Kota Kinabalu

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Kota Kinabalu
(Formerly, Jesselton)
亚庇
From top right clockwise: Tun Mustapha Tower, Wisma Tun Fuad Stephens, Wawasan Intersection, city center and 1Borneo.
From top right clockwise: Tun Mustapha Tower, Wisma Tun Fuad Stephens, Wawasan Intersection, city center and 1Borneo.
Flag of Kota Kinabalu(Formerly, Jesselton)亚庇
Flag
Official seal of Kota Kinabalu(Formerly, Jesselton)亚庇
Seal
Nickname(s): "Nature Resort City", KK, "City below the Wind"
Location of Kota Kinabalu in Sabah
Location of Kota Kinabalu in Sabah
Kota Kinabalu(Formerly, Jesselton)亚庇 is located in Malaysia
Kota Kinabalu(Formerly, Jesselton)亚庇
Kota Kinabalu
(Formerly, Jesselton)
亚庇
Kota Kinabalu is located in Malaysia
Coordinates: 5°58′17″N 116°05′43″E / 5.97139°N 116.09528°E / 5.97139; 116.09528Coordinates: 5°58′17″N 116°05′43″E / 5.97139°N 116.09528°E / 5.97139; 116.09528
Country  Malaysia
State  Sabah
Division West Coast
Settled by BNBC 1882
Declared capital of North Borneo 1946
Granted city status 2 February 2000
Government
 • Mayor Abidin Madingkir
 • Director-General Datuk Yeo Boon Hai
Area
 • City 351 km2 (136 sq mi)
Population (2012)
 • City 452,058
 • Density 1,463/km2 (3,790/sq mi)
 • Metro 628,725
  Sourced from the Population and Housing Census of Malaysia 2010. Kota Kinabalu metropolitan area including Penampang and Putatan population of 176,667.
Time zone MST (UTC+8)
Postcode 88xxx; 89xxx
Area code(s) 0882
Website www.dbkk.sabah.gov.my

Kota Kinabalu (Malaysian pronunciation: [ˈkota kinaˈbalu], Chinese: 亚庇; pinyin: Yàbì) formerly known as Jesselton,[1][2] is the capital of the state of Sabah, located in East Malaysia. It is also the capital of the West Coast Division of Sabah. The city is located along the northwest coast of Borneo facing the South China Sea. The Tunku Abdul Rahman National Park[3] lies on its west and Mount Kinabalu, which gave the city its name, is located towards the east. Kota Kinabalu has a population of 452,058[4] and, including the adjacent Penampang and Putatan district, the metro area has an estimated population of 628,725.[4]

Kota Kinabalu is often known as KK within Malaysia and internationally. It is a major fishing destination and a popular gateway for travellers visiting Sabah and Borneo.[2][5] Kinabalu National Park is located about 90 kilometres from the city and there are many tourist attractions in and around the city. Kota Kinabalu is also one of the major industrial and commercial centres of East Malaysia. These two factors combine to make Kota Kinabalu one of the fastest growing cities in Malaysia.[6]

History[edit]

Board of directors of BNBC, Sir Charles Jessel can be seen on the left.

Since 15th century, the area of Jesselton was under the influence of the Bruneian Empire.[7][8] In the late 1800s, the British North Borneo Company (BNBC) began to establish colonies throughout North Borneo.[9] In 1882, BNBC founded a small settlement in the area known as Gaya Bay, which was already inhabited by Bajau people.[10] The first settlement was on Gaya Island.[3] In 1897, this first settlement was burned and destroyed by the indigenous Bajau-Suluk freedom fighter Mat Salleh.[8]

Sir Charles Jessel, Vice-Chairman of the BNBC after which Jesselton (now Kota Kinabalu) was named.

After the destruction, BNBC decided to relocate the settlement to the more easily defended mainland at Gantian Bay (now Sepanggar Bay) in 1898.[11] However that location was found to be unsuitable and in July 1899, Mr. Henry Walker, a Land Commissioner, identified a 30 acres (12 ha) site opposite Gaya Island as a replacement for Gantian.[12] This fishing village named Api-Api (see Original names below) was chosen due to its proximity to the North Borneo Railway and its natural port that provided good anchorage, which was up to 24 feet deep.[3] By the end of 1899, construction had started on shoplots,[13] a pier and government buildings.[12] This new administrative centre was renamed Jesselton after Sir Charles Jessel, who was the then Vice-Chairman of BNBC.

Eventually, Jesselton became a major trading post of North Borneo, dealing in rubber, rattan, honey, and wax.[3][14] The North Borneo Railway was used to transport goods to the Jesselton harbour.[14] The Malay and Bajau uprisings during those times were not uncommon, and BNBC worked to quell the long-standing threat of piracy in the region.

Bomb damage at the town of Jesselton during World War II, this was part of the Borneo Campaign by Allied forces during 1945.

