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Federal Territory of Labuan
Wilayah Persekutuan Labuan
Federal Territory
Flag of Federal Territory of LabuanWilayah Persekutuan Labuan
Official seal of Federal Territory of LabuanWilayah Persekutuan Labuan
Motto: Maju dan Sejahtera
   Labuan in    Malaysia
   Labuan in    Malaysia
Coordinates: 5°19′13.16″N 115°12′40.42″E / 5.3203222°N 115.2112278°E / 5.3203222; 115.2112278Coordinates: 5°19′13.16″N 115°12′40.42″E / 5.3203222°N 115.2112278°E / 5.3203222; 115.2112278
Country Malaysia
Federal Territories Federal Territory
Made into
Federal Territory
16 April 1984
Capital Victoria
 • Administered by Perbadanan Labuan
Labuan Corporation
 • Chairman Datuk Rozman Datuk Hj. Isli
 • Total 91.64 km2 (35.38 sq mi)
Population (2010)[2]
 • Total 86,908
 • Density 950/km2 (2,500/sq mi)
Time zone MST (UTC+8)
 • Summer (DST) Not observed (UTC)
Area code(s) 087
Vehicle registration L
SL(before FT)
Brunei Sultanate 19th Century
Crown Colony 1848
Administered by BNBC 1890
Joined into The Straits Settlements 30 October 1906
Japanese occupation 1941-1945
Joined North Borneo 15 July 1946
Part of Sabah and Malaysia 1963

Labuan /ləˈbən/ is a federal territory off the coast of Borneo in East Malaysia. It is made up of the homonymous Labuan Island and six smaller islands, and is located off the coast of the state of Sabah. Labuan's capital is Victoria and is best known as an offshore financial centre offering international financial and business services via Labuan IBFC since 1990 as well as being an offshore support hub for deepwater oil and gas activities in the region. It is also a tourist destination for people traveling through Sabah, nearby Bruneians and scuba divers. The name Labuan derives from the Malay word labuhan meaning harbour.


Labuan was once a part of the Sultanate of Brunei. In the 1840s the previously uninhabited island was proposed as a base for British operations against piracy in the South China Sea. In 1846, the Sultan of Brunei Omar Ali Saifuddin II signed a treaty and ceded Labuan to Britain in the same year. The island became a Crown Colony in 1848.[3] The first White Rajah of Sarawak, James Brooke was appointed first commander-in-chief and Governor of the territory. In 1849 the Eastern Archipelago Company became the first of many companies trying to exploit its coal deposits and establish it as a coaling station for the China trade. It later became a station for the submarine communications cable between Singapore and Hong Kong. In 1890, Labuan came to be administered by the British North Borneo Chartered Company. It was reverted to British government rule in 1904, then on 30 October 1906 joined to the Straits Settlements and administered from Singapore.

Mustang Aircraft of the No. 77 Squadron RAAF on Labuan airstrip.

During World War II, Labuan was occupied by Japan from December 1941 to June 1945 and governed as part of the Northern Borneo military unit by the Japanese 37th Army. Labuan was renamed Maida Island (Pulau Maida, 前田島 [Maeda-shima]) after Marquis Toshinari Maeda, the first commander of Japanese forces in northern Borneo. The liberation of Borneo began on 10 June 1945 when the Allied Forces under the command of General McArthur landed at Labuan with a convoy of 100 ships. The 9th Australian Division launched an attack supported by massive air and sea bombardments that resulted in the surrender of the Japanese. On 9 September 1945, General Masao Baba, commander of Japanese military, surrendered at the Layang-layang beach before Major General George F. Wooten, commander of Australian 9th Division Army. Labuan assumed its former name and was under British military administration along with the rest of the Straits Settlements, then joined to British North Borneo, on 15 July 1946, which in turn became a part of Malaysia as the state of Sabah in 1963.

Japanese Commander in Borneo, Lieutenant General Masao Baba on his way to sign the surrender document in Labuan.

In 1984, Labuan was ceded by Sabah to the federal government and made a federal territory. In 1990, it was declared an international offshore financial centre and free trade zone.

Postage stamps and postal history[edit]

1885 2c, used in 1891

A post office was operating in Labuan by 1864, and used a circular date stamp as postmark. The postage stamps of India and Hong Kong were used on some mail, but they were probably carried there by individuals, instead of being on sale in Labuan. Mail was routed through Singapore. From 1867, Labuan officially used the postage stamps of the Straits Settlements but began issuing its own in May 1879.

