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For the federal constituency represented in the Dewan Rakyat, see Sipitang (federal constituency).
District and Town
Esplanade Sipitang in Sipitang town.
Esplanade Sipitang in Sipitang town.
Official seal of Sipitang
Location of Sipitang
Sipitang is located in Borneo Topography
Coordinates: 5°05′0″N 115°33′0″E / 5.08333°N 115.55000°E / 5.08333; 115.55000
Country  Malaysia
State  Sabah
Division Interior
Population (2010)
 • Total 34,862

Sipitang is a town, district and also a parliamentary constituency in Interior Division, Sabah, Malaysia. The population of the district was 12,076 in 1980[1] and 24,349 in 1991. In 2000, the population grew to 29,256 while in 2010, 34,862.[2][3] It is the closest town in Sabah to the Sarawak border, and is 44 kilometres south of Beaufort and 144 kilometres south of Kota Kinabalu, the state capital.

Other than the Sipitang town center; Sipitang district is further divided into 3 sub-division; i.e. Mesapol, Sindumin and Melamam. Mesapol comprises at least 14 villages, which includes Kampung Melalia, Kampung Lubok Darat and Kampung Naluyan. Sindumin has 22 villages, among others are Kampung Mengalong, Kampung Banting and Kampung Siputol. Meanwhile, Malamam consists of at least 20 villages, e.g. Randulang, Long Mio and Long Pasia.[4]


Sipitang was a territory of the Brunei sultanate before 1884. On 5 November 1884, the Brunei Sultan ceded his territory, from Sipitang to Kuala Penyu, to British North Borneo Company (BNBC).[5] It is alleged that this agreement was met after excessive bribery by the BNBC Governor, William Treacher to the Sultan's court.[6]

Sultan of Brunei granted his territory, from Sipitang River to Trusan River, to BNBC on 7 September 1901.[7] In relation to that, BNBC acquired the area of Mengalong and Merantaman (now in Sipitang district) on 12 September 1901, through a grant by Pangiran Tengah Damit ibni al-Marhum Pangiran Anak Bongsu,[8] of his tulin right on those areas.[9] The acquisition of these areas was done separately because lands such as these are owned individually by Pangirans (princes and nobles) through their tulin right and therefore are independent of the authority of the sultan.[6]

Until 1900, the Sipitang River marked the frontier between British North Borneo and the Brunei sultanate. The acquisition of land from Sipitang River to Trusan River in 1901 led to the creation of a station in Sipitang under the administrative area called Clarke Province (named after Sir Andrew Clarke). This station came into being mainly for the purpose of seeking further cession of territories. Nevertheless, complications in the following years led to the reselling of some lands, and the demarcation receded to the present day Sabah-Sarawak border, near Mengalong (now Sindumin).


Sipitang district is located at the southwest portion of the state of Sabah. It is located between latitude 4°7' and 5°10' North and between longitude 115°25' and 115°37’ East. It spans an area of approximately 273,249.69 hectare.[10]

Sipitang district is located within a national and international route. Southern Sabah Federal Route 1 of the Pan Borneo Highway passes through this district, hence it can be reached from Beaufort from the north, Tenom from the east and Lawas, Sarawak from southwest. At the same time, the coastline stretches 16 km off Brunei Bay and is an entry point for travellers from Brunei Darussalam and Labuan Territory.

The district has a long coastline and has 4 main rivers flowing through it, that is the Lukutan river, Sipitang river, Mengalong river and Padas river.

The Crocker Range can also be seen from this district as it crosses the district from south to southwest. The presence of small hills and flat lands near the coastal area is one of the main reasons for the frequent floods in Sipitang during the monsoon season. This topography has also influenced the temperature and rainfall distribution of the district. At lower lands less than 1,524 meters, the temperature is around 28 °C – 34 °C, while the rainfall distribution in the lowlands is much lower than the highlands.

The geography of Sipitang depends on the area;

Kampung Banting Kampung Merintaman Kampung Pengiran Omar Kuala Mengalong Bandar Sipitang
Rain forest and village Forest and small village Forest which is near the river bank and a village Unknown Town and forest


Climate data for Sipitang
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 30
Average low °C (°F) 25
Average precipitation mm (inches) 136.5


The major economic activities in Sipitang district are timber related. A pulp and paper mill plant was constructed in 1987 and is operated by Sabah Forest Industries, currently a subsidiary of Indian company, Ballarpur Industries Limited. Generally, these activities does not directly benefit the locals. Most of the locals are involved in subsistence farming and fishing.

The town is set to become one of Sabah's oil and gas industry centre following the state government's decision to build an oil and gas industrial park in Sipitang [12] and the national oil company - Petronas's decision to build Sabah ammonia and urea plant in this town.[13] The urea plant is planned to double Petronas's current total production capacity of urea to 2.6 million tonnes per annum (mtpa),[14] while the ammonia plant will produce 740,000 million metric tons per annum.[15]

Culture and Leisure[edit]


Sipitang town hosts the biennial GATA (Gasing and Tamu Besar) festival since 2003. This festival features cultural events such as traditional games, music and dance performances, mainly of the predominant indigenous group in Sipitang district, that is the Kedayan, Lundayeh/Lun Bawang, Murut and Brunei Malay.