Jesselton suffered a large destruction when it was razed by the British to retreated from the Japanese and suffered more destruction when the Allies bombed it in 1945.[15] After the Japanese takeover of Borneo, it was again renamed Api. Several rebellions against the Japanese military administration took place in Api. One major rebellion occurred in 10 October 1943 by a group called Kinabalu Guerrillas, consisting of local inhabitants. Japanese forces quelled the rebellion after its leader, Albert Kwok, was arrested and executed in 1944.[16] At the later stages of the war, what remained of the town was destroyed again by Allied bombings day and night for over six months as part of the Borneo Campaign in 1945, leaving only three buildings standing.[3] The war in North Borneo ended with the official surrender of the Japanese 37th Army by Lieutenant General Baba Masao in Labuan on 10 September 1945.[17]

After the war on the edge of bankruptcy, the British North Borneo Company returned to administer Jesselton but was unable to finance the huge costs of reconstruction. They gave control of North Borneo to the British Crown on 18 July 1946. The new colonial government elected to rebuild Jesselton as the capital of North Borneo instead of Sandakan, which had also been destroyed by the war.[18] The Crown Colony administration designed a plan, later known as the "Colonial Office Reconstruction and Development Plan for North Borneo: 1948–1955”, to rebuild North Borneo. This plan provided £6,051,939 for the rebuilding of infrastructure in North Borneo.[19]

When Crown Colony of North Borneo together with Sarawak, Singapore and the Federation of Malaya formed the Federation of Malaysia in 1963, it became known as Sabah, and Jesselton remained its capital.[20] On 22 December 1967, State Legislative Assembly under Chief Minister Tun Mustapha bin Datu Harun passed a bill renaming Jesselton to Kota Kinabalu. The city was upgraded to city status on 2 February 2000.[20]

Etymology[edit]

"Kina Balu from Pinokok Valley" – lithograph published in 1862.

Kota Kinabalu is named after Mount Kinabalu, which is situated about 50 kilometres east-northeast of the city. Kinabalu is derived from the name Aki Nabalu meaning the "revered place of the dead." Aki means "ancestors" or "grandfather", and Nabalu is a name for the mountain in the Dusun language.[21] There is also a source claiming that the term originated from Ki Nabalu, where Ki meaning "have" or "exist", and Nabalu meaning "spirit of the dead".[22]

Kota is a Malay word for a "fort", "town", or a "city". It is also used formally in a few other Malaysian towns and cities, for example, Kota Bharu, Kota Tinggi, and Kota Kemuning. It can also be used informally to refer to any towns or cities. Hence, a direct translation of the name Kota Kinabalu into English would be "City of Kinabalu" or "Kinabalu City".

Wendy Law Suart wrote in her book on North Borneo, The Lingering Eye, "there is in the Sabah State Museum a Dutch map of Borneo and the Celebes dated 1657 in which the settlement where Jesselton was to stand is clearly labelled Api Api. It may have some connection with the seaside tree with breathing roots that bears the same name."[23]

Original names[edit]

Besides Jesselton, there have been a number of other theories regarding the origins of the original name for Kota Kinabalu. The most popular, as mentioned above, is Api-Api, or simply Api, which is a Malay word meaning 'Fire'.[3] There are claims, however, that Kota Kinabalu was actually named after a nearby river called Sungai Api-Api. In Chinese, the city is still known as 'Api', which is the Hakka pronunciation for 亚庇 (Simplified Chinese; Traditional Chinese: 亞庇; Pinyin: yà bì).

Besides Api-Api, another suggested historical name is Deasoka, which roughly means "below the coconut tree" in the Bajau language.[24] The Bajau locals purportedly used this name to refer to a village in the southern part of the city which was filled with coconut trees. Another name was Singgah Mata which literally means "transit eye", but can be loosely translated as "pleasing to the eye". It is a name purportedly given by fishermen from Gaya Island referring to the strip of land which today is downtown Kota Kinabalu.[25] Today, all these names have been immortalised as names of streets or buildings around the city. Some examples are Lintasan Deasoka, Api-Api Centre and Jalan Singgah Mata.

Capital city[edit]

Location of Kota Kinabalu district and the city within the West Coast Division of Sabah.
A rough map of Kota Kinabalu city and urban area. Blue lines indicate main roads, grey lines indicate railway lines, and pink dotted lines indicate district boundaries.

Being the capital city of Sabah, Kota Kinabalu plays an important role in the political and economic welfare of the population of the entire state. It is the seat of the state government where almost all of their ministries and agencies are based. Most of the Malaysian federal government agencies and departments are also located in Kota Kinabalu. The Sabah State Legislative Assembly is located at the nearby Likas Bay. There are four members of parliament (MPs) representing the four parliamentary constituencies in the city: Sepanggar (P.171), Kota Kinabalu (P.172), Putatan (P.173), and Penampang (P.174). The city also elects 9 representatives to the state legislature from the state assembly districts of Karambunai, Inanam, Likas, Api-Api, Luyang, Tanjung Aru, Petagas, Kepayan, and Moyog.[26]

Local authority and city definition[edit]

The city is administered by the Kota Kinabalu City Hall (Dewan Bandaraya Kota Kinabalu). The current mayor of Kota Kinabalu is Abidin Madingkir, who took over from Datuk Iliyas Ibrahim on 2 February 2011.[27] Datuk Iliyas in turn became the second mayor of the city after taking over from Datuk Abdul Ghani Rashid in 2006. The city obtained city status on 2 February 2000,[20] and prior to this it was administered by Majlis Perbandaran Kota Kinabalu (Kota Kinabalu Municipal Council/Kota Kinabalu Town Hall).

View over the southern city central business district, on the front a building that is still under construction.

