malaya, Singapore.
Donald Stephens was the first Huguan Siou or paramount leader of the Kadazan-dusun and Murut people.
Tun Datu Mustapha was a Bajau-Kagayan-Suluk Muslim political leader in Sabah through the United Sabah
National Organisation (USNO) party.[47] He was a vocal supporter of Malaysia but fell out of favor with Malayan
leaders despite forming UMNO branches in Saba and deregistering USNO. Efforts to reregister USNO have not been
allowed, unlike UMNO that was allowed to be reregistered under the same name.[48]
Former Chief Minister Joseph Pairin Kitingan is the current Huguan Siou and the President of Parti Bersatu Sabah
(PBS). Pairin, the longest serving chief minister of the state and one of the first Kadazandusun lawyers, was known
for his defiance of the federal government in the 1980s and 90s in promoting the rights of Sabah and speaking out
against the illegal immigration problems. Sabah was at the time one of only two states with opposition governments
in power, the other being Kelantan. PBS has since rejoined BN and Datuk Pairin is currently the Deputy Chief
Minister of Sabah.
The 8th and current Attorney General of Malaysia, Abdul Gani Patail, comes from Sabah.
In 2006, Penampang-born Richard Malanjum was appointed Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak and became the first
Kadazandusun to hold such a post.
Datuk Hj. Railey bin Hj. Jeffery was the first and well-known Cocos political leader. He was the Deputy Information
Minister and the JKR Deputy Minister in the 1990s.
Hons. Penny Wong, who was born in Sabah, is Australia's Minister for Climate Change, Energy Efficiency and
Water. She was born in Kota Kinabalu in 1968 and moved to Australia at age 5.
Philip Lee Tau Sang (died 1959) was one of the most prominent Sabahan Chinese politicians in the 1950s. Of Hakka
descent, he was greatly favoured by the British, whose colonisation Sabah was still under then, and was Member of
the Advisory Council of North Borneo (1947-1950), Legislative Council of North Borneo (1950-1958) and
Executive Council of North Borneo (1950-1953, 1956-1957) [49] . He has been posthumously honoured with a road
named after him in the town of Tanjung Aru, near the Kota Kinabalu International Airport.
Sabah 15

Sabah has produced a fair number of well-known media figures. With the advent of Satellite TV in Malaysia, Sabah
produced more breakthrough artist compared to 4 decades before.
• Actors: Marsha Milan Londoh, Farid Amirul Hisham('Gerak Khas' as Lim), Fung Bo Bo, Chung Shuk Wai, Tony
Francis Gitom (filmmaker)
• Broadcasting: Daphne Iking, Kamaruddin Mape, Farish Aziz
• Radio Disc Jockey: Maryanne Raymond(Mary), Constantine Anthony(Constantine), Shahrizan Ferouz(The
Shaz), Fadhil bin Luqman(Fad Da Dillio); all from TraXX FM. DJ Johnboy Lee of, DJ Othoe of Suria FM
• Modelling: Guess model Amber Chia
• Musicians & Composers: Guitarist Roger Wang, Composer Julfekar and Asmin Mudin
• Singers: Nazrey Johani of Raihan, Azharina Azhar, Peter Dicky Lee, Pete Teo, Jerome Kugan, Mia Palencia, Yan
Qing, Gary Cao, Stacy
• Band & Groups: JIAJA , E-Voke, One Nation Emcees, B.A.D. Boys, Lotter & Divine Masters, Richael
Gimbang with Estranged
• Highly Acclaimed International Furniture Designer: TL Bong
• Internet Star/Internet Celebrity: Abangben & Moonboy (Melbourne Shuffle)
• International Artists: Chenelle

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[23] (http:/ / www. royalsulu. com/ issues. html), The Deed of Sabah Lease of 1878 Accessed 1 March 2008.
[24] Protocol of 1885. Sabah Law. Extracted 3 June 2008
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[29] Languages of Malaysia (Sabah) (http:/ / www. ethnologue. com/ show_country. asp?name=MYS). Ethnologue. Retrieved on May 4, 2007
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[43] EnglandFC Match Data (http:/ / www. englandfc. com/ MatchData/ showmatchdetails. php?mid=666)
[44] "No charges against Sabah six". Bernama. 1995-07-14.
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Theological Seminary, pg. 237-pg.241, ISBN 983-40840-0-5
Sabah 17

