Tuesday, August 14, 2007

About Kota Kinabalu

From Wikipedia & Malaysiana1.

Kota Kinabalu is Sabah’s state capital and is situated on the north-west coast of Borneo Island.

It faces the South China Sea and the Tunku Abdul Rahman National Park on one side and the Crocker Range which includes Mount Kinabalu on the other.

Kota Kinabalu is also the capital of the West Coast Division of Sabah which includes the city itself, and the towns of Ranau, Kota Belud, Tuaran, Penampang and Papar.

The city is one of the major industrial and commercial centres in East Malaysia besides Kuching in Sarawak.

Kota Kinabalu was originally known as Api-Api due to its mangrove trees. It was the mainland capital of the Bajau Sultan of Sulu, and Sabah’s most prominent port.

During British rule, the city was named Jesselton after one of the British colonial governors, Sir Charles Jessel.

During World War 2, the city was razed by the retreating British army to prevent it from falling into Japanese hands.

Kota Kinabalu was given its present name on September 30, 1968 by Sabah’s third Chief Minister and father of independence Tun Datu Mustapha Datu Harun, one of the claimants to the Sulu throne.

It became a city on February 2, 2000, during the Chief Ministership of Datu Mustapha’s protege and fellow Bajau chieftain Datuk Seri Osu Sukam.

Kota Kinabalu is named after Mount Kinabalu, situated about 90 kilometres north-east of the city.

The word Kinabalu is a Kadazan-Dusun word meaning Home Of The Ancestors.

Kota Kinabalu thus means Kinabalu City.

Kota Kinabalu’s sister cities are Yongin in South Korea, Rockingham in Australia and Zamboanga in the Philippines.

The north-east part of the city around Likas Bay used to contain an extensive mangrove forest, but most of it has disappeared. What remains is the 12-hectare Kota Kinabalu City Bird Sanctuary.

There are six islands located off the coast of the city. Five of them form the Tunku Abdul Rahman National Park namely Gaya, Sapi, Manukan, Sulug and Mamutik.

These islands are popular with tourists and are uninhabited except for Gaya which has a population of 8,000.

Sepanggar is located north of the National Park opposite Sepanggar Bay.

Kota Kinabalu’s people are mostly Chinese, Kadazan-Dusuns, Bajaus and Bruneians (Kedayans).

Most of the Chinese are Hakkas (Northern Chinese) and live mainly in the Luyang area.

Kota Kinabalu residents speak Bahasa Malaysia and English. Other languages spoken here are Mandarin Chinese (Beijing Chinese), Bajau and Kadazan-Dusun.

Kota Kinabalu is also the main industrial and commercial centre of Sabah.

Many national and international commercial banks, as well as insurance companies have their headquarters or branches here.

A number of industrial companies also have plants in the industrial townships of Likas, Kolombong, and Inanam.

There are three public hospitals in Kota Kinabalu.

Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Penampang Road is the largest hospital in the state and was built in 1957.

The other hospitals are the Likas Specialist Hospital and Bukit Padang Hospital.

The Sabah Medical Centre in Damai is the largest private hospital in Sabah.

Kota Kinabalu’s most prominent public schools include the La Salle, All Saints, St Francis and Sabah Science Secondary Schools.

University Malaysia Sabah is the state’s only university and is located in Likas.

Sabah’s State Museum is situated opposite Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

The town field situated along the Kota Kinabalu Bypass Road is the city’s most well-known historical site, where Sabah’s independence was proclaimed on August 31, 1963.

Situated nearby on a hill is the Atkinson Clock Tower which was built in 1905 by the family of the late Francis Atkinson, the 20-something district officer of Kota Kinabalu who died of malaria.

The clock tower was a navigation aid for ships and was one of three pre-World War 2 buildings to survive the war.

The Petagas War Memorial, close to the Kota Kinabalu International Airport, commemorates the freedom fighters of Sabah, the Kinabalu Guerillas, led by Dr Albert Kwok and Jules Stephens.

Kwok and Stephens led the guerillas against the Japanese fascist occupiers of Sabah. They were all massacred in 1944 at the site where the memorial stands.

In Sembulan, near the Sabah State Mosque is the Double Six monument to commemorate the plane crash which killed Jules’ son Tun Muhammad Fuad Donald Stephens, Sabah’s first and fifth Chief Minister, in 1976.

Fuad Stephens was the political mentor to Sabah’s fourth Chief Minister Datuk Seri Joseph Pairin Kitingan and both men were the Hoguan Siou or Paramount Chiefs of the Kadazan-Dusuns.

The monument is at the exact site where the plane crashed on June 6, 1976.

Sabah’s most popular nightspot is the Anjung Samudera or Kota Kinabalu Waterfront. It houses several bistros and seafood restaurants.

Kota Kinabalu is also linked to Tenom in south-western Sabah by the North Borneo Railway, the only railway in East Malaysia.

Sabah’s most luxurious hotel, the Sutera Harbour Resort, is situated in Sembulan, near the Double Six monument.

Sabah’s oldest five-star hotel is the Shangri-La Tanjung Aru Hotel located close to the Kota Kinabalu International Airport.

The Tun Fuad Stephens Park in Padang Hill is a popular jogging and hiking spot. It is surrounded by a lush forest and has a man-made lake.

The Signal Hill Observatory above the Atkinson Clock Tower offers a scenic view of the city centre.

The Tun Mustapha Building, also called the Sabah Foundation Building in Likas is a 30-storey structure supported by steel rods.

It is the tallest building in Borneo and has a revolving restaurant on its 18th floor.

Kota Kinabalu’s most prominent shopping mall is the Centrepoint which is situated close to the waterfront.

The Filipino Market in the waterfront sells traditional Bajau handicrafts.

Gaya Street plays host to Kota Kinabalu’s weekly Sunday market.

Sabah’s major sports complex, the Likas Sports Complex, is situated in Kota Kinabalu.

The city also has four golf courses.

Kota Kinabalu’s famous personalities are mostly in the entertainment industry. They include singers and songwriters Pete Teo and Jerome Kugan, jazz stars Mia Palencia and Roger Wang, hip-hopper Adam Mat Saman, R&B star Azharina Azhar and veteran film-maker Deddy M. Borhan.