Jurisdiction Project

Sabah (Malaysia)

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 with on its south-west. It also shares a border with the province of East Kalimantan of Indonesia in the south. Sabah is known as "the Land Below the Wind" because geographically it is situated below the typhoon and monsoon belt.

Sabah's terrain is rugged, with Mt. Kinabalu, at 4,101 metres, dominating the surrounding landscape. It has a wide diversity of flora and fauna, as well as one of the world's largest rainforests. It occupies about 10% of the island of Borneo with a land area of 74,000 sq.km(excluding the island of Labuan).

Sabah is located at the northeast corner of Borneo.

Latitude and Longitude:
5.15 North 117.0 East

Time Zone:
GMT +8

Total Land Area:


Sabah has an equatorial climate. Temperatures rarely rise above 32°C (90°F) except on exceptionally hot days, and along the coastal areas rarely drop below 20°C (68°F) at night. Although in the interior and at higher altitudes it can get quite cold at night. Relative humidity is usually 85-95 per cent. Rainfall is common throughout the year, and varies from about 150 cm (60 inches) to over 450 cm (180 inches) per year. In most parts of Sabah the wetter period (or rainy season) occurs during the North East Monsoon from October to February and the drier season during the South West Monsoon from March to September, but often there is no really sharp division between the two. It is sufficient to say that on the whole, sunny blue skies are the norm but when it rains, the heavens open.

Natural Resources:
Sabah's economy was heavily dependent on timber export, but with the depletion of this natural resource and policies to save the rainforest in order to exploit it on a sustainable basis palm oil has become a major player in Sabah economy, next to tourism. Other agrarian products include rubber and cacao.


Total GDP:
2000 12,099,000.00 USD

Per Capita GDP:
1990 2,808.00 USD

% of GDP per Sector:
  Primary Secondary Tertiary
2002 43.7% % %

% of Population Employed by Sector
  Primary Secondary Tertiary
1991 246416% 49900% 268448%

External Aid/Remittances:
From the September 2007 Malaysian Federal Budget, under Regional Development: 80. The Government will continue to intensify efforts to further develop Sabah and Sarawak. A sum of RM4 billion is allocated to implement several projects to improve the quality of life in Sabah. Among the major projects are the construction of Jalan Kota Marudu-Ranau, Sandakan Northern Ring Road, upgrading of Jalan Kota Belud-Langkon, provision of rural health services, hospital facilities, low-cost housing, electricity and water supply, as well as upgrading of roads and railway.


Labour Force:
1991 619,000

Year: Unemployment Rate (% of pop.)
1990 8.9%
2000 5.6%

Palm Oil, rubber, cocoa

Niche Industry:

The Sabah Ninth Malaysia Plan (2006-2010) identified tourism as an important economic growth sector, geared towards making Sabah a developed state in Malaysia by year 2015. Currently, tourism is the second largest contributor to the economy. In 2006, 2 million tourists visited Sabah.


Imports and Exports:

Taken from the State budget, November 2007: For the economy of Sabah, the external sector will continue to be the main driver. Exports grew by 10 per cent in the first quarter of this year and this growth momentum is expected to continue in 2008 as world trade is forecast to pick up by 7.9 per cent from 7.1 per cent this year. With the world’s two fastest growing nations namely China and India as the State’s largest export destinations, the State’s exports growth will remain robust in the next few years. China, being the State’s largest export destination consumed about 20 per cent of the state’s total exports of RM6.7 billion in the second quarter of 2007, while India absorbed about 11 per cent (RM1.63 billion). In the second quarter of 2007, the state’s trade surplus has already reached about RM2.4 billion. Exports of palm oil alone amounted to RM5.0 billion representing 34.6 per cent of total exports of RM14.4 billion in the second quarter of 2007. Exports of palm oil alone rose to RM8.1 billion, an increase of 14.1 per cent from the year before buoyed by rising palm oil prices. The second highest item exported was crude petroleum valued at RM7.6 billion or 20 per cent of the state’s total exports. This was followed by exports of primary timber products, hot briquetted iron, methanol, rubber and cocoa beans.

