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Flag of Sabah Sabah Coat of Arms
flag coat of arms
Sarawak Labuan Sabah Johor Malakka Negeri Sembilan Putrajaya Kuala Lumpur Selangor Pahang Terengganu Kelantan Perak Perlis Kedah Thailand Singapur Brunei Indonesien Indonesien Indonesien Indonesien Indonesien Indonesien Indonesien Philippinen Philippinenmap
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abbreviation SBH
License Plate SA, SB, SD, SK, SS, ST, SU, SG
Capital Kota Kinabalu
Yang di-Pertua Negeri Sabah Juhar Hj Mahiruddin
surface 73,619 km²
population 3,117,405 inhabitants (2010)
Population density approx. 42 inhabitants / km² (2010)
languages Malay , English, Chinese and indigenous languages
Highest elevation Kinabalu (4095 m)
Longest river Sungai Kinabatangan (560 km)
Biggest island Banggi (441 km²)

Sabah ( Jawi :سابه, Pronunciation: [saˈbah] ; from Arabic صباح sabah , DMG ṣabāḥ  'tomorrow') is a federal state of Malaysia . Together with Sarawak it formsthe Malaysian part of the island of Borneo . Due to its location south (below) the Pacific typhoon belt, Sabah isalso known as the “land under the wind” ( Malay negeri di bawah bayu ).


Tanjung Simpang Mengayau , Borneo's northernmost point

Sabah is located on the northern tip of Borneo , thus north of the equator that runs through Borneo . It borders the state of Sarawak to the west and Indonesia to the south . The west coast is on the South China Sea , the north coast on the Sulu Sea and the east coast on the Celebes Sea . In Sabah there is also Borneo's northernmost point, Tanjung Simpang Mengayau , also known as the Tip of Borneo . Are offshore to the northeast, the Turtle Islands , the 1976 National Park Turtle Islands Park of Sabah was built.

In the west of Sabah are the three highest mountains in Malaysia, with 4095 m the Kinabalu is the highest in Southeast Asia, followed by the Trus Madi (2,642 m) and Tambuyukon (2,579 m). The rainforests are home to a wide variety of plants and animals. The Kinabalu National Park ( Mal. Taman Negara Kinabalu ) was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2000 because of the rich plant diversity and unique geological , topographical and climatic conditions .

The main rivers of Sabah are the Kinabatangan , Sungai Padas, Sungai Labuk, Sungai Segama, Sungai Kalabakan, Sungai Paitan and Sungai Sugut.

In the conflict over the Spratly Islands , Malaysia claims a total of twelve reefs to the south and currently occupies six reefs : Ardasier Reef , Dallas Reef , Erica Reef , Investigator Shoal , Mariveles Reef and Swallow Reef . Malaysia refers to the continental shelf argument ( Shelf of Sabah and Sarawak) or the 200-mile zone in its legal claims .


The area was settled by Austronesians 5000 years ago . During the 7th century the first known settlements were on the north-east coast of Borneo. In the 9th century trading with the Empire of China developed .

In 1881, Sabah was taken over by the North Borneo Chartered Company and came under European control. It formed the British Protectorate of British North Borneo . The first capital was Kudat in 1882, about 40 km from the northern tip of Borneo , which was already an outpost for trade with China during the Chinese Song Dynasty . After two years, Kudat was given up as the capital in favor of Sandakan due to the water shortage in this area . In the Madrid Protocol (1885) , an agreement between Great Britain , Germany and Spain, Spain waived in favor of Great Britain all claims in North Borneo that had previously been part of the Sulu Sultanate.

In World War II occupied Japanese forces north Borneo. The bombing by Allied forces devastated most of the cities, including Sandakan. The Japanese occupation treated the British and Australian prisoners of war with enormous brutality. All but 6 Australians died on the infamous Sandakan Death Marches . In 1946 British North Borneo was converted into a British Crown Colony .

The British Crown Colony achieved complete independence from Great Britain on August 31, 1963. 16 days later, on September 16, 1963, North Borneo united as the state of Sabah together with Sarawak and Singapore and the Malaya Federation, which has been independent since 1957, to form the new federal state of Malaysia.

The formation of the State of Malaysia led to tension with the Philippines , which claimed Sabah (part of the former Sultanate of Sulu ) as part of their national territory. They were supported by Indonesia, which finally recognized that they belong to Malaysia.

The territorial conflict over the affiliation of Sabah (" North Borneo Disput ") flared up again in February 2013, when in the so-called Lahad Datu Standoff about 200 uniformed and partly armed supporters of the Sultan of Sulu in Kg. Tanduo, about 130 kilometers west of Lahad Datu landed village and demanded a renegotiation of the membership of Sabah to the Sultanate of Sulu.