Leisure and Conservation area[edit]

A 10 million project for the construction of an esplanade and a welcoming arch in Sipitang district was launched in 2007.[16] The esplanade and arch was completed in 2011.[17]

The villages of Long Pasia and Long Mio and their surrounding conservation area are located in Sipitang district. The Long Pasia area is one of the popular tourist destination in Sabah, which places among others, the Maga waterfall and Kerangas park.[18]

Other utilities[edit]


The first medical facility in Sipitang is a dispensary, established in the 1970s. This site was originally a rest house during the British colonial days. It provided limited medical services, among others are external patient service, maternal and infant care clinic, and tuberculosis and malaria control centre.

The current Sipitang Hospital is located off Sipitang-Mesapol road. It officially commenced operations on 10 April 1995.[19]


Sipitang Library.

As of 2012, there are 3 secondary schools in Sipitang; SMK Pengiran Omar, SMK Pengiran Omar II and SMK Padang Berampah. These schools are all located in the vicinity of Sipitang town.[20] There are also 25 primary schools distributed sparsely over the district of Sipitang.[21]


Sipitang branch library is located in Sipitang town. The library is operated by the Sabah State Library department.[22] Other libraries or private libraries can be found in secondary and primary schools in Sipitang.


Ethnic composition of Sipitang district in 2010 based on the Malaysia population census is as follows. The ethnic categorization in the official census is limited to 9 groups, as such, the predominant ethnic group in Sipitang such as Kedayan and Lun Bawang/Lundayeh are lumped as Other Bumiputra.[23]

  • Other Bumiputra - 13,724
  • Malay - 5,756
  • Murut including Lun Bawang/Lun Dayeh - 4,825
  • KadazanDusun - 3,988
  • Chinese - 1,265
  • Bajau - 972
  • Indian - 59
  • Others - 1419
  • Non-Malaysian Citizens - 3,756

A more localised demographic is given in Sidik (2004), which states that Sipitang district's population is 60% Kedayan, 25% Murut including Lun Bawang/Lun Dayeh, 5% Brunei Malay, and the remaining Chinese.[24]


  1. ^ Town and Regional Planning Sabah, ed. (2009), Town and Regional Planning Sabah, retrieved 12 September 2008 
  2. ^ Department of Statistics, Malaysia, ed. (2010), Population and housing Census of Malaysia 2010 - Preliminary Count Report (PDF), retrieved 7 August 2011 
  3. ^ "Total population by ethnic group, administrative district and state, Malaysia, 2010" (PDF). Department of Statistics, Malaysia. 2010. Archived from the original (PDF) on 27 February 2012. Retrieved 3 May 2014. 
  4. ^ Project USP 5 Perpustakaan Awam, ed. (2009), United Despite Being Far Apart, retrieved 5 June 2012 
  5. ^ State Attorney-General's Chambers. Sabah Laws., ed. (1884), British North Borneo Treaties. British North Borneo (note: Si Putong (sic) to Kwala Paniow (sic)) (PDF), retrieved 6 September 2008 
  6. ^ a b Haller Trost, R.; Schofield, C.; Martin, P., eds. (1994), The Brunei-Malaysia Dispute over Territorial and Maritime Claims in International Law, p. 12, retrieved 6 September 2008 
  7. ^ State Attorney-General's Chambers. Sabah Laws., ed. (1901), British North Borneo Treaties. British North Borneo, retrieved 6 September 2008 
  8. ^ Christopher Buyers, ed. (2001), Brunei Genealogy, retrieved 6 September 2008 
  9. ^ The National Archives, Kew, ed. (1901), Grant by Pengeran Pengah Damit of the tulin rights in Mengalong and Merantaman, retrieved 6 September 2008 
  10. ^ "Maklumat Am Destinasi Pelancongan Domestik". Pusat Perkhidmatan Ilmu Komuniti Sipitang. Retrieved 16 July 2012. 
  11. ^ "Sipitang, Malaysia Weather Averages". Retrieved 17 July 2012. 
  12. ^ Mariah Doksil, Borneo Post, ed. (2011), Oil, Gas Industrial Park in Sipitang, retrieved 6 September 2011 
  13. ^ Bursa Malaysia, ed. (2011), Petronas Chemicals Up On Sipitang Plant, retrieved 6 September 2011 
  14. ^ John Loh, The Star, ed. (2011), Oil, Gas Industrial Park in Sipitang, retrieved 16 July 2012 
  15. ^ Ahmad Faiz Dato’ A Rahman, ed. (2012), Prime Minister Officiates Groundbreaking for SAMUR Project (PDF), retrieved 18 July 2012 
  16. ^
  17. ^ Borneo Post, ed. (2011), Arch greets visitors to Sipitang GATA, retrieved 6 September 2011 
  18. ^ Outfitters Borneo Sdn Bhd, ed. (2011), Welcome to Long Pasia, retrieved 6 September 2011 
  19. ^ "Pengenalan Hospital Sipitang". Ministry of Health, Malaysia. Retrieved 16 July 2012. 
  20. ^ "Sekolah Menengah/Secondary School". Retrieved 16 July 2012. 
  21. ^ "Sekolah Rendah/Primary School". Retrieved 16 July 2012. 
  22. ^ "Perpustakaan Cawangan Sipitang". Sabah State Library Online. Retrieved 16 July 2012. 
  23. ^ Department of Statistics, Malaysia, ed. (2010), Taburan Penduduk dan Ciri-ciri Asas Demografi (PDF), retrieved 6 September 2011 
  24. ^ Sidik, Amde., ed. (2004), Writing from the tip of Borneo. iUniverse., p. 81 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 5°05′N 115°33′E / 5.083°N 115.550°E / 5.083; 115.550