The city is defined within the borders of what is the district, formerly the municipality, of Kota Kinabalu. With an area of 351 square kilometres, it is the smallest but the most populous district in Sabah.[28] It encompasses Tanjung Aru and Kepayan in the south, up to Telipok and Sepanggar in the north. The urban expanse of the city however extends into the district of Penampang[29] on the south of the city border, which includes the towns of Donggongon and Putatan. The combined area of Kota Kinabalu (district) and the contiguous built up areas in Penampang and Putatan is known as Greater Kota Kinabalu.[30] The district of Penampang has an area of 466 square kilometres, and is administered by Majlis Daerah Penampang (Penampang District Council).[31]

On one end of the scale, Kota Kinabalu may sometimes only refer to, especially by local inhabitants, the city centre or central business district near the sea facing Gaya Island. On the other end of the scale, it may also refer to the metropolitan area which includes urban Kota Kinabalu (Greater Kota Kinabalu), and the surrounding towns of Papar and Kinarut in the south, and Tuaran and Tamparuli in the north, being within its zone of influence.

Geography[edit]

View of Likas Bay at dawn. On the far right is Mount Kinabalu.

Kota Kinabalu is located on the west coast of Sabah. The city lies on a narrow flatland between the Crocker Range to the east and the South China Sea to the west. There are six islands off the coast of the city. The largest is Gaya Island, the site of the first British settlement. Approximately 8,000 people live there.[32] The smaller islands, mainly uninhabited, are named Sapi Island, Manukan Island, Sulug Island, Mamutik Island and Sepanggar Island to the north.[33] Sepanggar island is located north of the National Park opposite Sepanggar Bay.

Sunset over Kota Kinabalu in the evening.

Flat land is at a premium in the city centre, and there is a strict limit to the height of buildings: the airport is 7 km (4 mi) away, and the city is directly in the flight path. Most of the Central Business District (CBD) today is built on land reclaimed from the sea.[3] The original local plant life has largely disappeared, but several hills within the city (too steep for building) are still clothed with tropical rainforest. One of these is Signal Hill, which confines the CBD to the shore. In the area of Likas Bay, the remnants of an extensive mangrove forest was nearly lost.[34] In 1996, a perceptive state government stepped in and declared 24 acres (9.7 ha) of the forest as a protected area. This forest is now known as the Kota Kinabalu City Bird Sanctuary. The sanctuary was given additional protection as a State Cultural Heritage Site in 1998.[34]

Moro dwellings off the coast of Gaya Island.

The five islands (of Gaya, Sapi, Manukan, Sulug, Mamutik) opposite the city, and their surrounding waters, are also preserved as the Tunku Abdul Rahman National Park.[3] The park was named in honour of the first Prime Minister of Malaysia, Tunku Abdul Rahman. The park is a popular recreational spot for tourists and local people.[35] The Kota Kinabalu city centre, consisting of mostly businesses and the government, includes Karamunsing, the port area (Tanjung Lipat), Signal Hill, Kampung Air, Sinsuran, Segama, Asia City, Gaya Street (Old Town), Bandaran Berjaya, Api-Api, Sutera Harbour and Sembulan. Outlying neighbourhoods and residential suburbs include Kepayan Ridge, Tanjung Aru, Petagas, Kepayan, Lido, Lintas, Nosoob, Bukit Padang, Luyang, Damai, Likas and Kolombong. The city is growing steadily and the urban sprawl extends to the towns of Inanam, Menggatal, Sepanggar, Telipok and south of the district border to Penampang, Putatan, and Lok Kawi.[36]

Kota Kinabalu is generally isolated from the rest of the country; it is located about 1,624 kilometres (1,009 mi) from Kuala Lumpur in Peninsular Malaysia[37] and 804 kilometres (500 mi) from Kuching in the neighbouring state of Sarawak.[38]

Climate[edit]

Coconut trees on the roadside, tropical rainforest climate in Kota Kinabalu.

As part of Sabah area, Kota Kinabalu features a typical equatorial climate with constant temperature, considerable amount of rain and high humidity.[39] Two prevailing monsoons characterise the climate of this part of Sabah are the Northeast Monsoon and the Southwest Monsoon. The Northeast Monsoon occurs between November and March, while the Southwest Monsoon occurs between May and September. There are also two successive inter-monsoons from April to May and from September to October.[39]

During the 1995–2004 period, Kota Kinabalu's average temperature ranges from 26 °C to 28 °C.[40] April and May are the hottest months, while January is the coolest one.[39] The average annual rainfall is around 2,400 millimetres[40] and varies markedly throughout the year. February and March are typically the driest months while rainfall peaks in the inter-monsoon period in October.[41] The wind speed ranges from 5.5 to 7.9 m/s during the Northeast Monsoon but is significantly lower to 0.3 to 3.3 m/s during the Southwest Monsoon.[42]