Tot. Value of Imports 0.00 ()
From Eu:
Import Partners (EU:)
Partners Outside EU:
Import Partners:
Tot. Value of Exports ()
To Eu:
Export Partners:
Partners Outside EU:: China, India
Export Partners:
Main Imports: Mainly consumption goods including food, beverages, tobacco and vegetable oil
Main Exports: Palm oil (RM8.1B), crude petroleum (RM7.6B), primary timber products, hot briquetted iron, methanol, rubber and cocoa beans.



Number of Airports: 5
There are currently 6 airlines flying directly in Kota Kinabalu, the capital city.

Number of Main Ports: 8
For seafarers and sailors, there are marinas available around Sabah. The most prestigious is the Sutera Harbour Marina, located in the Sutera Harbour Resort complex in the south of the city. Other places to berth at Kota Kinabalu include the Tanjung Aru Marina, located at the Shangri-la Tanjung Aru Resort, and the Kota Kinabalu Yacht Club. Many sailors just berth in front of the city near the Waterfront Esplanade. More marinas around Sabah: Sandakan: Sandakan Yacht Club; Tawau: Tawau Yacht Club; Kudat: Kudat Marina & Golf Club. Labuan Island has another world class marina at the Labuan Waterfront Hotel. Labuan Island is also accessible by ferry from Kota Kinabalu city and from Menumbok town near Kuala Penyu and the Klias region. From Kota Kinabalu, there are two ferry departures to Labuan daily. The journey takes 3 hrs and costs around US$10 for a return trip.


Most major towns in Sabah have airports for domestic travel. Heli-charter is available from Sabah Air in Kota Kinabalu to some destinations on the islands, and also to Kundasang at the foot of Mt Kinabalu. The Layang-Layang Island is only accessible by air.

Traffic drives on the left.


Other Forms of Transportation:
Getting around in Sabah is easy. Depending on the destinations that you wish to visit, different modes of transport are available such as:-Car rentals, public transport, railway, boats and ferries, marinas, and air. There is one railway which connects Kota Kinabalu with Tenom on the west coast of Sabah.

Economic Zones:

Energy Policy:
Malasia is served by three electricity utilities, one of which is the Sabah Electricity Sdn. Board, in addition to various independent producers. (2001) 487.7MW capacity using a combination of gas, oil, hydro and diesel.

Year Total Energy Production (Mwh) Thermic (Mwh) Geothermic (Mwh) Other (Mwh) Total Energy Consumption (Mwh) Domestic (Mwh) Commercial (Mwh) Public Service (Mwh) Industry (Mwh) Public Lighting (Mwh)
2001 4,870 0 0 0 1,912 0 0 0 0 0


Official Currency:
Malaysian Ringgit (RM)

Banking and Insurance:
Number of Banks and Credit Unions:
Number of Agricultural Credit Unions:
Number of Insurance Companies:


Financial Services:


Public Ownership:
Taken from the State budget, November 2007: From the aspects of economic development, credit should be given to the rural women for their willingness to take up the challenge in making the micro credit scheme a success. This scheme is managed by Yayasan Usaha Maju with the objective to overcome poverty in the rural areas. The women have taken full advantage of the financial facilities provided to uplift the status and quality of life of their families, and have been able to repay the loans given with a good performance of up to 96 per cent. Our congratulations to Sabah women especially to those who have participated in the micro credit scheme. The cumulative loans which have been given out up to end of September 2007 amounted to RM15.69 million involving 3,825 borrowers, of which, 1,547 of them are from the poor and hardcore poor groups.

Land Use:
In Sabah, the law recognises that indigenous peoples have native customary rights over the lands they have been occupying and cultivating. Although such rights do not amount to ownership, they form the basis for a flexible arrangement that gives a degree of control to indigenous peoples over their lands.