The first stamps of Labuan depict the usual profile of Queen Victoria but are unusual for being inscribed in Arabic and Chinese scripts in addition to "LABUAN POSTAGE". Perennial shortages necessitated a variety of surcharges in between the several reprints and colour changes of the 1880s. The original stamps were engraved, but the last of the design, in April 1894, were done by lithography.

Beginning in May 1894, the designs of North Borneo were printed in different colours, with "LABUAN" either engraved into the vignette or overprinted. On 24 September 1896, the 50th anniversary of the cession was marked by overprinting "1846 / JUBILEE / 1896" on the overprinted North Borneo designs. Additional overprints appeared through the 1890s. In 1899 many types were surcharged with a value of 4 cents.

A last Labuan-only design came out in 1902, depicting a crown and inscribed "LABUAN COLONY". After incorporation into the Straits Settlements in 1906, Labuan ceased issuing its own stamps, although they remained valid for some time. Many of the remainders were cancelled-to-order for sale to collectors and are now worth only pennies; genuine postal uses are worth much more.


The Federal Territory of Labuan comprises Pulau Labuan (Labuan Island – 87.52 km²) and six smaller islands Pulau Burung, Pulau Daat, Pulau Kuraman, Pulau Papan, Pulau Rusukan Kecil and Pulau Rusukan Besar. These have a combined total area of 91.64 km². The islands lie 8 km off the coast of Borneo, adjacent to the Malaysian state of Sabah and the independent state of Brunei Darussalam, on the northern edge of Brunei Bay facing the South China Sea. Pulau Labuan is mainly flat and undulating and its highest point is ms:Bukit Kubong at 148 meters from sea level. Over 70% of the island is still covered with vegetation. Victoria, aka Bandar Labuan in Malay, is the major town and faces Brunei Bay. Access is via ferry service to Brunei and Kota Kinabalu; or by air to Labuan Airport.

Labuan Island and outlying islands.


Labuan has a tropical rainforest climate with no dry season. Over the course of a year, the temperature typically varies from 25°C to 32°C and is rarely below 24°C or above 33°C. The warm season lasts from April 1 to June 13 with an average daily high temperature above 31°C. The hottest day of the year is April 29, with an average high of 32°C and low of 26°C. The cold season lasts from January 7 to February 17 with an average daily high temperature below 30°C. The coldest day of the year is September 8, with an average low of 25°C and high of 31°C.[4] The weather station for Labuan is located at Labuan Airport.

Thunderstorms are the most severe precipitation observed in Labuan during 60% of those days with precipitation. They are most likely around October 30, when it is observed during 53% of all days. Meanwhile, the relative humidity for Labuan typically ranges from 63% (mildly humid) to 96% (very humid) over the course of the year, rarely dropping below 53% (mildly humid) and reaching as high as 100% (very humid).[5]

Climate data for Labuan (Labuan Airport)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 30
Daily mean °C (°F) 27.3
Average low °C (°F) 24.6
Precipitation mm (inches) 175
Source: World Climates [6]


Labuan is the one of the federal government territories. The island is administered by the federal government through the Ministry of Federal Territories. Labuan Corporation is the municipal government for the island and is headed by a chairman who is responsible for development and administration of the island. Labuan has one representation in each for the lower house and upper house of parliament. Typically, the current member of parliament of Labuan will be appointed to become chairman of Labuan Corporation.

The island is represented in the lower house of parliament by MP Roszman Datuk Haji Isli and in the upper house by Senator Yunus Kurus. Below is the list of administrator of Labuan from 1847 to current date:

27 Nov 1847 - Nov 1852 James Brooke (b. 1803 - d. 1868)
1852 - 1856 Spenser St. John (b. 1825 - d. 1910)

Lieutenant Governor
1848 - 1850 William Napier
1850 - 1856 John Scott (b. 1814 - d. 1898)

1856 - 1861 George Warren Edwards
1861 - 1866 Jeremiah Thomas Fitzgerald Callaghan (b. c.1830 - d. 1881)
1866 - 1867 Hugh Low (b. 1824 - d. 1905)
1867 - 1871 John Pope Hennessy (b. 1834 - d. 1891)
1871 - 1875 Henry Ernest Gascoyne Bulwer (b. 1836 - d. 1914)
9 Aug 1875 - 1879 Herbert Taylor Ussher (b. 1836 - d. 1880)
1879 - 1881 Charles Cameron Lees (b. 1837 - d. 1898)
1881 - 1888 Peter Leys
1888 - 1890 Arthur Shirley Hamilton
1890 - 1906 North Borneo Governor
1906 - 1946 Straits States Governor

Deputy Governor
1906 - 1946 British Resident in Brunei

British Resident
1907 - 19.. M.S.H. McArthur
Feb 1917 - 1918 Geoffrey Edmund Cator (b. 1884 - d. 1973)
1918 - 1934 ....
1934 - 1936 A.D. York (b. 1907)
1936 - 1940 ....
1940 - 3 Jan 1942 A.H.P. Humphrey (b. 1911)

Japanese Commander
3 Jan 1942 - Mar 1945 ....
Mar 1945 - 10 Jun 1945 Hichiro Okuyama

British Residents
1945 - 16 Sep 1963 ....

