Sabah - formerly North Borneo, is a founding member of the Federation of Malaysia that came into being on 16th September 1963. The other members are Malaya, and Sarawak. Singapore was a member but had since ceased to be in the Federation since 1965.
Kuala Lumpur is the capital of the Federation. It is in Malaya now usually called Peninsular Malaysia.
Malaysia is geographically located in South East Asia. It is a founding member of ASEAN which stands for the Association of South East Asian Nations. The other members of ASEAN include the other South East Asian nations of Singapore, the Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand, Brunei, and Vietnam. Myanmar (Burma) had also been accepted as a recent member.
Sabah is in the island of Borneo, the third largest island in the world after Greenland in Europe and New Guinea. Sarawak is also in Borneo. Sabah and Sarawak share Borneo island with the Sultanate of Brunei and Kalimantan which is part of Indonesia.
Kota Kinabalu is the present capital. It is near the western coast of this land with its shores washed by the South China Sea. Its former name was Jesselton after Sir Charles Jessel considered the founder of the Jessel Town.
The name "Jesselton" is still preserved in the name of a hotel and a tourists landing point, namely, Jesselton Point.
Kota Kinabalu is taken from the word "Kinabalu" which is the name of the highest mountain in South East Asia, which is in the interior within the District of Ranau. (Note: "Kinabalu" comes from the word "Aki Nabalu.)
Not far away is the Kota Kinabalu International Airport by which people from all over the world can come and enjoy what this land has to offer. Tourists and travellers will not be disappointed when they visit this place, one of the most beautiful places on earth.
Kota Kinabalu had not always been the capital. Kudat and Sandakan had been made the capital at different times in the past.
The inhabitants of the land are the natives (sons and daughters of the soil) comprising the Kadazan people, Bajau and Murut. There is a substantial number of Chinese. There are Malays and Eurasians, too.
There is a group of people of mixed ancestry who others call peranakan. There are also the Sino-Natives of whom there are a substantial number of Sino-Kadazan.
There also thousands of Filipino refugees and a huge number of illegal immigrants, mainly from the Philippines and Indonesia. They are believed to be in the hundreds of thousands, if not millions. A contentious matter among politicians and the local inhabitants, it is an issue of public interest still awaiting a solution for the good of all.
Other than the capital city, Kota Kinabalu, there are large towns which include Sandakan, Tawau and Keningau. Smaller towns are found practically all over Sabah such as Papar, Tuaran, Tambunan, Lahad Datu, Kudat, Donggongon, Inanam, Putatan, Kota Marudu, Ranau, Kota Belud, Tenom, Beaufort and Sipitang.
The Sabah National Park that incorporates the majestic mountain of Kinabalu (Akinabalu) is a must for people to visit. For those who are more inclined for adventure, they can climb the mountain. For those who have a competitive spirit, they can compete in the annual Mt. Kinabalu International Climbathon Race. Others can enjoy a long warm dip in the Poring Hot Springs.
If you are interested in local culture, you can visit the long houses of Kudat, particularly Bavanggazo. Music lovers can join the meeting of cultures held about every year at the tip of Borneo.
What the Future holds in Store
This land is the home to people of diverse cultures and beliefs, who aspire to progress in tandem with the plan to make Malaysia a developed nation by 2020.
Mutual understanding and respect among the diverse people of the land is crucial in making this a reality.