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District and Town
Tenom town centre.
Tenom town centre.
Official seal of Tenom
Location of Tenom
Tenom is located in Borneo Topography
Coordinates: 5°08′0″N 115°57′0″E / 5.13333°N 115.95000°E / 5.13333; 115.95000
Country  Malaysia
State  Sabah
Division Interior
 • Total 2,238 km2 (864 sq mi)
Population (2010)
 • Total 55,553
 • Density 25/km2 (64/sq mi)
Website www.sabah.gov.my/md.tnm www.sabah.gov.my/pd.tnm
Statue of Ontoros Antanom in Tenom.

Tenom is a town as well as a district located in Interior Division of Sabah, east Malaysia on the island of Borneo. The town was called Fort Birch in the early colonial period. Its population was estimated to be around 55,553 in the year 2010.[1]

There are two famous villages are allocate here such as kg Chinta Mata, kg Baru Jumpa, kg Kuala Tomani.The principal ethnic groups are Murut (60%), followed by Chinese (20%), Malay (10%), Kadazan-Dusun (8%),and Lun Bawang/Lun Dayeh (5%). Most of the Chinese in Tenom are of Hakka descent. More specifically, most are descended from migrants who came from the county of Longchuan in Guangdong, China. Tenom, which is one of the oldest Chinese settlements in Sabah, with its rich and fertile land attracting many of the early Chinese migrants, specifically the Hakkas who, by tradition, were mainly agriculturalists. Today, the area is still primarily an agricultural zone, with soy beans, maize, vegetables and cacao being the major crops. Tenom is one of Sabah's more scenic interior locations, with the Crocker Range towering impressively immediately behind town. It is also known as the "gateway to Murut country". The annual festival of the Murut community known as Pesta Kalimaran is held in Tenom.

In the center of Tenom is a statue to Ontoros Antonom (1885–1915), who led the Rundum Revolt of the Murut people against the British colonists in the Rundum District of Tenom in 1915.

The Sabah Agricultural Park (Lagud Sebrang Agriculture Research Station), the Tenom Orchid Centre, Padas River rafting and the Murut Cultural Center are located outside of town.

Tenom is the final stop for passengers on the North Borneo Railway.

Fruits of Tenom[edit]

The Sabah Agricultural Park is located at Tenom as the town is fast developing into the fruit heart of Sabah. Every year without fail, between the closing end of December and the beginning of April, the town's main market place explodes into a frenzy of activities centring on the fruit trade. Farmers, fuit-pickers, fruit tree climbers, fruit truckers, distributors, middle-men, fruit trade financiers, retailers, etc. all rub shoulders and share in the bonanzas reaped from the buying and selling of fruits. Everything from the "king of fruits-durian" to the "queen of fruits-mangosteen" floods the market place. The flood of fruits such as langsat, duku, matakucing, etc. readily find buyers and none are wasted as bulk-buyers from far-flung cities and towns, such as Kudat, Lahad Datu, Beluran and Brunei converge on this small town to purchase and distribute to the many roadside stalls where the fruits are being sold to consumers at up to 600% markup price. As an example, 1 kilogram of durian "tembaga" purchased wholesale at RM2.00 at Tenom, would be retailed for RM12.00 to RM18.00 per kilo at a roadside stall in Lok Kawi Kota Kinabalu. So for the adventurous Korean or Chinese tourist, it would be worthwhile to take the train from Tanjung Aru and stay at one of the comfortable hotels in Tenom to feast on the fruits. Fruit traders and middle-men earn up to RM1,000.00 per day ensuring a 3 Tonne lorry from Kota Kinabalu or Lahad Datu loaded for the day at Tenom. The fruit truckers travel by night to ensure non-spoilage by heat. Expert fruit tree climbers are so in demand that even male teachers offer their expertise to climb and pick rambutans and langsat during off-days. Some earn up to RM200.00 per Sunday. The fruits comes from the outlying areas of Tenom, specifically Kemabong, Tomani, and Melalap. No doubt the vision of fruit cultivation on large scale originated with the immigrant Chinese farmers of old, who subsequently influenced the local Muruts and the localised immigrant Lundayehs to venture into this very lucrative activities. The first generation Chinese are mostly gone and their offspring are now residing in the cities having moved out to city-life. The fruit wholesale purchasers are however mostly Filipinos and buginese traders financed by big Chinese businessman in cities such as kota Kinabalu and Lahad Datu. All contribute towards making Tenom the future "Fruit Valley." Long term plan to connect the road from Tomani to the oil and gas city of Miri in Sarawak could further enhance the valley's fruit trade but might shift the centre of activity to the present small slumberous town of Kemabong. By about the end of February, the market would have about absorbed all the fruits from the surrounding Melalap and Saga area. This then shift the activities further inland towards the ulu Tomani area. The challenging terrain and road conditions posed caused the activities to move inland to the small Kemabong town. Harvesting of fruits close to the Kalimantan border where road communication is poor made it so difficult that the trading of fruits can only take place about midnight when the sellers emerges from the jungle after a day of harvesting. Buying and selling takes place under the dim light of the Dewan Ontoros. This is not a market for the faint hearted!


  1. ^ "Total population by ethnic group, administrative district and state, Malaysia, 2010" (PDF). Department of Statistics, Malaysia. 2010. Retrieved 3 May 2014. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 5°08′N 115°57′E / 5.133°N 115.950°E / 5.133; 115.950