Labuan Corporation Chairman
2001 - 2003 Dato' Othman Mohd Rijal (b. 1945)
2003 - 2008 Dato' Suhaili Abdul Rahman (b. 1961)
2008 - 2011 Datuk Ahmad Phesal Talib
2011 - 2013 Datuk Yusof Mahal
2013 - current YB roszman Datuk Haji Isli


Defence is the responsibility of the federal government, with naval patrol vessels, a garrison and an air detachment based on the island. The vigilance of the local Coast Guard and Customs and Excise contribute to the maintenance of Labuan's reputation and status as an international offshore financial centre and free trade zone.


Religion in Labuan - 2010 Census[7]
Religion Percent
No religion

According to Malaysia's Department of Statistics, Labuan population for 2010 was at 86,908 and it is projected to be at 91,300 for 2013.[8] The ethnic composition in 2010 in Labuan was: Brunei Malay and Kedayan (30,001), Kadazan Dusun (7,380), Bajau (6,300), Murut (701), Ethnic Chinese (10,014), Malaysian Indian (641), Other ethnic (19,727) and non-Malaysian citizen (12,144).

As of 2010 Census the population of Labuan is 76.0% Muslim, 12.4% Christian, 9.0% Buddhist, 0.4% Hindu, 2.1% follower of other religions, and 0.1% non-religious.

Labuan Ethnic Composition (2010)
Ethnic Group Ethnic Total
Bumiputera Brunei Malay & Kedayan 30,001
Kadazan Dusun 7,380
Bajau 6,300
Murut 701
Other Bumiputera 18,212
Non-Bumiputera Chinese 10,014
Indian 641
Other 1,515
Non-Citizen 12,144
Total 86,908


Labuan Financial Park complex.

The economy of Labuan thrives on its vast oil and gas resources and international investment and banking services. Labuan is a very much an import-export oriented economy. Virtually all of its commodities including crude oil, methanol, HBI, gas, flour, animal feed, sea products and ceramic tiles are exported either to Peninsular Malaysia or overseas. Raw materials, parts and equipments for industrial uses well as consumer products are imported. In 2004, the total value of Labuan's external trade reached RM 11.8 billion from only RM5.0 billion in 1995 for a net trade surplus of RM5.1 billion. Among its major trade partners are India, Peninsular Malaysia, Sarawak and South Korea. 65% of its exports are petroleum and gas-based products.[9]

The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Labuan is estimated at RM 3.63 billion in 2012 with a growth rate of 5.8 percent. Labuan GDP per capita in 2012 is RM 39,682. The total employment for Labuan is around 39,800 in 2012. The main economic sectors in Labuan is service and manufacturing which contributed 94.6 percent to the island GDP. The service sector consisted mainly of Finance and Insurance and Real Estate and Business Services. Meanwhile, the manufacturing sector consists mainly of oil and gas industry and support.[10]

The Labuan International Business and Financial Centre Labuan IBFC was created as Malaysia’s only offshore financial hub on October 1990 and was operating under the name of Labuan International Offshore Financial Centre (IOFC). At the time it was established to strengthen the contribution of financial services to the Gross National Product (GNP) of Malaysia as well as to develop the island and its surrounding vicinity. The jurisdiction, supervised by the Labuan Offshore Financial Services Authority or LOFSA, offers benefits such as 3% tax on net audited results or a flat rate of Malaysian Ringgit (MYR) 20,000 to trading companies; low operational costs; liberal exchange controls; and a host of other advantages including readily available, experienced and professional service providers. In 2010 the notion "offshore" was excluded from all the statutes of Labuan due to world pressure on the tax havens and offshores.

Since its inception, the jurisdiction has expanded to become a base for more than 6,500 offshore companies and more than 300 licensed financial institutions including world leading banks. Labuan IBFC is embarking on an aggressive growth strategy to become the premier international business and financial centre in the Asia Pacific region.

