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Sabah is a Malaysian state located on the northern portion of the island of Borneo. It is the second largest state in Malaysia after Sarawak, which it borders on its south-west. It also shares a border with the province of East Kalimantan of Indonesia in the south. In spite of its status as a Malaysian state, Sabah remains a disputed territory; the Philippines has a dormant claim over much of the eastern part of the territory. The capital of Sabah is Kota Kinabalu, formerly known as Jesselton. Sabah is known as "Sabah, negeri di bawah bayu", which means "Sabah, the land beneath the winds", because of its location just south of the typhoon-prone region around the Philippines.
1704 Sultan of Brunei cedes the lands east of Marudu Bay to the
Sultanate of Sulu.
1763 - 5 Mar 1775 Sultan of Sulu cedes Balambangan Islands and the Sabah
peninsula to British East India Company; Balambangan is
renamed Felicia Island.
1775 - 15 Jul 1946 Formally under the sovereignty of the Sultan of Sulu
(but from 1881 under British rule [see Philippines]).
1803 - Nov 1805 Second British attempt to settle Balambangan.
Nov 1865 - 1866 Failed American Trading Company settlement named Ellena in
North Borneo near the mouth of the Kimanis River.
26 Aug 1881 British North Borneo Charter Company rule.
12 May 1888 British protectorate (State of North Borneo)¹
18 Jan 1942 - 10 Sep 1945 Japanese occupation; part of Boruneo Kita (North Borneo)
(Brunei, British North Borneo, Sarawak and Labuan).
in May 1942 British Borneo divided into 4 Shu (provinces/states)
- Seikai-shu (western North Borneo); Kuching-shu (southern
Sarawak); Miri-shu (northern Sarawak and Brunei); and
Tokai-shu (eastern North Borneo); [Sibu-shu (central Sarawak)
Jul 1942 - Oct 1943?]; May - Jul 1942 Pontianak on the
west coast of Dutch Borneo was also briefly a Shu.
10 Sep 1945 - 5 Jan 1946 Australian military administration.
5 Jan 1946 - 15 Jul 1946 British military administration.
15 Jul 1946 British crown colony (British North Borneo [incl. Labuan]).
31 Aug 1963 Self-government granted.
16 Sep 1963 Joins Federation of Malaysia.
The region of present-day Sabah was part of the Sultanate of Brunei around the early 16th century. This was during the period when the Sultanate was at its 'golden era.' In 1658 the Sultan of Brunei ceded the northeast portion of Borneo to the Sultan of Sulu in compensation for the latter's help in settling a civil war in the Brunei Sultanate. In 1761 an officer of the British East India Company, Alexander Dalrymple, concluded an agreement with the Sultan of Sulu to allow him to set up a trading post in the region. This together with other attempts to build a settlement and a military station centering around Pulau Balambangan proved to be a failure. There was minimal foreign interest in this region afterward and control over most parts of north Borneo seems to have remained under the Sultanate of Brunei. Palawan, Philippines was once to be part of Sabah until Filipinos protested it last 1994 and claimed again its territory.
In 1865 the American Consul of Brunei, Claude Lee Moses, obtained a 10-year lease over North Borneo from the Sultan of Brunei. Ownership was then passed to an American trading company owned by J.W. Torrey, T.B. Harris and some Chinese merchants. They set up a base and settlement in Kimanis but this too failed due to financial reasons. The rights of the trading company were then sold to Baron Von Overbeck, the Austrian Consul in Hong Kong, and he later obtained another 10-year renewal of the lease. The rights were subsequently transferred to Alfred Dent, whom in 1881 formed the British North Borneo Provisional Association Ltd.
In the following year, the British North Borneo Company was formed and Kudat was made its capital. In 1883 the capital was moved to Sandakan to capitalise on its potential of vast timber resources. In 1888 North Borneo became a protectorate of the United Kingdom. Administration and control over North Borneo remained in the hands of the Company despite being a protectorate and they effectively ruled until 1942. Their rule had been generally peaceful except for some rebellions, including one led by the Suluk-Bajau leader Mat Salleh from 1894 to 1900, and another led by Antanum of the Muruts which is known as the Rundum resistance in 1915
Second World War and the road to independence
From 1942 to 1945 during the Second World War, Japanese forces occupied North Borneo. The Japanese forces landed in Labuan on January 1, 1942, and continued to invade the rest of North Borneo. Bombings by the allied forces devastated of most towns including Sandakan, which was totally razed to the ground. Resistance against Japanese occupation were concentrated on the west and north coast of North Borneo. The resistance in Jesselton was led by Albert Kwok and Jules Stephens of the Kinabalu Guerillas. Another resistance was led by Panglima Alli from Sulug Island, off the coast of Jesselton. In Kudat, there were also some resistance led by Tun Datu Mustapha. On October 10, 1943, the Kinabalu Guerrillas together with followers of Panglima Alli staged a surprise attack on the Japanese. The attack however was foiled. The 324 local residents who participated in the attacks, including Albert Kwok and Panglima Alli, were detained in Petagas and later executed on January 21, 1944. The site of the execution is today known as the Petagas War Memorial.