Climate data for Kota Kinabalu (1971–2000)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 30.4
(86.7)
30.7
(87.3)
31.5
(88.7)
32.2
(90)
32.1
(89.8)
31.8
(89.2)
31.5
(88.7)
31.6
(88.9)
31.4
(88.5)
31.2
(88.2)
31.0
(87.8)
30.9
(87.6)
31.4
(88.5)
Average low °C (°F) 22.9
(73.2)
23.0
(73.4)
23.4
(74.1)
24.1
(75.4)
24.3
(75.7)
24.0
(75.2)
23.7
(74.7)
23.7
(74.7)
23.7
(74.7)
23.6
(74.5)
23.5
(74.3)
23.3
(73.9)
23.6
(74.5)
Rainfall mm (inches) 104.8
(4.126)
73.4
(2.89)
50.5
(1.988)
114.2
(4.496)
216.2
(8.512)
279.4
(11)
262.7
(10.343)
270.3
(10.642)
285.2
(11.228)
345.8
(13.614)
302.4
(11.906)
242.3
(9.539)
2,547.2
(100.283)
Avg. rainy days (≥ 1.0 mm) 8 7 6 8 12 13 13 13 14 16 17 13 140
Mean monthly sunshine hours 187.7 194.8 233.4 245.3 228.8 197.6 204.9 196.7 180.7 191.9 192.5 197.5 2,451.8
Source #1: World Meteorological Organisation[43]
Source #2: NOAA (sun, 1961–1990)[44]

Demography[edit]

There have not been any official or popular adjectives, or demonyms, to describe the people of Kota Kinabalu. A simple way to describe the people of the city can be "orang KK", where orang means "person" or "people" in Malay. The terms "K.K-ites"[6] and "K.K-ians" have also been used to a limited extent. People from Sabah are called Sabahans.[45]

Ethnicity and religion[edit]

The Malaysian Census 2010 Report indicates that Kota Kinabalu has a population of 452,058.[46] The city's population today is a mixture of many different races and ethnicities. Non-Malaysian citizens form the majority of the city population with 110,556 people followed by Chinese (93,429), Bajau (72,931), Kadazandusun (69,993), other Bumiputras (59,607), Bruneian Malays[47] (35,835), Murut (2,528), Indian (2,207) and others (5,482).[46] The Chinese are mostly Hakkas and can be found mainly in the Luyang area. The area of Penampang is populated mainly by Kadazans, the Bajau are mainly reside in Likas, Sembulan and Karambunai while the Bruneian Malays can be found throughout the city. The Brunei Malays and Bajaus are Muslims. The Kadazans here mainly practice Christianity, whilst the Chinese are mainly Buddhists or Christians. There are a small number of Hindus, Sikhs, Animists, and a small number of secularists also exist.

There is also a sizeable Filipino population in the city. The first wave of migrants arrived in the late 15th century during the Spanish colonisation, while some are refugees arriving in the early 1970s because of the troubles in southern Philippines. A significant number of them today, however, consist of migrant workers arriving from the late 1970s onwards. Most of the earlier migrants have been naturalised as Malaysian citizens, however there are still some living without proper documentation in the city as illegal immigrants.[48] Most of the Filipino migrants are Suluks coming from the southern parts of Philippines.[49] The city also is a home to immigrants from Indonesia.[49]

Che Sui Khor Pagoda.

There is a small population of Indians, Pakistanis and Eurasians scattered around the city. More recently, the number of expatriates living in the city, whether temporarily or permanently, have also increased. Most of them come from South Korea, Japan, Australia, and Europe.

Interracial marriages are not uncommon and Kadazan-Chinese intermarriages are particularly common.[50] The mixed race offspring of Kadazan and Chinese are referred to as Sino-Kadazans or simply "Sinos".[50]

Languages[edit]

The people of Kota Kinabalu mainly speak Malay, with a distinct Sabahan creole.[45] However, as almost 50% of Kota Kinabalu residents are of Chinese descent,[51] Huìyáng Hakka dialect (Simplified Chinese: 惠阳客家话; Traditional Chinese: 惠陽客家話) and Mandarin are mainly spoken by the Chinese. Additionally, most Chinese are also able to speak the Cantonese dialect, although with widely varying levels of fluency. Almost all residents are also able to speak English, especially the younger generation. However, some find it difficult to speak fluently due to a limited vocabulary and the general lack of usage of the English language as a conversational lingua franca among Sabahans as a whole. While a number of English Private Schools for expatriates child can be found through the city.[52]

The number of Bahasa Kadazandusun speakers is thought to have dropped significantly throughout Sabah, especially in larger towns or cities like Kota Kinabalu. However, some effort has been taken by some to revive the usage of the language. Kadazan has been considered an endangered language, along with the culture of ethnic Kadazans.[53]

Economy[edit]

An oil terminal at Sepanggar Bay operated by Petronas.

Besides being the capital city, Kota Kinabalu is also the main industrial and commercial centre for Sabah. The economy is dominated by the primary sector of industry. Historically, the secondary sector dominated the economy, but due to rapid urbanisation and economic development, this sector of the economy is slowly diminishing. More recently, a move towards a more tertiary-based industry has become more apparent, especially with regards to the boom in the tourism industry.[5] Many state-level, national-level and international commercial banks, as well as some insurance companies have their headquarters or branches here.

The overseas Chinese population also contributes to the development of KK since their immigration in the late 19th century.[54] Their original role involved 'coolie' (slavery work) and today many Chinese work as shopowners.[54]

Gaya Street during the Chinese New Year, majority of shops in the city are owned by the Chinese.