Labuan's business focus is on five core areas: offshore holding companies, captive insurance, Shariah-compliant Islamic Finance structures, public and private funds and wealth management. Labuan IBFC’s position is further enhanced by the launch of the Malaysian International Islamic Finance Centre initiative in August 2006.

Attractions and places of interest[edit]

Kwang Fook Kong Temple, built in 1952 by a group of migrants from Eu Jian, China are the oldest Chinese Temple in Labuan.

There are several attractions and places of interest on Labuan. The Labuan War Cemetery contains various war graves and memorials to the fallen of World War II. This includes British, Australian, Indian, Sarawakian, Bruneian, North Borneo and Empire troops, making it the largest war grave with 3,908 graves of fallen soldiers. A memorial service is held on Remembrance Day every year.

There is also a memorial celebrating the surrender of the Japanese to the Australian Forces in 1945. There are also remnants of Labuan's history as a Royal Navy Coaling station, including 'the chimney', a well known local landmark. There is also a Labuan Maritime Museum.

Labuan is also the base for diving on four popular wreck dives: the Cement wreck, the American wreck, (the first USS Salute), the Australian wreck and the Blue Water wreck.[11]

Labuan has many schools. However, it has only one international school, Labuan International School.[12] Other places of interest include the Labuan International Sea Sport Complex. Newly proposed is the Marina centre and Labuan Square project which are expected to be completed in next two years from 2008.

Labuan's own institution of higher education is Universiti Malaysia Sabah Labuan International Campus,[13] a branch of Universiti Malaysia Sabah in Sepanggar Bay, Kota Kinabalu. Labuan also has a matriculation college, Kolej Matrikulasi Labuan, the only matriculation college in East Malaysia. Thus, all pre-university students from Sabah, Sarawak and Labuan will take their courses here.


Administrative Subdivision[edit]

The territory of Labuan is subdivided into 4 division; north, south, west and the capital "Victoria" (east). There are 27 kampung (villages),[14][15] which are headed by appointed Ketua Kampung (headmen) and village committees.

Division Village
1 North Batu Manikar, Pohon Batu, Ganggarak / Merinding, Tanjung Aru, Lajau, Lubok Temiang, Bukit Kuda
2 West Layang-Layangan, Sungai Labu, Bukit Kalam, Kilan / Kilan Pulau Akar, Sungai Bangat
3 South Sungai Buton, Sungai Bedaun / Sungai Sembilang, Sungai Miri / Pagar, Belukut, Bebuloh, Sungai Lada
4 Victoria Town/East Pantai, Durian Tunjung, Batu Arang, Gersik / Saguking / Jawa / Parit, Patau-Patau 1, Patau-Patau 2, Sungai Keling, Rancha-Rancha, Nagalang / Kerupang

Notable people from Labuan[edit]

Labuan in popular culture[edit]

  • Labuan is often referred to as the pearl of Borneo
  • In the Sandokan series of novels by Emilio Salgari, Lady Marianna is referred to as the pearl of Labuan

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Laporan Kiraan Permulaan 2010". Jabatan Perangkaan Malaysia. p. 27. Archived from the original on 27 December 2010. Retrieved 2011-01-24. 
  2. ^ "Laporan Kiraan Permulaan 2010". Jabatan Perangkaan Malaysia. p. iv. Archived from the original on 27 December 2010. Retrieved 2011-01-24. 
  3. ^ [1][dead link]
  4. ^ "Average Weather for Labuan, Malaysia". Retrieved 2014-01-21. 
  5. ^ "Average Weather for Labuan". weatherspark. Retrieved 2014-01-21. 
  6. ^ "Labuan Climates". world climates. Retrieved 2014-01-20. 
  7. ^ "2010 Population and Housing Census of Malaysia" (in Malay and English). Department of Statistics, Malaysia. Retrieved 2012-06-17. 
  8. ^ "Demographic Indicator Malaysia 2013" (in Malays and English). DOS. Retrieved 2014-01-21. 
  9. ^ "Labuan Economy". Labuan Liberty Port Management. Retrieved 2014-01-20. 
  10. ^ "GDP by state, national accounts 2005-2012" (in English and Malay). Department of Statistic, Malaysia. Retrieved 2014-01-20. 
  11. ^
  12. ^ "School". Retrieved 2012-02-21. 
  13. ^ "Laman Web Rasmi Universiti Malaysia Sabah Kampus Antarabangsa Labuan". Retrieved 2012-02-21. 
  15. ^ email of the Territory Administration to wikipedia 2012-06-11

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]