Further reading
• Bowen, M. R., and T. V. Eusebio. 1982. Acacia mangium: updated information on seed collection and handling
and germination testing. Seed Series No. 5. FAO/UNDP-MAL/78/009. Forest Research Centre, Sandakan, Sabah,
• Gudgeon, L. W. W. 1913. British North Borneo. Adam and Charles Black, London.
• Chin, Ung-Ho. 1999. 'Kataks', Kadazan-Dusun Nationalism and Development: The 1999 Sabah State Election
(Regime Change And Regime Maintenance In Asia And The Pacific Series No 24, Department Of Political And
Social Change, Research School Of Pacific And Asian Studies, Australian National University) (ISBN
• Urmenyhazi, Attila (2007) DISCOVERING NORTH BORNEO, a travelogue on Sarawak & Sabah by the
author-graphic designer-publisher, National Library of Australia, Canberra, Record ID: 4272798.
• James Chin. Politics of Federal Intervention in Malaysia, with reference to Kelantan, Sarawak and Sabah, Journal
of Commonwealth and Comparative Politics, Vol. 35, No 2 (July) 1997 , pp 96–120
• James Chin. Going East: UMNO’s entry into Sabah Politics, Asian Journal of Political Science, Vol 7, No 1
(June) 1999, pp. 20–40

External links
• Sabah Government Portal (
• Sabah Tourism Board (
• Laws of Sabah (
Article Sources and Contributors 18

