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Other transcription(s)
 • Chinese 京那律
Kinarut town centre and railway station
Kinarut town centre and railway station
Kinarut is located in Borneo Topography
Coordinates: 5°49′0″N 116°03′0″E / 5.81667°N 116.05000°E / 5.81667; 116.05000
Country  Malaysia
State  Sabah
Population (2010[1])
 • Total 18,029

Kinarut is a town in the state of Sabah, Malaysia. It is located about 20 kilometres south of the state capital, Kota Kinabalu, and Kinarut railway station is one of the stops on the Sabah State Railway. Kinarut is under the administration of the Papar district.


Several theories exist as to the etymological origins of the name 'Kinarut'. One such theory is that it refers to a street in the town which was formerly called China Road.[2] Another theory is that it originated from the Dusun word Kinorot which means 'cutting using a knife'.


Colonial-era shoplots

Kinarut originally belonged to the Sultanate of Brunei. In the late 17th century, when Sultan Abdul Hakkul Mubin had to withdraw from Pulau Chermin (Chermin Island) during the Brunei Civil War, he built a base in Kinarut at a strategic location protected by two rivers.[3][4] He remained there for ten years as the Sultan of Kinarut, during which incidents of piracy in the surrounding seas decreased significantly. With help from the local Bajau and Dusun people, he managed to counter several attacks from Sultan Muhyiddin.[3]


A 2010 census estimated the population of Kinarut at 18,029. This population consists mainly of Bajaus, Bruneian Malays, Kadazans and Chinese (of whom most are Hakka Chinese) [1][5] There is also a large Filipino refugee settlement in Kinarut, which has reportedly caused ethnic tension among locals.[6][7]


Ruins of Kinarut Mansion

Kinarut is noted for its weekly tamu, an open air market dominated by native sellers which is held every Saturday. It is also close to Dinawan Island, Lok Kawi Wildlife Centre and the Kinarut Mansion ruins.


  1. ^ a b Population Distribution by Local Authority Areas and Mukims, 2010 (Census 2010) Archived 14 November 2013 at the Wayback Machine. (PDF; 1,9 MB), Page 138
  2. ^ Richard Nelson Sokial: Colonial Townships in Sabah: West Coast, Homeland Publisher Sdn Bhd, 2012, Page 224-236, ISBN 978-983-40734-4-2
  3. ^ a b Malaysia in History. Malaysian Historical Society. 1956. 
  4. ^ Brunei (1968). Report. Printed at the Brunei Press. 
  5. ^ Wanderlust. "Kinarut Weekend Getaway". New Sabah Times. Archived from the original on 13 February 2015. Retrieved 21 March 2014. 
  6. ^ "Did the police walk into a trap in Semporna?". Free Malaysia Today. 3 March 2013. Retrieved 23 August 2013. 
  7. ^ "Kinarut's Philippine Refugee Settlement (Map)". WikiMapia. Retrieved 21 March 2014. 

Coordinates: 5°49′N 116°03′E / 5.817°N 116.050°E / 5.817; 116.050