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District and Town
Other transcription(s)
 • Chinese 丹南
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.

Tenom is a town located within the eponymous district in the Interior Division of Sabah, east Malaysia on the island of Borneo. In the early days of British colonial rule in Malaysia, the town was called Fort Birch.

The fertile land in Tenom and the surrounding area has made it primarily an agricultural area. The main crops in the area include soy beans, maize, vegetables and cacao. The town is considered the unofficial capital of the Murut community, whose most important festival, the annual Pesta Kalimaran (Kalimaran Festival), is held in the town. It is also the main gateway to other areas within the Murut heartland.


In 2010, the population of Tenom was estimated to be around 55,553.[1] The principal ethnic groups are the Murut (60%), Chinese (20%), Malay (10%), Kadazan-Dusun (8%), and Lun Bawang/Lun Dayeh (5%).

Tenom is one of the oldest Chinese settlements in Sabah. The majority of Chinese residents in the town are Hakka Chinese, many of whom are descended from settlers who migrated from Longchuan in Guangdong, China. These settlers, who were mostly agriculturalists, were drawn to Tenom due to its rich soil.

In the center of Tenom is a statue to Ontoros Antonom (1885–1915), who in 1915 led the Muruts against British colonists in the Rundum district of Tenom. The incident is now known as the Rundum Revolt.


Among the primary tourist attractions in the district are the Sabah Agricultural Park (Lagud Seberang Agriculture Research Station), the Tenom Orchid Centre and the Murut Cultural Centre. The town is also known in the tourism industry for whitewater rafting on the Padas River and the coffee factory.

Tenom is the final stop on the North Borneo Railway, which originates in Kota Kinabalu.


  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