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District and Town
Other transcription(s)
 • Simplified Chinese 古达
 • Traditional Chinese 古達
Welcome signboard at the southern entrance to Kudat town.
Welcome signboard at the southern entrance to Kudat town.
Location of Kudat
Kudat is located in Borneo Topography
Coordinates: 6°53′N 116°50′E / 6.883°N 116.833°E / 6.883; 116.833Coordinates: 6°53′N 116°50′E / 6.883°N 116.833°E / 6.883; 116.833
Country  Malaysia
State  Sabah
Division Kudat
 • Commissioner Sebastian Lim
Population (2010)
 • Total 83,140
Website www.sabah.gov.my/pd.kdt

Kudat is a town in the state of Sabah, East Malaysia, not far from the Northern Tip of Borneo. It serves as the administrative centre of the Kudat Division, which includes the towns of Kudat, Pitas and Kota Marudu, as well as the islands of Balak, Balambangan, Banggi, Bankawan, Guhuan Utara (North Guhuan), Kalampunian and Malawali. It is located in the northern part of Sabah, approximately 190 kilometres (120 mi) north of Kota Kinabalu, the state capital. It is bordered to the west by the South China Sea, and to the east by the Sulu Sea.


Kudat, 1890.
Kudat, 1890.

The town was founded by A H Everett of the British North Borneo Company on 7 December 1881 to be the first capital of British North Borneo, due to its strategic geographic location. However, after being repeatedly raided by Bajau, Sulu and Illanun pirates, in 1883 the capital was shifted to the more secure port of Sandakan, on the east coast. Kudat was predominately settled by Hakkas who were brought from China to clear the land for coconut plantations. Many worked on the plantations, but others established small farms of their own.[1]

Kudat main street, 1910.

During World War II, the Japanese Imperial Army built and maintained an air field here. The airfield was built by locals and forced labour from Java, Indonesia, using coral stones as a base. Many of the Indonesian labourers died from disease and hunger. In 1945, B-25 bombers of the United States Far East Air Force repeatedly bombed the air field and put it out of action. The current airfield, Kudat Airport, which has been operated by Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad since 1991, is built on part of the former military air field.


Kudat Waterfront.
Kudat Clock Tower.

Kudat is not a well known location for foreign visitors, however, there is a notable modern beach resort near the town, Kudat Golf and Marina Resort, which offer good foods and accommodation. The resort and the adjoining golf course was built on reclaimed land done in the 1970s by the then Chief Minister of Sabah Tun Datu Mustapha. The late Tun Mustapha was from Limau-Limauan, a village across the bay from Kudat town. The Kudat Golf CLub, founded in 1906, is the oldest golf club in Borneo. It is currently an 18-hole par 72 championship course. Other attractions include tours to nearby Rungus longhouses, where traditional brass gongs and honey are produced, and to Tanjung Simpang Mengayau, the northernmost point of the island of Borneo.


Out of the total population of 83,140,[2] the largest ethnic group in Kudat is the Rungus, a sub-group of the indigenous Kadazan. About 10% of the population is ethnic Chinese (predominantly Hakka Chinese) and there are minorities of Bajau, Bugis, Ubian, Suluk, Dusun, Murut, and Malay. There is also a considerable number of unregistered illegal immigrants from the nearby Philippines, notably from the Sulu and Mindanao regions.


  1. ^ "Kudat Town". Tawau. 9 March 2014. Archived from the original on 16 June 2014. 
  2. ^ "Total population by ethnic group, administrative district and state, Malaysia, 2010" (PDF). Department of Statistics, Malaysia. 2010. Retrieved 3 May 2014. 

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