In Sandakan there was once a brutal POW camp run by the Japanese for the prisoner British and Australian servicemen from North Borneo. They raped the locals all the time. They suffered in agony in their first year of captivity under notoriously inhuman conditions, but much worse was to come through forced marches of January, March and June 1945 ( refer to Sandakan Memorial Park WWII POW Museum Records ). Allied bombardments caused the Japanese to relocate the POW camp to inland Ranau, 260 km away. All the prisoners, who by then were thinned down to 2504 in numbers, were to be moved, but instead of transport, were forced to march the infamous "Sandakan-Ranau Death March" route. Sickness, disease, exhaustion, thirst, hunger, whipping or shooting of the failed escapees killed their lot except for the six Australians who successfully escaped, were never caught and survived to tell the horrific story of the death march. The fallen of this march are commemorated each year on Anzac Day (Memorial Day) in Australia and in Sandakan, at the original POW campsite where a POW hut style museum and a black marble memorial obelisk monument are nestling in a leafy, lilly ponded and peaceful park setting.
When Japan surrendered at the end of the war, North Borneo was administered by the British Military Administration and in 1946 it became a British Crown Colony. Jesselton was chosen to replace Sandakan as the capital. The Crown continued to rule North Borneo until 1963. On August 31, 1963 North Borneo attained self-government. There was a call for complete independence on that date by it was denied by the British Governor who remained in power until Malaysia Day. The intention had been to form Malaysia on August 31 but due to objection from the Philippines and Indonesia, the formation had to be postponed to September 16. On September 16, 1963, North Borneo together with Malaya, Sarawak and Singapore formed the Federation of Malaysia and from then on, it became known as Sabah and declared independent from British sovereignty. To safeguard the interest of North Borneo in the new federation, a 20-point agreement was entered into between the federal and the state government.
The population of Sabah was 2,449,389 in 2000 and was the third most populous state in Malaysia after Selangor and Johor. It is estimated that Sabah's population has exceeded that of Johor with an estimated population of 3,400,000 in 2007. Sabah indeed has one of the highest population growth rates in the country.
* Kadazan-Dusun: 17.8%
* Bajau: 13.4%
* Malay: 11.5%
* Murut: 3.3%
* Other bumiputra: 14.6%
* Chinese (majority Hakka): 13.2%
* Other non-bumiputra: 4.8%
* Non-Malaysian citizen: 25%
Statistics of religion by state are not provided by the Department of Statistics Malaysia. Sabah has one of the highest populations of Christians (Roman Catholic and Protestant) living in Malaysia but this proportion is believed to have fallen due to Muslim immigration from Malaya and Indonesia. Religious breakdown (2000): Islam 63.7%, Christianity 27.8%, Buddhism 12%, No Religion 1.0%, Taoism/Confucianism 0.4%, Others 0.3%, Hinduism 0.1%, Unknown 0.3%.
The federal government of Malaysia officially recognizes 28 ethnic groups as being indigenous or bumiputra in Sabah:
* Orang Sungai
* Bisaya Beaufort
* Orang Cocos
* Chinese of mixed bumiputra parentage
* Sarawak indigenous groups
Governors of Balambangan
1763 - 1775 Alexander Dalrymple (b. 1737 - d. 1808)
1773 - 5 Mar 1775 John Herbert -Resident
1803 - Nov 1805 Robert Townsend Farquhar (b. 1776 - d. 1830)
Govenors of Ellena
Nov 1865 - 1866 Thomas B. Harris (b. 1826? - d. 1866)
+ Joseph W. Torrey (b. 1828 - d. 1883)
(titled Rajah of Ambong and Marudu)
Maharajah of Sabah and Rajah of Gaya and Sandakan
29 Dec 1877 - 26 Aug 1881 Alfred Dent (b. 1842 - d. 19..)
Chairmen of the British North Borneo Provisional Association, Ltd.