Article Sources and Contributors

Sabah  Source:  Contributors: 1or2, 23prootie, 95Kenrick, AJR, ARGOU, AaronLPQ, About the Sultan, Acs4b, Adamc92, Aditya,
Ahoerstemeier, Aiman abmajid, AjaxSmack, Alai, Alex.tan, Ali K, Amazonien, Andrew Yong, Andylkl, Annielogue, Anonymous Dissident, Antandrus, Art LaPella, Arteyu, Arthena, AssegaiAli,
Atama2005, Attilau, Attilaurm, AzaBhaItho, Azndragon126, Bachrach44, BaronVonchesto, Bearcat, Begoon, Bejnar, Benjy8769, Bobblewik, Bobo192, Borneoecotours, Brat32, Bry9000, Btw,
Bukhrin, C2Sane, C777, CJLL Wright, Caiaffa, Can't sleep, clown will eat me, Canadiana, Caniago, CanisRufus, Cdc, Cflm001, Chan Yin Keen, ChavacanBen, Chelos, Chinyk, Chipmunkdavis,
Chris 73, Chuck Sirloin, Cindylim123, Clarince63, Colonies Chris, Conti, Conversion script, Cupid9, Cuti, Daduzi, Daemonic Kangaroo, Danazach, DarkGreen8, David Kernow, Dchua,
Debresser, Defoo, Dekimasu, Dpmuk, DragonflySixtyseven, Dreamingoutloud, Dysepsion, Dzhatse, Earth, Eco99, El C, Elendil's Heir, Euchiasmus, Everyking, Fang09, Favonian, Fknandrew,
Flanegan, Florentyna, Flowerparty, Fookjian95, Funnyhat, Gabbhh, Gaius Cornelius, Galteglise, Georgeting, Gilebabs, Gilgamesh, Gilliam, Giraffedata, Gogo Dodo, Golbez, Goldfishbutt,
Gondaria, Grafen, Green Giant, Gronky, HMLithman, HXL49, Hakz2007, HarryHenryGebel, Hebrides, Henry Flower, Her631, Hmains, Hongooi, Hottentot, Howard the Duck, Howcheng, IRP,
Icairns, Infin, Iridescent, Isnow, Ixfd64, Jadda, Jasper33, Jbvillarante, John Hill, JohnI, Johnsonooijunsheng, Jojit fb, Jonica c, Jorge Stolfi, Joseph Solis in Australia, Jotimmsy, Jsorens,
Justintan88, Kafziel, Kawaputra, Keilana, Kev^bear, Kingfish, Kl4m, Kman543210, Kontoler, Korovioff, Kowey, Kristoffer Aldy, Kusunose, Kwamikagami, Lairusi, Logitech95, Look2See1,
LuoShengli, MChew, MER-C, Madun, Maias, Maisarah j, Manderiko, Mark7211, Materialscientist, Matthew A. Lockhart, Matthewprc, Mav, Maxpudding, McSly, Merbabu, Merefoix,
Mgiganteus1, Michael Hardy, Mike Rosoft, Miloais, Ming2go, Missvain, Moebon, Morwen, Mr Accountable, Mr Adequate, Mr Tan, Mrbrazil92, Mukadderat, My December, Mysid,
Neilcorleone69, Nlu, Noypi380, Ntchong, Ohnoitsjamie, OlEnglish, Oscark, Othmanskn, Outriggr, PLM Community, Partibmn, Penulis, Peyre, Phgao, Pigsonthewing, Plastikspork, Pureofsoul,
Quicksandish, Radin87, Raso mk, Raven in Orbit, Reaganamerican, Rear a1972, Rich Farmbrough, Rjwilmsi, Robin Bennett, Roel balingit, Roman888, Ronaldo Guevara, Rosiestep, Rtadopaw,
Ryan darknight, Sabahan, Sabre23t, Sang'gre Habagat, Sankalpdravid, Sarawakgirl, Sazahlie, Scorpion prinz, Seav, Seicer, Sepilok2007, Seraphimdeblog, Shafei, Shorishibuya1206, Skunkboy74,
Slleong, Smooth8200, Socal gal at heart, SophieCat, Ssoong, SteinbDJ, Tabletop, Ted1712, Template namespace initialisation script, Terence, TheNeon, Thingg, Thiseye, Thisisjonathanchan,
Thomas-9019, Tiptoety, Tobias Conradi, Tony Jones, Tony306, Towaru, Trevor MacInnis, Tsujigiri, Two hundred percent, Txomin, Vice regent, Vink33, Vrosemarie, Vsmith, WIKI
CHEESOLOGISTS NEVER YEILD!11!, WWGB, Wai Hong, WebHamster, Whodhellknew, Wikibofh, Wikiteck, Wilcyl, Willsmith, Woad85, Wongkyjustin, Woohookitty, XavierGreen,
Xezbeth, Xmlv, Xy, YUL89YYZ, Ywancarraz, Zack2007, Zeno Gantner, Zoe, Zoebutt, Zollerriia, 600 anonymous edits

Image Sources, Licenses and Contributors

File:Flag of Sabah.svg  Source:  License: Public Domain  Contributors: User Mysid on en.wikipedia
File:Coat of arms of Sabah.png  Source:  License: unknown  Contributors: Arteyu, Rich Farmbrough, Sfan00 IMG
File:Sabah state locator.PNG  Source:  License: Public Domain  Contributors: User:Kawaputra
Image:MtKinabalu view from kundasan.jpg  Source:  License: GNU Free Documentation License
 Contributors: Aurora, Oscark, 1 anonymous edits
Image:Northern Tip Of Borneo.jpg  Source:  License: Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 2.5  Contributors:
Dbenbenn, Tony Jones, 1 anonymous edits
File:Awm 120461 sandakan.jpg  Source:  License: Public Domain  Contributors: Original uploader was Grant65 at
en.wikipedia. Later version(s) were uploaded by Miami33139 at en.wikipedia.
File:KKCity4.jpg  Source:  License: Creative Commons Attribution 3.0  Contributors: User:Flanegan
Image:KKCity.jpg  Source:  License: Creative Commons Attribution 3.0  Contributors: User:Flanegan
Image:Sandakan10.jpg  Source:  License: GNU Free Documentation License  Contributors: Kawaputra, WindowsSeven, 1
anonymous edits
File:Sabahdiviziondistrik.PNG  Source:  License: Public Domain  Contributors: Gryffindor, Kawaputra

Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported
http:/ / creativecommons. org/ licenses/ by-sa/ 3. 0/

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