A number of industrial and manufacturing companies also have plants here, especially in the industrial districts of Likas, Kolombong, and Inanam. The ongoing construction of the 8,320-acre (33.7 km2) Kota Kinabalu Industrial Park (KKIP) in Sepanggar is intended to boost the city's industrial and commercial activity, making it a major growth centre in East Malaysia, as well for the BIMP-EAGA (Brunei-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East ASEAN Growth Area) region.[55] Kota Kinabalu also hosts numerous national, regional and international conferences or trade fairs every year, including the biennial Sabah International Expo, the Asia Pacific eTourism Conference by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the ASEAN Australian Engineering Congress, and many others. These events are normally held at the Sutera Harbour resort.

Transportation[edit]

Land[edit]

The city highway.

The internal roads linking different parts of the city are generally state roads constructed and maintained by the state's Public Works Department.[56] Most major internal roads are dual-carriageways. One of the major roads here is Jalan Lintas-Jalan Tuaran Bypass, which together serves almost as a ring road, circling the city and connecting the districts and suburbs surrounding the city, namely Putatan, Penampang, Luyang, Likas, Inanam, Menggatal, Sepanggar, and Tuaran. There are currently no freeways in the city nor in any part of Sabah. The city is linked by highways to distant towns in Sabah, and these are mainly federal roads maintained by the national Public Works Department. Highway routes from Kota Kinabalu include:[57]

Public transportation[edit]

The City Bus Terminal (North) in Inanam serves long-distance buses towards the north and east of Sabah.

Regular bus services operate in the city. Minibuses or vans are also used besides buses as an alternative mode of public transport.[58] There are two main bus terminals in the central business area. The terminal along Jalan Tun Razak provide bus services towards different parts of the city and its outskirts. Another terminal near Bandaran Berjaya provides intercity services towards destinations south of the city (Papar, Tenom, Beaufort, and others). The North Kota Kinabalu Bus Terminal in Inanam provides intercity buses heading towards destinations north and north-east of the city (Tuaran, Kudat, Ranau, Sandakan, Tawau, Semporna, and others). Taxis can also be found in the city.[58]

Passenger seat on a train in Tanjung Aru station.

A railway system formerly known as the North Borneo Railway was established in 1896 by the British North Borneo Company.[14][59] It was built for the main purpose of transporting commodities from the Interior Division to the port in Kota Kinabalu during the British occupation.[14] The railway line connects Kota Kinabalu to Tenom and several other towns in between, and it is the only railway system operating in East Malaysia.[14][59] Today, the railway is known as the Sabah State Railway, and it provides daily services for commuters, travellers, as well as for cargo transportation.[14] A separate company operates the leisure tour also called the North Borneo Railway, which caters mainly for tourists. The train station and terminal is located in Tanjung Aru.[14]

Air[edit]

Kota Kinabalu International Airport (KKIA) (ICAO Code : WBKK) provides flights linking the city to other domestic and international destinations. It is the main hub for Malaysia Airlines and secondary for AirAsia which consists of two terminals. It is the second busiest airport in Malaysia after Kuala Lumpur International Airport and is one of the main gateways into Sabah and East Malaysia.[60] Some destinations include : Bandar Seri Begawan, Shenzhen, Seoul, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Hong Kong, Macau, Manila, Cebu, Singapore, Taipei, Kaohsiung, and other cities, both within and outside Malaysia. It is also a secondary hub for MASWings, which serves flights to smaller towns and rural areas in East Malaysia.

Sea[edit]

A ferry from Labuan at Kota Kinabalu Ferry Terminal.

Kota Kinabalu has two ports: Kota Kinabalu Port and Sepanggar Bay Container Port (SBCP). Kota Kinabalu Port mainly handles loose/bulk cargo, while SBCP operates as a naval base for the Royal Malaysian Navy, is an oil depot and handles containerised cargo.[61] In 2004, Kota Kinabalu Port handled about 3.6 million tonnes of freight cargo, the third highest in the state after Sandakan Port and Tawau Port.[28] It however handles the most number of containers in the state, with 153,793 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU) of containers handled in 2006. Sepanggar Bay Port will have the capacity to handle 200,000 TEU annually when its container terminal is completed.[62] All ports in Sabah are managed and operated by Sabah Ports Sdn Bhd.[63]

Kota Kinabalu Ferry Service is a passenger ferry terminal located at Jesselton Point near the KK port.[64] It provides ferry and motorboat services to the nearby islands for tourists as well as for commuters living on the islands. There are also regular scheduled ferry services to Labuan.[64]

Other utilities[edit]

Courts of law and legal enforcement[edit]

The city high court.
Sabah Police Headquarters.

The current court complex is located along Jalan Tugu.[65] It contains the High Court, Sessions Court, and the Magistrate Court.[66] Another court for the Sharia law were also located in the city.[67]

The Sabah Police Contingent Headquarters is located in Kepayan. There are two district headquarters in the city, the Kota Kinabalu District police headquarters located in Karamunsing, and the Penampang District headquarters. Both also operate as police stations. Other police stations are found in KKIA, Tanjung Aru, Putatan, and Menggatal. Police substations (Pondok Polis) are found in Luyang, Likas, Telipok and Babagon.[68] The city's traffic police headquarters is located along Lorong Dewan near Gaya Street, and the marine police headquarters is located near the city ferry terminal along Jalan Tun Razak.