26 Aug 1881 - Apr/May 1882 Gustav Freiherr von Overbeck (b. 1830 - d. 1894)
+ Alfred Dent (s.a.)
+ Richard Charles Mayne (b. 1835 - d. 1892)
+ William Henry McLeod Read (b. 1819 - d. 1907)
Chairmen of the British North Borneo Chartered Company
Apr/May 1882 - 1893 Sir Rutherford Alcock (b. 1809 - d. 1897)
1893 - 1903 Richard Biddulph Martin (b. 1838 - d. 1916)
1903 - 1909 Sir Charles James Jessel (b. 1860 - d. 1928)
1909 - 14 Sep 1910 William Clark Cowie (b. 1849? - d. 1910)
Presidents of the British North Borneo Chartered Company
1910 - 1926 Sir Joseph West Ridgeway (b. 1844 - d. 1930)
3 Feb 1926 - 15 Jul 1946 Sir Neill Malcolm (b. 1869 - d. 1953)
26 Aug 1881 - 1887 William Hood Treacher (b. 1849 - d. 1919)
1887 - 1888 William M. Crocker
1888 - 1895 Charles Vandelleur Creagh (b. 1842 - d. 1917)
1895 - 1900 Leicester Paul Beaufort (b. 1853 - d. 1926)
1900 - 1901 Hugh Charles Clifford (b. 1866 - d. 1941)
1901 - 1903 Ernest Woodford Birch (b. 1857 - d. 1929)
1904 - 1911 Edward Peregrine Gueritz (b. 1855 - d. 1938)
1911 - 1912 Francis Robert Ellis (b. 1849 - d. 1915)
1912 F.W. Fraser (1st time)(acting)
1912 James Scott Mason (b. 1853 - d. 1912)
1912 - 1913 F.W. Fraser (2nd time)(acting)
1913 - 1915 Cecil William Chase Parr (b. 1871 - d. 1943)
1915 - 1916 F.W. Fraser (3rd time)(acting)
1916 - 1922 Aylmer Cavendish Pearson (1st time)(b. 1876 - d. 1926)
1919 F.W. Fraser (acting for Pearson)
1922 - 1925 Sir William Henry Rycroft (b. 1861 - d. 1925)
1925 - 1926 Aylmer Cavendish Pearson (2nd time)(s.a.)
Oct 1926 - 16 Dec 1929 John Lisseter Humphreys (b. 1881 - d. 1929)
1930 - 1933 Arthur Frederick Richards (b. 1885 - d. 1978)
1934 - 1937 Douglas James Jardine (b. 1888 - d. 1946)
1937 - 18 Jan 1942 Charles Robert Smith (1st time) (b. 1887 - d. 1959)
(Japanese prisoner 18 Jan 1942 - Aug 1945)
Japanese Military Governors
1941 - 1942 Kiyotake Kawaguchi (b. 1892 - d. 1961)
1942 Tsuda Yoshitake
11 Apr 1942 - 5 Sep 1942 Toshitame Maeda (b. 1885 - d. 1942)
5 Sep 1942 - 26 Dec 1944 Masataka Yamawaki (b. 1884 - d. 1974)
26 Dec 1944 - 10 Sep 1945 Masao Baba (d. 1947)
Governors of Seikai-shu
1942 - 1945 Kuji Manabu
1945 Kuroda Shigeru
Governor of Kuching-shu
194. - 1945 Sotojiro Tokuno
Governor of Miri-shu
194. - 1945 Kodama Roichi
Governors of Tokai-shu
1942 - 1945 ....
Governor of Sibu-Shu
Jul 1943 - Oct? 1943 ....