Sabah's economy was traditionally heavily lumber dependent, based on export of tropical timber, but the increasing depletion of the natural forests and ecological efforts to save remaining natural rainforest areas has greatly decreased this economic activity. Palm oil has emerged as a more sustainable resource. Other agricultural products important in the Sabah economy include rubber and cacao.

Marine Activity:

Malaysia’s rivers and natural and man make lakes are home to over 300 species of freshwater fish of which around 40 species can be caught on rod and line. The prime freshwater sport fish include the ferocious Giant Snakehead, the fast running Malaysian Jungle Perch, the Giant Featherback, the massive fresh water Catfish and the elusive but powerful Malaysian Mahseer. The seas of Malaysia offer a wide diversity of depth, terrain and fish species. The west coast of Peninsula Malaysia is primarily a bottom fishing are. Depths rarely exceed 100 meters and quality table such as grouper, snapper and threadfin are the main quarry. Sailfish and Narrowbarred Mackerel are found seasonally while Giant Trevally and Barracuda are quite common catches. In contrast, the east coast of Peninsula Malaysia, off the distant Island of Aur, Pemanggil and Tioman is home to big game fish, the Black Marlin being the most famous. Other game fish include Sailfish, Giant Trevally, Dolphinfish (Mahi-Mahi), Cobia, Mackerel and Barracuda. The Marlin of Malaysia’s east coast average between 50kg to 150kg. The Borneo coast of the South China Sea also offer also offer excellent big game fishing with the island of Labuan being centrally located to these prime fishing areas. The east coast of Sabah bordering the Sulu and Sulawesi seas, with water over 2000 metres in depth, boast both excellent bottom fishing around reef areas and top class game fishing with Marlin, Sailfish, Yellowfin, Bigeye and Dogtooth Tuna.

Marine Life:

Critical Issues:


Kota Kinabalu

Political System:
Sabah adopts a democratic system of politics, where a general election for State and Federal level is held every five years. The present elected State and Federal Government is held by Barisan Nasional, a coalition of major ethnic parties of Sabah with major parties such as UMNO, SAPP, UPKO, AKAR & PBRS and PBS. A unique feature of Sabah's politics is that since 1994, the Chief Minister's post is rotated among the coalition parties every 2 years, thus giving an equal amount of time for each ethnic group to rule the State. The present Chief Minister of Sabah is YAB Datuk Seri Haji Musa Haji Aman which was elected to power in 2002 with his term expiring in the year 2004. The Federal Government is also held by Barisan Nasional, headed by Malaysia's Prime Minister YAB Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi. Over the past two decades, under the administration of Tun Dr Mahathir, Malaysia's previous prime minister, Malaysia has achieved tremendous development and success. Tun Dr Mahathir relinquished the helm to Datuk Abdullah Badawi in October 2003.

Political Parties:
Liberal Democratic Party (Malaysia); Parti Bersatu Rakyat Sabah; Parti Bersatu Sabah; Sabah Progressive Party

Important Legislation:
20 Point agreement: The 20-point agreement, or the 20-point memorandum, is an agreement made between the state of Sabah (then North Borneo) with what would be the federal government of Malaysia prior to the formation of Malaysia in September 16, 1963. The agreement was written for the main purpose of safeguarding the interests, rights, and the autonomy of the people of Sabah upon entering the federation of Malaysia. It was originally envisaged that Sabah be one of the four entities in the federation, the others being Malaya, Singapore, and Sarawak. However as times passed, Sabah and Sarawak has ended up being merely one of the 13 states in the federation.

Principal Taxes:
The tax rate ranges from 0-29% based on income ranges. RM2,500=1%, RM5,000=3%, RM10,000=5%, RM20,000-35,000=9%, RM35,000-50,000=15%, RM50,000-70,000=20%, RM70,000-100,000=25%, RM100,000-150,000=28%, RM150,000+=29%

Associated Power:




Sabah's population is heterogeneous and culturally diverse, with more than 30 different ethnic races and over 80 local dialects spoken. The Kadazandusun - This is the largest ethnic category in Sabah and is predominantly wet rice and hill rice cultivators. The Rungus - Others still follow their traditional lifestyle, but the only Kadazandusun tribe which continues to live in communal dwellings or longhouses is the Rungus, whose home is the northwest of Sabah. The Murut - Being one of the largest indigenous groups in Sabah, Murut comprise of subgroups such as Baukan, Gana', Kalabakan, Okolod, Paluan, Sulangai, Serudung, Tagal, Timugon and the Beaufort and Keningau Murut. Literally "Murut" means "hill people". They inhibit the interior and southwestern parts of Sabah and the territory straddling the Kalimantan and Sarawak borders. They are mostly shifting cultivators and hunters with some riverine fishing. Those of Murut origin speak 15 languages and 21 dialects. The language commonly used and understood by the large majority is Tanggal. Their language is also related to the Kadazandusun languages. The Muslim Bisaya - Another Dusunic group, the Muslim Bisaya, live on the Klias Peninsula south of Kota Kinabalu, and along the lower reaches of the Padas and Klias Rivers. The Bisaya are best known for harvesting the sago palms which grow in swampy ground; they fell the palms, rasp the pith of the trunk and extract the starch which was once eaten as a staple. The Orang Sungei - Paitanic-speaking people, most of them living in the north and center of Sabah, live mainly along rivers and call themselves Orang Sungei (literally “people of the river”). Another group belonging to the same family is the Ida’an, who live along the east coast and converted to Islam as far back as the 15th century. The Bajau - The Bajau, originally from the Philippines, sailed across the Sulu Sea to settle along the coasts of Sabah. On the west, the Bajau of Kota Belud are famous for their colourful costumes, and their skills as horsemen.

Island Area (km sq.) Population % of Total Population

Population density= 39.62/KM

Year Resident Population

Age of Population: 0-14 15-24 25-49 50-64 65 and up
2005 1025800 1,823,500 0 0 82,800


Illigal immigration is high. Foreign workers make up about 90% of the agricultural employees. 1997:Sabah. The Malaysian states of Sabah and Sarawak are on the northern part of the island of Borneo and have autonomy in immigration policy. On March 1, 1997, Sabah announced a six-month legalization program and as of May 31, 1997, some 140,028 illegal immigrants without employers---27,463 Indonesians and 112,565 Filipinos--had registered. In addition, 3,123 employers registered 12,411 illegal foreign workers and another 2,197 employers registered 2,281 house maids. The regularization program was scheduled to run until August 31, 1997, with the promise of "all-out action" against illegals in September. Since March 1, 1997, some 1,777 illegal migrants returned home, including 1,080 Indians, 624 Pakistanis, 39 Chinese and 19 Filipinos. As foreigners take jobs in Sabah, Sabah youths migrate to peninsular Malaysia for jobs, despite assurances that there are jobs in Sabah. The Malaysian Manpower department said that since January 1997, 1,025 Sabahans have gone to work in peninsular Malaysia through a series of joint recruitment exercises between his department and peninsular-based companies. Last year 2,349 left Sabah for jobs on the peninsula. An estimated 20,000 youths from Sabah are working in peninsular Malaysia. The Malaysian Trades Union Congress claims that some workers in manufacturing and service industries in Sabah are being paid lower wages. The MTUC says that minimum monthly wage for a Sabahan worker, given the higher cost of living compared to peninsular Malaysia, should be no less than RM650. Some workers are earning from RM 6.50 to RM 185 per month. The governments of the state of Sabah and the Philippines have agreed on a joint effort to regulate border-crossing between Tawi-Tawi in Mindanao and Sabah in Malaysia in order to slow the illegal flow of people and goods between these areas. Under the agreement, citizens of both countries must secure cross-border permits in their own country prior to crossing the border. This plan was first implemented July 1, 1997, but Malaysia backed off saying the government did not have all the necessary measures in place, including cross-border stations.