Kota Kinabalu Central Prison is located in Kepayan.[69] Temporary lock-ups or prison cells are found in most police stations around the city.

Healthcare[edit]

Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

There are three public hospitals, six publics health clinic, two child and mother health clinics, six village clinics, one mobile clinic and six 1Malaysia clinics in Kota Kinabalu.[70][71] Queen Elizabeth General Hospital, which is located along Jalan Penampang and named after Queen Elizabeth II, is the largest public hospital in the state with 589 beds.[72] Built in 1957, it is the most important healthcare centre in the city and one of three general hospitals in Sabah. Another hospital is Hospital Pakar Likas (Likas Specialist Hospital). Hospital Mesra Bukit Padang (Bukit Padang Mental Hospital), which opened in 1971, provides psychiatric services for the entire state.

Sabah Medical Centre in Luyang is the largest private hospital with (134 beds) in Sabah. In addition, two other large private health facilities are Damai Specialist Center with (56 beds)[73] and Rafflesia Medical Center with (14 beds).[74]

Education[edit]

Kota Kinabalu Polytechnic.

There are many government or state schools in and around the city. Among the well-established and prestigious boarding schools in Sabah is Sekolah Menengah Sains Sabah, formally known as Sekolah Berasrama Penuh Sabah (SBPS), which is located at Bukit Padang.[75] Other secondary schools are Sekolah Menengah La Salle, Sekolah Menengah Shan Tao, Sekolah Menengah Taman Tun Fuad, Sekolah Menengah Likas, Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Perempuan Likas, Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan St. Francis Convent, Sekolah Menengah All Saints, Sekolah Menengah Stella Maris, Sekolah Menengah Saint Michael, Maktab Sabah, KK High School, Sekolah Menengah Lok Yuk, Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Agama Kota Kinabalu and Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Agama Tun Ahmadshah.[75] There are also a number of independent private schools in the city. Among them are Sabah Tshung Tsin Secondary School, Kian Kok Middle School, Maktab Nasional and Seri Insan Secondary School.[76] Classes usually begin at 7am and end at 1pm except for boarding schools, in which classes begins as early as 6.30am and end at 2pm. Children aged 7 must attend primary education, which consists of six years of learning, while those aged 13 can pursue their studies in lower secondary education for three years. After completing their Lower Secondary Examination, students enter Upper Secondary education, where they will be streamed into either the Science stream or the Arts stream based on their examination results. Students who choose to study at boarding schools will be placed into the Science stream. Currently, there are four boarding schools in Sabah.

UMS Chancellory Building.

There are two international schools teaching the British Curriculum. Sayfol International School Sabah teaches from kindergarten to the GCE 'A' Levels, which is taken at age 18 (pre-university).[77] Sayfol International School is the sister school of the established and highly successful Sayfol International School in Kuala Lumpur. Kinabalu International School (KIS) is part of the Federation of British International Schools in South and East Asia (FOBISSEA). Both English medium schools are located in Bukit Padang. Another international school is the Kinabalu Japanese School, one of four Japanese schools in Malaysia.[78] It caters to children's of Japanese expatriates working and living around the city.

Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS), founded in 1994, is the largest university in Sabah. Its main campus is located on a 999-acre (4.04 km2) piece of land, on a hill facing the South China Sea at Sepanggar Bay, about 10 kilometres north of the city centre. It also has a branch campus in Labuan. It is considered as one of the most beautiful universities in Malaysia.[79] The oldest university in Sabah is Universiti Teknologi MARA Sabah which was co-founded by UiTM and Yayasan Sabah in 1973. The university has been certified by the Kota Kinabalu City Hall as a litter-free university.[80] There are also a number of private colleges and one polytechnic operating in the city, which are Universiti Tun Abdul Razak, AlmaCrest International College, INTI College, Kinabalu Commercial College, Informatics College and Kota Kinabalu Polytechnic.[81] The established Public College Tunku Abdul Rahman is located in the Donggongon area. Many affluent residents send their children overseas to pursue either secondary or tertiary education.

Sabah State Library, the largest library in the state.

Libraries:

The Sabah State Library Headquarters is located off Jalan Penampang and is the largest library in the state. Other public libraries include the Kota Kinabalu City (Regional) Library, Penampang Branch Library and Menggatal Village Library. These libraries are operated by the Sabah State Library department.[82] Other libraries or private libraries can be found in schools, colleges, or universities.[70]

Culture and leisure[edit]

Attractions and recreation spots[edit]

Cultural[edit]

Sabah State Museum, the main museum of Sabah.

There are a number of cultural venues in Kota Kinabalu. The Sabah State Museum, situated near the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, is the main museum of Sabah.[3] In the vicinity of the museum are the Science and Technology Centre, Sabah Art Gallery, and the Ethno Botanic Gardens. Wisma Budaya Art Gallery in the city centre hosts some national as well as regional art exhibitions. The Hongkod Koisaan building in Penampang is home to the Kadazan-Dusun Cultural Association (KDCA).[83] It hosts the annual Kaamatan or Harvest Festival and the Unduk Ngadau beauty contest, which is held concurrently, in May. Monsopiad Cultural Village (Kampung Monsopiad) features cultural shows related to the Kadazan-Dusun culture. It is named after the legendary Kadazan-Dusun headhunting warrior, Monsopiad.[84]

Historical[edit]

Atkinson Clock Tower, one of the historical landmarks in the city.