Allied Military Governors
10 Sep 1945 - Jan 1946 Sir Thomas Charles Eastick (b. 1900 - d. 1988)
Jan 1946 - 15 Jul 1946 Edward Cecil James Woodford (U.K.) (b. 1901 - d. 1988)
Chief Civil Affairs Officer for Borneo
10 Sep 1945 - 30 May 1946 Charles Frederick Cunningham (b. 1888 - d. 1969)
10 Sep 1945 - Nov 1946 Charles Robert Smith (2nd time) (s.a.)
Nov 1946 - 1949 Edward Francis Twining (b. 1899 - d. 1967)
1950 - 1954 Sir Herbert Ralph Hone (b. 1896 - d. 1992)
4 Mar 1954 - 1959 Sir Ronald Evelyn Turnbull (b. 1905 - d. 1960)
1959 - 1963 Sir William Allmond Codrington (b. 1907 - d. 1986)
Heads of State (title Yang di-Pertuan Negara; from 1976, Yang di-Pertua Negeri)
16 Sep 1963 - 16 Sep 1965 Tun Mustapha Harun (b. 1918 - d. 1995)
16 Sep 1965 - 16 Sep 1973 Datuk Pangeran Ahmad Rafai (b. 1907)
16 Sep 1973 - 28 Jul 1975 Tun Mohd Fuad Stephens (b. 1920 - d. 1976)
28 Jul 1975 - 12 Oct 1977 Datuk Mohamad Indan Kari (b. 1921)
(from 197., Tun Mohd Hamdan)
12 Oct 1977 - 25 Jun 1978 Tun Ahmad Koroh (b. 1925 - d. 1978)
27 Jun 1978 - 31 Dec 1986 Tun Datuk Mohamad Adnan Robert (b. 1917 - d. 2003)
1 Jan 1987 - 31 Dec 1994 Tun Mohamad Said Keruak (b. 1926 - d. 1995)
1 Jan 1995 - 31 Dec 2002 Tun Sakaran Dandai (b. 1930)
1 Jan 2003 - Datuk Ahmadshah Abdullah (b. 1946)
Chief ministers (title Ketua Menteri)
16 Sep 1963 - 31 Dec 1964 Donald Stephens (1st time) (s.a.) UPKO
1 Jan 1965 - 12 May 1967 Peter Lo Su Yin (b. 1923) SCA
12 May 1967 - 1 Nov 1975 Tun Mustapha Harun (1st time) (s.a.) USNO
1 Nov 1975 - 18 Apr 1976 Tun Mohamad Said Keruak (s.a.) USNO
18 Apr 1976 - 6 Jun 1976 Tun Mohd Fuad Stephens (2nd time) (s.a.) BP
6 Jun 1976 - 22 Apr 1985 Datuk Harris Salleh (b. 1933) UMNO/BP
22 Apr 1985 (hours) Tun Mustapha Harun (2nd time) (s.a.) USNO
22 Apr 1985 - 17 Mar 1994 Datuk (from 1986, Datuk Seri (b. 1940) PBS
Panglima) Joseph Pairin Kitingan
17 Mar 1994 - 27 Dec 1994 Tun Sakaran Dandai (s.a.) UMNO/BN
27 Dec 1994 - 28 May 1996 Datuk (from 21 Mar 1996, Datuk (b. 1957) UMNO/BN
Seri) Salleh Said Keruak
28 May 1996 - 28 May 1998 Datuk Yong Teck Lee (b. 1958) SAPP/BN
28 May 1998 - 14 Mar 1999 Tan Sri Bernard Dompok (b. 1949) PDS
14 Mar 1999 - 27 Mar 2001 Datuk Seri Osu Sukam (b. 1949) UMNO/BN
27 Mar 2001 - 27 Mar 2003 Datuk Chong Kah Kiat (b. 1948) LDP/BN
7 Mar 2003 - Datuk (from 11 Oct 2003, Datuk (b. 1951) UMNO/BN
Seri) Musa Aman
(acting for Chong to 27 Mar 2003)
12 May 1888 - 3 Jan 1942 the governors of the Straits
Settlements (see Singapore)
¹Gustav Freiherr von Overbeck (s.a.) was appointed Maharajah of Sabah and Rajah of Gaya and Sandakan by the Sultan of Brunei 29 Dec 1877 and Datu Bendahara and Rajah of Sandakan by the Sultan of Sulu 22 Jan 1878. In early 1881 Overbeck, Alfred Dent (s.a.), Richard Charles Mayne, and William Henry McLeod Read established the British North Borneo Provisional Association, Ltd. The British North Borneo Chartered Company (charter dated 1 Nov 1881) became the entity which, under U.K. protection and formal suzerainty of the Sultan of Sulu, constituted the State of North Borneo. The governors were appointed (with U.K. authorization) by the Chartered Company.
1. History of North Borneo, http://www.kinabaluweb.com/history.html
2. Sabah, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sabah