Crude Birth Rate:
2005 14.9%

Life Expedctancy:
2005: male = 71 years, female = 76 years

Crude Death Rate:
2005 2.1%

The people of Sabah are divided into 32 officially recognized ethnic groups: Kadazan-Dusun, Malay, Kwijau, Murut, Bajau, Illanun, Lotud, Rungus, Tambanuo, Dumpas, Mangka'ak, Suluk/Tausug, Ilocano, Orang Sungai, Brunei, Kedayan, Bisaya Beaufort, Tidong, Maragang, Orang Cocos, Paitan, Ida'an, Minokok, Rumanau, Yakan, Chinese of mixed bumiputra parentage, Filipino, Sarawak indigenous groups, Serani, Chabacano

Class Division:

Bahasa Malaysia is the National language. English is widely spoken and understood. Other languages are Mandarin Chinese, Hakka, Cantonis and Kadazan.

In 1973, Islam was made the official Sabah state religion (the official religion of Sabah was originally Christianity, as permitted by the agreement signed before the merger). The Constitution of Malaysia provides for limited freedom of religion.

 1998: 87%

Education System:
Classes usually begin at 7am and end at 5pm. PRESCHOOL:Pre-school is part of the national education system under the Education Act, 1996. The aim of pre-school education is to provide a firm foundation for formal education. Pre-schools are run by government agencies, non governmental organisations (NGO's) as well as private institutions. The major government agencies that are responsible for pre-school education are the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Rural Development, and the Ministry of National Unity and community Development. Children enroll between the ages of 4 and 6. All pre-schools have to abide by the curriculum guidelines set by the Ministry of Education. The curriculum enables pre-school children to acquire sufficient basic communication, social and other positive skills in preparation for primary schooling. PRIMARY SCHOOL:Education at this level aims to provide the child with a firm foundation in the basic skills of reading, writing and arithmetic, as well as emphasising thinking skills and value across the curriculum. While education at this level is not compulsory, more than 99 percent of this age group are enrolled in primary schools throughout the country. These are two types of schools at the primary level, that are, the national schools and the national type schools. In the national schools, the medium of the instruction is the Malay Language. The medium of instruction in the national type schools is either Chinese Language or Tamil Language. In both types of schools, the Malay Language is a compulsory subject. English is taught as a second language in all schools. Chinese, Tamil and Indigenous languages are also taught as subjects in national schools. Promotion from Year 1 to Year VI is automatic as pupils are given continuous school-based assessment to monitor their progress in the mastery of the basic skills. The Education Act of 1996 provides the primary education course designed for a duration of six years, which may be completed within five to seven years. To identify pupils who are able to complete their primary education within five years, the Level One Assessment (PTS) was introduced. PTS is a testing procedure administered jointly by the Examinations Syndicate and the school at the end of Year III of primary school. The PTS is not compulsory as students can opt not to sit for it. Those with high scores who are selected for double promotion can still opt not to proceed to Year V. At the end of Year VI, pupils sit for a common public examination, the Primary School Achievement Test (UPSR). The subjects tested are Malay Language, English Language, Mathematics and Chinese Language or Tamil Language (for pupils of National Type Primary Schools). As of 1997, Science will also be tested in UPSR. A new element in the UPSR assessment is the introduction of Penilaian Agama Fardu Ain (PAFA), a school-based assessment which focuses on the practical aspects of Islamic Education to ensure that Muslim students understand and practice correctly matters on Fardu Ain. SECONDARY SCHOOL:Secondary education aims to promote the general development of students by helping them to acquire knowledge, insight and skills including the inculcation of values on the National Philosphy of Education. The ultimate goal is to develop a strong foundation for life-long education. Besides receiving general education, students are introduced to the beginnings of specialisation. Education at this level is provided in national secondary schools. The medium of instruction in these schools is the Malay Language. As is the case in primary schools, English Language is taught as a second language in all schools. Chinese, Tamil and indigenous language are also offered as additional subjects. Under the Education Act 1996 foreign languages such as Arabic, Japanese, French, German are introduced in secondary schools. The curriculum prescribed for secondary schools is the integrated Curriculum for Secondary School (ICSS). Lower Secondary Level (Form I to Form III) This level covers a period of three years (Form I to Form III). Pupils from the national primary schools enter Form I whereas pupils from Chinese and Tamil medium schools proceed to a transition year ( Remove Class) before entering Form I. This Remove Class is for pupils to acquire sufficient proficiency in the Malay Language, which is the medium of instruction in secondary schools. However, pupils who have performed well in the UPSR are allowed to proceed directly to form I. In the line with the emphasis on science and technology in national development, students are given an early exposure to vocational education through the integrated Living Skills subject. The core components of this subject are Manipulative Skills, Commerce and Entrepreneurship, and Family Life Education. On completing three years at this level, pupils sit for a common public lower secondary school examination, the Lower Secondary Assessment (PMR), which is a combination of centralized and school-based assessment. The school-based assessment follows guidelines set by the Examination Syndicate. In tandem with the policy of providing five years of secondary education for all, the PMR is no longer a terminal examination, rather it is more a diagnostic evaluation. As a consequence universal education has been extended from nine to eleven years. Upper Secondary Level (Form IV to Form V) Education at the upper secondary level covers a period of two years. Besides following the general education programme, it is at this stages that pupils begin to specialise in either the arts, science, technical, vocational or religious disciplines. Specific schools are designated for each discipline. These schools are academic schools, technical schools, vocational schools and religious schools.

