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Sandakan is the second-largest city in Sabah, East Malaysia, on the north-eastern coast of Borneo. It is located on the east coast of the island and it is the administrative centre of Sandakan Division and was the former capital of British North Borneo. Sandakan is known as the gateway for ecotourism destinations in Sabah, such as the Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre, the Rainforest Discovery Centre, Turtle Islands Park, Kinabatangan River and Gomantong Caves.

The area is also infamous as the site of a World War II Japanese airfield, built by the forced labour of 6,000 Javanese civilians and Allied prisoners of war. In 1945, the surviving Australian prisoners were sent on the Sandakan Death Marches; only 6 of them survived the war.


                     Sandakan Town Centre

During the early 1870s, the east coast of Sabah was under control of the Sultan of Sulu, who also ruled what is now the southern Philippines. The first European settlement in the area was founded by William Clarke Cowie, a Scottish gun smuggler from Glasgow, who received permission from the Sultan to establish a small trading base. Cowie called his settlement Sandakan, which in (Sulu) language means "the place that was pawned", but it soon came to be known as "Kampung German" after the large number of Germans who also set up posts there. The settlement was part of the lease Austro-Hungarian consul Baron von Overbeck acquired from the Sultan of Sulu in 1878. After the lease was purchased by von Overbeck's British partner Alfred Dent, Kampong German was accidentally razed to the ground on 15 June 1879. The new British Resident, William Burges Pryer, decided not to rebuild the village but to move to (what is now called) Buli Sim Sim on 21 June 1879[1]. He named his new settlement Elopura, which means Beautiful City. A few years later, the name reverted back to Sandakan. The name Elopura still refers to a Sabah state constituency in Sandakan.

In 1883, the capital of the British North Borneo Company was moved from Kudat to Sandakan. In the mid-1930s, Sandakan's timber export reached the record figure of 180,000 cubic meters, making it the largest timber-exporting port of tropical hardwood in the world. At the height of the timber boom, Sandakan boasted that it had the highest concentration of millionaires anywhere on Earth.

The Japanese occupation of Sandakan during World War II began on 19 January 1942 and lasted until a brigade of the Australian 9th Division liberated it on 19 October 1945. The Japanese administration restored the name Elopura for the town. One of the atrocities of World War II was the Sandakan Death Marches, when Japanese soldiers decided to move about 2,400 prisoners of war in Sandakan 260 km (160 miles) inland to the town of Ranau. The prisoners who did not die en route to Ranau were crammed into unsanitary huts; most of those survivors either died from dysentery or were killed by prison guards. When the war ended, Sandakan was totally destroyed, partly from the Allied bombings and partly by the Japanese. As a result, when North Borneo became a British Crown Colony in 1946, the capital was shifted to Jesselton, now known as Kota Kinabalu, (often just called 'KK' locally).

Sandakan remains Sabah's second most important port, after Kota Kinabalu. The port is important for palm oil, tobacco, cocoa, coffee, manila hemp and sago exports. Sandakan is also one of the most bustling towns in East Malaysia. The once dominant timber industry is now relatively small. It is likely tourism will become increasingly important to the town's future.

In recent years, businesses have shifted their operations away from the town centre to the suburbs (Bandar Ramai-Ramai, Bandar Leila, Bandar Nam Tung, Bandar Maju, Bandar Kim Fung, Bandar Pasaraya, Bandar Letat, Bandar Indah Jaya, Bandar Utama, Bandar Perdana, Bandar Labuk Jaya, Bandar Sibuga Jaya, etc.) due to the presence of significant illegal immigrants in the town centre. In January 2003, the Sandakan Harbour Square, an urban renewal project, was launched in an attempt to revive the town centre as the commercial hub in Sandakan. It will feature extra shoplots, a new central market and fish market, a shopping mall (Sandakan Harbour Mall), and hotels. It is to be built in three separate phases and is due for completion in this year.