The Padang Merdeka or Town Field is the site where the declaration of Sabah's independence and formation of Malaysia took place.[85] The declaration was announced by Sabah's first Chief Minister, Tun Fuad Stephens, on 16 September 1963, also known as Malaysia Day.[85] Today the site hosts the annual City Day celebration on 2 February, Merdeka Day celebration on 31 August, and a number of other celebrations and functions.

The Atkinson Clock Tower near Bandaran Berjaya was built by Mary Edith Atkinson in 1905 in memory of her son, Francis George Atkinson.[86] It was formerly used as a navigation aid for ships.[86] It is only one of three pre-World War II buildings to survive the war.[3] The Petagas War Memorial, located near KKIA, is a reminder of those who died when they went against the Japanese forces during World War II. It is situated at the place where the Kinabalu Guerillas were killed by the Japanese army in 1944. The Double Six Monument, located in Sembulan, is also a memorial to remember Sabah's first Chief Minister and six other state ministers who died on a plane crash known as the Double Six Tragedy on 6 June 1976.[87]

Leisure and conservation areas[edit]

The panorama of Sabah Golf & Country Club.

There are many leisure spots and conserved areas in and around Kota Kinabalu. Anjung Samudra (KK Waterfront) is a waterfront entertainment spot in the city centre which features restaurants, cafes, pubs, and a nightclub. The Royal Sabah Turf Club in Tanjung Aru hosts weekly horse racing events but has since closed and moved to Tambalang Race Course in Tuaran due to the expansion of Kota Kinabalu International Airport. The North Borneo Railway, which begins its journey from Tanjung Aru station, offers a scenic tour of the countryside in the West Coast Division and the Interior Division.[14] The railway journey ends in the town of Tenom.[14] Sutera Harbour Golf & Country Club near the city centre was built on reclaimed land.[3] It features a golf and country club, a marina, and two hotels.

Sunset at Tanjung Aru beach. Sulug Island can be seen on the left and Manukan Island on the right of the horizon.

Tanjung Aru, located about 6 kilometres from the city centre, is one of the beaches along the West Coast. Its name was derived from the casuarina trees (locally called Aru trees) that grow on the shoreline.[88] The beach is over 2 kilometres in length and is complemented with a number food and drink stalls, restaurants, and night entertainment clubs. In the vicinity of Tanjung Aru lies the Kinabalu Golf Club, Prince Philip Botanical Park, KK Yacht Club, and Shangri-La's Tanjung Aru Beach Resort. This beach is famous for its sunset.[89][90]

Located within the Likas Bay area is the Kota Kinabalu City Bird Sanctuary. With an area of 24 acres (9.7 ha), it is the only remaining patch of mangrove forest that once existed extensively along the coastal region of Kota Kinabalu.[91] It was conserved in September 1996 by the State Government to assist and foster a better understanding and awareness of the value of wetlands. The Sabah Zoological and Botanical Park (Lok Kawi Wildlife Park) in Lok Kawi, about 20 kilometres south of the city, is the first zoo in Sabah. Set on a 280-acre (1.1 km2) piece of land, it is arguably the largest zoo in Malaysia.[92] The Green Connection aquarium just outside the centre of KK showcases the fish, coral and reptile biodiversity of Sabah, with exhibits on many of the aquatic ecosystems of Sabah. At the Green Connection aquarium, there are 5 of the top 10 wildlife icons of Borneo like sharks, rays, coral, fish and snakes.[93]

The boardwalk in Kota Kinabalu at dusk.

Tun Fuad Stephens Park, located in Bukit Padang, is a popular jogging and hiking spot among locals. It is surrounded by forests and also features a man-made lake. It has a few food stalls and restaurants. Tunku Abdul Rahman Park is a National Park consisting of the islands of Sapi, Mamutik, Manukan, Sulug and Gaya.[3] It is a popular spot for snorkelling. The park is about a 15 to 30 minutes boat ride away from the city ferry terminal. Babagon River in Penampang and Kiansom Falls near Inanam are also popular places for picnics and leisure bathing.[94]

Outside the city, Crocker Range National Park, located about 70 kilometres away from the city near Keningau, is a popular spot for jungle trekking and camping. Kota Kinabalu is also the gateway to one of the most popular national parks in Malaysia, Kinabalu National Park.[95] The park is a two-hour drive away from the city and Mount Kinabalu, which is the 10th highest peak in South-East Asia and the highest in Malaysia, is located there. The Rafflesia Forest Reserve near Tambunan, which is 30 kilometres away from Kota Kinabalu, is also within the Crocker Range National Park boundary. The world's largest flower species, the Rafflesia, can be found there. The Gunung Emas Highland Resort, which is nearby, is another spot famous for its scenery and cool climate. The Tuaran Crocodile Farm, about 30 kilometres north of the city, has around 1400 crocodiles in its enclosure, making it the largest of its kind in Sabah.[96]

The Sabah State Mosque, one of the other sights in the city.