Total Pre-schools:(2007) 186
Total Primary Schools  
First Level:
Second Level:
Third Level:
Total Secondary Schools: 186
Total Professional Schools
Universities: 13


Number of Schools per Island:


Students Enrolled:


Medical Services:
There are 22 hospitals in Sabah, 4 of which are private. There are also 10 polyclinics.


 The island of Borneo, the third largest in the world after Greenland and Papa New Guinea, has been discovered by Chinese Explorers even before the first Century AD but no attempts have been made to conquer it. There was, however, a powerful Brunei Sultanate which ruled over most of Borneo. In 1521, Magellan's fleet visited Brunei thus establishing the first recorded contact between Westerners and the people of Borneo. Between 1521 and 1764, changes in the Sultanate of Brunei eventually let to the handover of North Borneo (first English name for Sabah) to the British East India Company in 1764. In 1881, the Dent brothers of London signed all rights to a company which was granted a royal charter. Kudat became the first capital of British North Borneo. The British North Borneo Chartered Company was officially formed in 1882 and Sandakan became the first capital of British North Borneo. Jesselton (now Sabah's capital Kota Kinabalu) was founded in conjunction with the constreuction of the Trans Borneo railroad, and developed into a flourishing trading post until the Japanese occupied the whole of Borneo during the Second World War. Jesselton and Sandakan were, like many towns, destroyed in Allied air raids targeted at the Japanese. After the Second World War the British Chartered Company was not able to rebuild the war devastated country and ceded it to the British Crown, and Sabah became a colony. In 1963, North Borneo became independent and reverted to its pre-colonial name, Sabah, on becoming the 13th state of the Federation of Malaysia. In 1967, Jesselton, originally named after a director of the North Borneo Company, was renamed Kota Kinabalu.


Recent Significant Events:
The status of the territory of Sabah, previously known as North Borneo, is currently disputed between Malaysia and the Philippines. Presently, Sabah is one of the states that formed Malaysia in 1963. Despite that, the Philippines and the heirs of the Sultanate of Sulu have made claims to the territory though the claim is currently dormant.