Sabah has a population of 3.1 million people (as of 2010). The population is growing rapidly, mainly due to illegal immigration from the southern provinces of the Philippines. 32 different ethnic groups live in the country. Including 13.2% Chinese speaking different Chinese dialects. The Kadazan-Dusun form the largest indigenous community, followed by Bajau and Murut. The national language Bahasa Malaysia is spoken with a special twist. The radio has programs in the indigenous languages ​​Kadazan, Dusun, Bajau and Murut.

In addition to the Islamic population, there is a large proportion of people of Christian faith (Roman Catholic and Protestant) in Sabah compared to the states on the Malay Peninsula.

Administrative structure

Sabah administrative areas and districts

The state of Sabah is divided into five areas (divisions) . This in turn into districts (districts) divided.

Area (division) surface District (district)
West Coast Division 07,588 km² Kota Kinabalu , Ranau , Kota Belud , Tuaran , Penampang , Putatan , Papar
Interior Division 18,298 km² Beaufort , Kuala Penyu , Sipitang , Tenom , Nabawan , Keningau , Tambunan
Kudat Division 04,623 km² Kota Marudu , Kudat , Pitas
Sandakan's Division 28,205 km² Beluran , Kinabatangan , Sandakan , Tongod
Tawau Division 14,905 km² Kunak , Lahad Datu , Semporna , Tawau


After the Second World War, Sabah's economy first shifted to the logging and export of tropical timber, which led to increasing overexploitation of natural forests. Since 1982 there have been ecological approaches to preserve the remaining rainforest areas, as the rainforest was further cut down by the palm oil boom. The large-scale land use by oil palm - plantations made this industry the dominant industry in Sabah. In addition, fishery products and vegetables are exported.

Tourism is the second source of income in the country. A release station for orangutans in the southeast near Sandakan is a tourist attraction . The Kinabalu , the highest mountain in Southeast Asia, is a popular destination for foreign mountaineers. Well-known diving grounds are located on the east coast.

Many of Sabah's residents are migrant workers in mainland Malaysia, Singapore, Australia and the United States. Sabah has hardly any jobs in industry and administration for skilled workers. At the same time there are many migrant workers, especially from the Philippines and Indonesia, an estimated half a million, most of whom live in the country as illegals. They are mainly active in the oil palm plantations.

public holidays

In addition to the national holidays for all of Malaysia, Sabah celebrates its independence from Great Britain on August 31. This independence day is known as Negara Sabah Merdeka and should not be confused with the nationwide Hari Malaysia on September 16, which commemorates the founding of Malaysia. However, it coincides with Hari Merdeka , Malaysia's national holiday, which commemorates the independence of the Malaya Federation on August 31, 1957.

See also


Web links

Commons : Sabah  - collection of images, videos and audio files
Wikivoyage: Sabah  Travel Guide

Individual evidence

  1. Jephrin Zefrinus Wong: Current Information On Inland Capture Fishery In Sabah, Malaysia ( Memento of the original from February 1, 2012 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. (PDF; 400 kB) Department of Fisheries Sabah, Malaysia, 2003; Retrieved January 22, 2012 @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  2. Malaysia's Sovereignty Claim Based on Continental Reef Principle .; Retrieved January 16, 2012
  3. ^ The race of the Southeast Asian states for the Spratly Islands ; Retrieved January 16, 2012
  4. Philippines / Annexation: Purchase from the Sultan . In: Der Spiegel . No. 40 , 1968 ( online ).
  5. United Nations Treaty Registered No. 10760, Agreement relating to Malaysia between United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Federation of Malaya, North Borneo, Sarawak and Singapore ( Memento of July 28, 2011 in the Internet Archive )
  6. United Nations Treaty No. 8029, Manila Accord between Philippines, Federation of Malaya and Indonesia (31 July 1963) ( Memento from January 11, 2012 in the Internet Archive )
  7. No. 8809, agreement relating to the implementation of the Manila Accord. ( Memento of August 14, 2011 in the Internet Archive ) United Nations Treaty Series
  8. ^ United Nations list of Non-Self-Governing Territories: North Borneo and Sarawak
  9. United Nations Member States
  10. Michael Lim Ubac, Tarra Quismundo: PH seeks 4 more days . Philippine Daily Inquirer, Feb. 23, 2013; Accessed February 23, 2013
  11. Mike Frialde: Sultanate of Sulu wants Sabah returned to Phl . The Philippine Star, February 23, 2013; accessed on February 23, 2013
  12. Manila sends naval ships to prevent spillover . Daily Express, February 23, 2013; accessed on February 23, 2013
  13. Population Distribution by Local Authority Areas and Mukims, 2010 (Census 2010) (PDF; 368 kB), p. 369
  14. Areas and Counties of Sabah. (English) accessed on June 3, 2011

Coordinates: 5 ° 30 '  N , 117 ° 0'  E