Other sights[edit]

The Tun Mustapha Tower (formerly Sabah Foundation Building) is about a 10-minute drive from the city centre. This 30-storey glass building is supported by high-tensile steel rods, one of only three buildings in the world that is built using this method.[97]

Other buildings and sites in the city are the stilt villages found in the areas of Sembulan, Tanjung Aru, Kampung Likas, and Kampung Pondo in Gaya Island.[98] These houses are built on shallow coastal waters and are homes for the Bajau and Suluk inhabitants.[99]

The Sabah State Mosque in Sembulan is the main mosque in the city. The City Mosque on Likas Bay is another significant landmark in the city.

The Signal Hill Observatory near the CBD offers a scenic view of the city centre, the islands, and the sea.[3]

Shopping[edit]

Suria Sabah during the 2013 Chinese New Year celebrations, this is also one of the shopping malls in the city.

Kota Kinabalu also features a number of shopping malls. These include Kompleks Karamunsing, Centre Point, Wisma Merdeka, Warisan Square, Plaza Wawasan, Kompleks Asia City,[3] City Mall, KK Plaza, Suria Sabah and 1Borneo, which is the largest hypermall in Kota Kinabalu.[100] Newly constructed malls in Kota Kinabalu include the Suria Sabah Shopping Mall, which currently holds GSC Kota Kinabalu, and Megalong Shopping Mall, which is situated in the district of Penampang.[58] Karamunsing, where Kompleks Karamunsing is situated, is an area that has more computer shops per capita than anywhere else in Sabah.[101] The weekly Gaya Street Sunday Market features a gathering of local hawkers selling a wide range of items from traditional ethnic cultural souvenirs to pets and flowers.[102] The Kota Kinabalu Handicraft Market (formerly known as the Filipino Market) features vendors selling traditional handicrafts, souvenirs and foodstuffs.[103]

Entertainment[edit]

Golden Screen Cinemas which is located at Suria Sabah Shopping Mall.

There are four cinemas in Kota Kinabalu: 2 Golden Screen Cinemas (commonly known as GSC), Growball Cineplex and Megalong Cineplex. One of the GSC cinemas is located at Suria Sabah Shopping Mall,[104] while the other is located at 1Borneo.[105] Both GSC cinemas hold eight cinema halls each.[106] 1Borneo HyperMall and Sutera Harbour Marina have bowling alleys and pool tables.[107]

Sports[edit]

An aerial view of Likas Sport Complex with Likas Stadium, which is the home stadium for Sabah FA.

The Likas Sports Complex in Kota Kinabalu provides various sporting and recreational facilities for public use.[70] It has, among others, a 20,000-seater football (soccer) stadium,[108] badminton, tennis, and squash courts, a gymnasium, an Olympic size swimming pool, a driving range, hockey fields and a new Youth Challenge park consisting of an international standard skate park and indoor climbing centre. It is the largest sports complex in the state and has hosted numerous national as well as international sporting events.[70] Likas Stadium is the home stadium of Sabah FA, also known as SabaHawks. There is another sports complex in Penampang which also has a full-sized football stadium.

There are four golf courses in Kota Kinabalu, namely the Sabah Golf and Country Club in Bukit Padang, Kinabalu Golf Club in Tanjung Aru, Sutera Harbour Golf and Country Club, and Karambunai Golf and Country Club.[109]

Kota Kinabalu has hosted a number of national sporting events such as the 2002 Sukma Games, international tournaments such as the 1994 Karate World Championships[110] and the 2008 BWF Super Series Masters Finals badminton tournament.[111] It is also the starting point of the annual international Borneo Safari 4x4 Challenge.[112] Kota Kinabalu has been one of the circuits for the F2 Powerboat UIM World Cup Series in December every year since 2007.[113]

Music[edit]

Kota Kinabalu is home to one of Asia's favourite jazz festivals, the KK Jazz Festival. It has become an annual event.[114] International performers such as Son2nos (Venezuela), award-winning Korean jazz diva Nah Youn Sun, Hong Kong's Junk Unit, Malaysia's Double Take, Atilia and Mood Indigo from UK have all previously performed at the festival.[115]

BandWidth Street Press Magazine is Kota Kinabalu's only free monthly magazine that promotes local Sabah music. The magazine was launched in March 2009, and was supported by the local government and was referred by Sabah's Minister of Culture, Environment & Tourism, YB Datuk Masidi Manjun, as a publication that will introduce and promote new local musicians while serving up the latest information on the local entertainment scene.[116]

Notable people[edit]

Political
Entertainment
  • Che'Nelle: R&B singer based in Australia.[120]
  • Jerone Paul: Malaysian DJ and the winner of The Best New DJ of The Year 2009/2010 by Choons Awards. (From Penampang, which is also part of the city suburb).[121]
  • Norayu (Ayu) Damit: Malaysian singer and the season 2 One in a Million winners. (From Putatan, which is also part of the city suburb).
  • Roger Wang: Guitar acoustic.[122]
  • Stacy Anam: The season 6 and one of the most successful Akademi Fantasia winner.[123] (From Penampang, which is also part of the city suburb).
Sports

International relations[edit]

Several countries have set up their consulates in Kota Kinabalu, including Australia,[124] Brunei,[125] Denmark,[126] France,[127] Finland,[128] Indonesia,[129] Japan,[130] Romania,[131] Slovakia,[132] Sweden[132] and the United Kingdom.[133][134]

Sister cities[edit]

Kota Kinabalu currently has five sister cities:

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Footnotes[edit]

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