Music, Dance, Handicraft and Patrimony:
DANSA Dansa is the dance of the Cocos Islanders from the Lahad Datu district on the east coast of Sabah. This dance is usually performed by three couples during weddings and often-festive occasions. There is much feet stomping, making it a very lively dance. Music is provided by a couple of violins called biola. The tops of the costumes for boat the male and female dancers resemble the Scottish Highlanders with their frilled shirts and scarves. The women wear these over batik sarongs. Then men a songkok and also sarong batik putih with heavy shoes to produce the lively beat of the dance. LILIPUT Liliput is a Bisaya dance from the district of Beaufort. Liliput means `go-round`. It is mainly danced to cast away the evil spirit from a ‘possessed` person and then to ‘return’ the person’s spirit. The dancing will continue until the person’s spirit ‘returns’. ANGALANG Angalang is a dance of the Murut. In olden days, this dance was performed in celebration of a successful headhunting party. Nowadays it is performed during wedding and other such occasions. The performance consists of a solo male dancer doing the mahihialang, while a accompanied by a group of female dancers performing the angalang. The male dancer is dressed as a warrior wearing the Murut bark jacket and loin cloth, wielding a sword known as a gayang, while the female dancers wear costumes known as limpur which is usually elaborately beaded and embroidered. On their heads is an ornate headpiece made of long beads in front and strands of smaller beads at the back. The man wears the feathered headpiece. This dance is normally accompanied by music played on six large gongs, twenty-five tagunggak or bamboo idiophones, and a drum called tambor. KUDA PASU A dance originally performed by skilled horsemen, Kuda Pasu is a Bajau dance now performed by male and female dancers to welcome or accompany the entourage of a bridegroom to the bride’s residence. They dance to the beat of the bertitik music called tigad-tigad. The male dancers are met by the female dancers who hold a red handkerchief tied to their fingers. This symbolizes the welcoming of the bridegroom and his party. LIMBAI Limbai is the dance of the Bajau people of the Kota Belud area on the west coast of Sabah. Three to four couples or more dressed in the traditional Bajau costumes with the women wearing the gold ornate sarimpak headpiece, circle about each other with the women coming to rest in a seated position with the men standing behind them. This dance is characterized by the graceful rotating wrist movements of the dancers. The music accompanying the Limbai is called bertitik. The instruments usually consist of a kulintangan which is a set of nine small kettle gongs and three hanging gongs and two double-headed drums called gandang. Limbai is performed during weddings and other social occasions. MENANGKUK PIRING Menangkuk piring is performed by the Kadazan Dusun of the Kota Marudu district in the north of Sabah. It is normally performed at wedding and other social occasions. Dancers perform with plates held in the palms of their hands. Graceful twists and turns of their wrists ensure that these plates never fall down. A fallen plate is a badomen, especially if performed during a wedding celebration. Sometimes. Lighted candles are placed in the centre of the plates, making the dance even more interesting. MAGUNATIP Magunatip is a dance performed by the indigenous peoples of the interiors of Sabah, including the Kadazan Dusun of Tambunan, the Kwijau Dusun of Keningau and many of the Murut groups. Magunatip is derived from the word atip meaning ‘to press between two surfaces’. Magunatip dancers need great skill and agility to dance among the bamboo poles, which are hit together to produce the rhythm of the dance. It is a dance of happiness performed at social occasions and the honour distinguished guests. MONGIGOL SUMUNDAI Mongigol Sumundai is a dance from the Kudat and Pitas districts, performed by the Rungus. It is performed boat as an entertainment during festivities as well as a ritual dance. Three to eight female dancers are led by a male dancer. The women keep their arms close to their sides throughout the dance, moving only their wrists, steps are also slow and gentle. The costumes worn by the female dancers is the traditional Rungus dress –an elaborately weaved top called Banat with a knee-length sarung called tapi, with a scarf-like piece attached to the bodice in the centre in front and through over the back and crossed over with many stands of beads. Sometimes they wear saring or brass arm bangles and also brass leg coils. The music accompaniment is produced by four gongs and a drum called tontog. PAINA The Paina is a dance of the Kadazan Dusun from the Membakut ares on the west coast of Sabah. It is performed during thanksgiving celebrations to the rice spirit following the rice harvest. It is normally performed by a group of men and women. A characteristic of the men’s dancing includes arms raised in front with hands turning from the wrists, while the women dance