Monday, August 13, 2007

About Tawau

From Wikipedia & Malaysiana1.

Tawau is the administrative centre of Tawau Division in Sabah and the third largest town in the state after Kota Kinabalu and Sandakan.

Tawau is located at the south-east coast of Sabah which faces the Sulawesi Sea to the east and the interior mountain ranges to the west.

The town centre can be divided into three sections namely Sabindo, Fajar and Old Tawau.

The Federal House, where most government offices such as the Immigration Department and the National Registration Department are located is in the Sabindo area.

Fajar is the commercial area, where major banks such as HSBC and Maybank are located.

The Tawau District Court is also situated here.

Old Tawau is the original part of Tawau, which contains Tawau's central market. Tawau Port is also located here.

Tawau’s original people were Tidong Muruts and Bajaus.

In 1898, the first Chinese settled in Tawau.

In the 1930s, Tawau prospered with the establishment of the Kuhara Rubber and Manila Hemp Estates and the Kubota Coconut Estate.

In that era, there were about 60 shop houses, all timber-built, lining the main street of Tawau, Dunlop Street.

Tawau's centre was the field, with the sea on one side and whitewashed timber buildings on the other three - the District Office, police quarters and government rest house.

A tower (which still stands at the Town Field) was erected by the Japanese after World War I.

The town was very peaceful. Doors and windows were normally left unlocked.

There was neither electricity supply nor main drainage. Residents took water from the Tawau River.

There were 300 Japanese working on the estates and 100 on Si Amil Island.

They owned the biggest estate (Kuhara Estate) and it had a golf course.

There was also an estate hospital and representative office of a Japanese bank.

The Japanese Borneo Fishing Company conducted commercial fishing on Si Amil Island (east of the Mabul and Sipadan Islands).

The Chinese community maintained its own schools. The Roman Catholic Church was established in 1922 and provided the only English primary school.

Two of the most respected community leaders in Tawau during British colonial rule were Bajau chief Datuk Abu Bakar Titingan (his son is prominent politician Datuk Ahmad Baharom Titingan) and Stephen Tan (who died at the hands of Japanese fascists in World War 2).

During the Japanese occupation of Sabah, Tawau district officer Cole Adam was sent to a Japanese prison camp in Ranau for 44 months and died in September 1945 on the very day the British Army released him from captivity.

As of 1991, the population of the Tawau was estimated at 245,000. 92,000 are foreign expatriates.

The foreigners comprise 30 per cent Bajaus from Indonesia, 30 per cent Bajaus from the Philippines, 33 per cent Bruneis from Banjarmasin in Indonesian Borneo, and 7 per cent Tidong Muruts from Eastern Kalimantan province in Indonesian Borneo.

Bajaus form 52 per cent of the Malaysian population, Bruneis form 20 per cent, Chinese 23 per cent, Kadazans 3 per cent and Muruts 2 per cent.

Tawau’s traditional exports have been tobacco, cocoa, palm oil and timber.

Birds’ nests are also harvested at the Baturong, Segalong and Madai Caves in nearby Kunak by the Idahan Kadazan people.

Tawau is Malaysia’s cocoa industry capital. Malaysia is the world’s third largest cocoa producing nation after Ivory Coast and Ghana.

Tawau is also one of Malaysia’s major prawn farming centres. Prawns are exported to Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore.

Tawau’s main tourist attractions include the following:

- The Tawau Hills National Park which is 24 km away from the town centre.

It has several waterfalls including the Table Waterfall.

The park is formed from a rugged volcanic landscape.

Bombalai Hill, a young volcanic cone, is found in the park.

The park also has lots of wild orchids, red leaf monkeys, long-tailed macaques, giant tree squirrels and forest tortoises.

- Gemuk Hill or Fat Hill is 11 km away from the town centre. The 428 metre hill is popular with hikers and is situated in the Gemuk Hill Forest Reserve formed in 1984.

- The Tawau Cocoa Village is in Quoin Hill. Visitors get to see how cocoa is processed and get to taste local fruits.

Proboscis monkeys are found in abundance along the Tawau River.

Tawau is famous for its seafood. Most seafood stalls are found in the Sabindo area near the central bus terminal.

Besides seafood, Tawau’s cuisine includes Soto Makassar, a beef soup, Brunei specialties Onde-Onde (rice cake stuffed with brown sugar), curry puffs and peanut pancakes, and Bajau specialties fried bananas, yellow rice and Ampalang (fried fish in corn flour).