feature of Sabah as the tallest mountain in South East Asia standing
at 4093 meters.
People: Sabah is a unique land, a melting
pot of many indigenous and immigrant groups. The population
comprises over 30 different races and over 80 different dialects,
each group having its own colourful culture, tradition, festival and
customs. The indigenous group include the Kadazan/Dusun, Bajau,
Murut, Rungus, Lotud, Brunei, Orang Sungei, Kadayan, Bisaya
and many other subgroups. The Chinese form the largest
Population: 2.52 million.
Capital: Kota Kinabalu City, the gateway to
the rest of Sabah, is also the State Capital. Kota Kinabalu or K.K.
as it is usually called, is relatively new as the original town was
destroyed during the Second World War.
Language: Bahasa Melayu (Malay) is the
official language, English is widely spoken, especially in business
and tourism circles. Other languages include Chinese dialects,
kadazan and several indigenous and dialects.
Religion: Malaysia's official religion is
Sunni Islam, but freedom of worship is respected. In Sabah, major
religions are Christianity (29%), Islam (26%) and Buddhism-Taoism
Government: Malaysia is a constitutional
monarchy, with a unique system of rotation of Kings, chosen every 5
years among nine state hereditary rulers (Sultans). Parliament is
elected every 5 years by universal suffrage and is headed by the
Prime Minister. Borneo, as every other state, has an elected
parliament headed by a Chief Minister.
Climate: Typical Equatorial Climate, daily
temperatures range between 23 c and 32 c throughout the year in ;the
lowlands. Rainfall is spread throughout the year, the wettest months
(Landas season) being from November to February. Depending on the
areas, rainfall averages between 2600 mm. and 4000 mm./year.
Flora & Fauna: About half of all
living species are found in south-east Asia's jungles, the Planet's
oldest. Borneo is still largely covered by primary jungles, many
under National Park Status. Famous species include the Rafflesia
Flower, Pitcher Plants, the Hornbill bird, the Orang Utan Ape and
the Proboscis monkey, all protected.
Economy: Commodity based economy, Sabah
being a major exporter of timber and agricultural products.
Manufacturing is rapidly increasing, the emphasis being on
processing of commodities and , for the future, electronics,
information technology and bio-technology. Tourism is in a rising
economy and main focus by the government.
Currency: Malaysian Ringgit (RM), very
stable and fully convertible, no restrictions on import or export.
Best to exchange at licensed money changers or banks, traveler
cheques and major credit cards widely accepted. USD 1.00 = RM 2.50
Working Hours: Government : 08:00 a.m. to
04:15 p.m., Private Sector : 09:00 a.m. to 05:00 p.m., Mondays to
Fridays, Saturday half day. All shops would be open between 10:30
a.m. and 05:00 p.m., Monday to Saturday, but many open earlier and
close later and are open on Sunday. Shopping complexes close at
Entry Regulations: Visa free entry for
holiday purposes (14 days to 3 months) is given to most
nationalities. Best to check with Malaysian Diplomatic Missions for
current situation. Passports must have 6 months validity.
Health Regulations: No vaccinations
required, unless coming form Africa or South America (Yellow Fever).
Most Tropical diseases eradicated, anti-malaria treatment not
indispensable, malaria cases very rare in Borneo (most occur in
logging camps and very remote areas).
Water: Safe to drink from the tap in towns.
Hotels and restaurants provide boiled water. Bottled mineral water
Electric Current: 220 V/50 cycles , in areas
not connected to the grid, generators are often used. Three pin
plugs (not American plugs).
Dress Code & Clothing: Casual dress is
the norm, light cotton clothing is recommended.
Shopping: Items such as films, batteries, torch lights, raincoats, slippers, etc. are available in all towns.
Indigenous handicrafts and textiles, potteries, antiques, etc. are
Safety: Borneo is probably one of the safest
places on earth, crime rate is low, there are few dangerous animals
in the jungles, general health is good, there are no earthquakes,
volcanoes or cyclones and there is political stability, racial
harmony and tolerance, no terrorism and no internal strife.
Fortunately, Sabah does not experience any natural disaster or calamities. In fact it is under the typhoon belt (thus the name
"Land Below The Wind") and is free from any climatic disturbances.