with alternate heel to heel, toe to toe foot movements. The women may wear the typical black costume of the Membakut Kadazan which is decorated with shining buttons, while the men wear the sigar headcloth and a sandai hanging from the neck. TARIRAI This is a Bajau dance from the Semporna district on the East Coast The dance evolved from a myth about some people who went to look for sea shells. They encountered a strange animal and the actions of the Tarirai depict the evasive action they look. SUMAYAU (MONGIGOL TUARAN) Sumayau ( Mongigol Tuaran ) is a ritual dance of the Lotud Dusun fron Tuaran. It si performed during the Rumaha which is a ceremony for honouring the spirits of skulls, or the Mangahau rituals for the spirits of sacred jars. The Sumayau is performed by up to eight couples who are dressed in elaborate black ritual costumes with long sleeves and a long sash around the neck. The women wear a ceremonial headpiece with red feathers, while the men wear the sigar. The female dancers move the feet slowly, heel to heel, toe to toe, while a male dancer stands and shakes the girring or small handbells sown onto cloth, keeping in time with the music which is placed on gongs and a drum. SUMAZAU PAPAR Sumazau Papar is a dance from the district of Papar in the west coast of Sabah. It is performed by both male and female dancers. The unique movements of the feet of the women heel meeting heel, toe meeting toe- makes this dances a delight to watch. The men dance with their arms outstretched in front of them, turning their wrists about. The women wear the traditional knee-length Papar costumes adorned with brass buttons and gold trimmings on the blouse, with a conical shaped hat called seraung placed over a head cloth called senaundung. The male dancers wear the headpiece called a sigar as well as a scarf or sandai over their costumes. ADAI-ADAI Adai-Adai is a dance evolved from a song sung by fishermen who originated from the Sipitang and Membakut districts in the South Weast of Sabah. Performed by both male and female dancers, this dance describes the activities of the fishermen and also the farmers of these areas. The dancers wear traditional Brunei clothes, and the accompanying music for the Adai-Adai is normally played on the gambus which is a lute of Arabic origin and popular among coastal Muslims, and the kompang, a frame drum. This dance is usually performed during important village festivals and also at wedding celebrations. BOLAK-BOLAK Bolak-Bolak is a traditional dance of the Bajau from the Semporna district on the East Coast, which has been handed down through generations. The Bolak-Bolak signifies the sound made when castanets held by a dancer is constantly clapped together, producing the rhythm of the music for the dance. This dance is traditionally performed during the presentation of brides wealth by the groom to the bride’s family as part of a wedding ceremony. The music accompaniment is played on the kulintangan ensemble in addition to gongs and drums. SUMAZAU PENAMPANG Sumazau Penampang is the traditional dance of the Kadazan Dusun. It is performed during both ritual and social occasions. The dancers perform in pairs with the man leading the way. Both male and female dancers start off with arrhythmic movement on slightly bent knees and arms swinging by the sides. With a loud cry pangkis, the male dancer will lift his arms like wings outstretched and change his step to the alternating sole and toe movement with the women following suit, although in a much gentler manner. The dancers wear the traditional black costumes with gold trimmings. The women will have three rows of small brass rings strung on rattan called tangkong, and the tinggot which is a belt of old silver coins. The men wear a colourful embroidered headgear known as sigar. The accompanying music is played by the sompogogungan ensemble consisting of six hanging gongs and a drum. DALING-DALING Daling-Daling is performed by the Suluk people who have settled on the east coast of Sabah. The name is said to have been derived from the English word ‘Darling’. Male and female dancers dance in pairs and this dance is characterized by the backward-wave fingers movements of the women wearing long spiked brass fingercaps called janggai. They also wear the kantiu trousers and the malkota head piece. The dancers perform to music played on a wooden keeped xylophone known as gabang, and a biola, and accompanied by singing, either by a soloist or a chorus of four or more. TITIKAS Titikas is a traditional dance of the Orang Sungai from the Kinabatangan district in Sandakan. It is performed as a welcome dance during official functions, as well as festive occasions in the villages. The hands movements of the dancers copy the game of Ingki-Ingki, where a person places palm, from top to bottom and vice versa. The instruments used for the music is known as the Titikas ensemble, consisting of a nine-keyed gabang or xylophone and two large kantung vertical hardwood slit gongs that stand about a meter tall.














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