Schools & Academic Institutions

Primary Schools

SK Kg Suan Lamba

SK Abai
SK Bambangan Sandakan
SK Bandar Sandakan
SK Batu 16, Gum Gum
SK Bawang Sandakan
SK Built
SK Bongon Besar
SK Buang Sayang Kinabatangan
SK Gum Gum Kecil
SK Inarad
SK Jaya Bakti
SK Kabuluh
SK Kampong Gas
SK Karamunting
SK Kem Tentera
SK Kenang-kenangan
SK Keniogan
SK Karamuak
SK Kg Bahagia
SK Kg Baru Sandakan
SK Kg Batu Puteh
SK Rancangan Suan Lamba
SK Kiandongo
SK Labuk Subur
SK Ladang Sandak
SK Ladang Sg Bendera
SK Langkabong
SK Linayukan
SK Lingkabau
SK Lubang Buaya
SK Lung Manis
SK Maidan Paitan
SK Malalin
SK Maliau
SK Masaum
SK Mananam
SK Mangkawago
SK Minusoh
SK Moynod
SK Muhibbah
SK Mumiang
SK Nangoh
SK Nunuyan Laut
SK Obah
SK Pamaguan
SK Pamol
SK Pantai Poring
SK Pekan Beluran
SK Perancangan
SK Pertanian
SK Pitas Mumiang
SK Pulau Lubukan
SK Pulau Sanghai
SK Pulau Timbang
SK Rancangan Lubuh
SK Saguon
SK Sakilan Desa

Secondary Schools

SMK Agama Sandakan
SMK Batu Sapi
SMK Elopura Bestari
SMK Elopura II
SMK Entilibon
SMK Gum-Gum
SMK Muhibbah
SMK Pamol
SMK Penangah
SMK Perempuan
SMK Sandakan
SMK Segaliud
SMK Taman Fajar
SMK Terusan Sugut
SMK Datuk Pengiran Galpam

Tertiary Academic Institution

Open University Malaysia, PPT Sandakan (Universiti Terbuka
Universiti Putra Malaysia - IDEAL Sandakan
ILP Sandakan (Industrial Training Institute)
Kinabalu College
Maktab Rendah Sains MARA Sandakan
Pusat Giat Mara Sandakan
Universiti Malaysia Sabah, Kampus Sandakan
SK Sangau
SK Sapagaya
SK Segaliud
SK Semawang
SK Seri Manis
SK Sibugal Besar
SK Simpangan
SK Sepinong
SK Sogo Sogo
SK Sri Ganda
SK Sri Tanjung Papat 1
SK Sri Tanjung Papat 2
SK Sualok
SK Sukau
SK Sungai Anib 1
SK Sungai Anib 2
SK Sungai Kayu
SK Sungai Madang
SK Sungai Manila
SK Sungai Nangka 
SK Sungai Padas
SK Sungai Sapi
SK Sungai Sungai
SK Tagas Tagas
SK Taman Rimba
SK Tampasak
SK Tampat Sugut
SK Tanjung Aru
SK Tanjung Batu
SK Tanjung Nipis
SK Tanjung Pisau
SK Telupid, Batu 4
SK Terusan Baru
SK Terusan Sugut
SK Tetabuan
SK Tongod
SK Tundun Bohangin
SK Ulu Dusun
SK Ulu Sapi
 SJK (C) Cheng Ming
SJK (C) Chi Hwa
SJK (C) Lok Yuk
SJK (C) Ming Chung
SJK (C) Pui Gin
SJK (C) Pei Ying
SJK (C) Pei Wha
SJK (C) Syn Hwa
SJK (C) Tai Tong
SJK (C) Yuk Choi
SK Ladang Bode Kretam
SK Ladang Sabapalm
SK Ladang Tomanggong
SK St. Gabriel
SK St. Mary Convent
SK St. Mary, Bandar
SK St. Mary, Labuk
SK St. Monica
SK Sung Siew
SK Tangkong                         SM Teknik Sandakan
St. Cecilia's Convent
St. Mary's Secondary School
     (Boys' School)
St. Michael's Secondary
Sung Siew Secondary School
SMJK Tiong Hua - SMJK
     Education Portal
Yu Yuan Secondary School
     (Private School)


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Nickname(s): The City of Nature, Little Hong Kong
Location in Sabah and Malaysia
Country Malaysia
State Sabah
 - Council President Encik Ir. James Wong
 - Total 2,266 km2 (875 sq mi)
Population (2009)
 - Total 479,121
 Density 184/km2 (488/sq mi)
Time zone MST (UTC+8)
 - Summer (DST) Not observed (UTC)
Postcode 90000 to 90999
Area code(s) 089

Future & Ongoing developments

  • Sandakan Education Hub - a 1,200 acres (4.9 km2) site to be developed as an educational hub for five colleges that have expressed interest to establish campuses in Jalan Sungai Batang, Mile 10, Sandakan.
  • Sandakan Harbour Square - consists of 129 unit of shopoffices, a new central market, a Town Square, a shopping centre, hotels and a convention centre.
  • Sawit POIC (Palm Oil Industrial Cluster) - a new integrated palm oil industrial hub with 2,800 acres (11 km2) of land earmarked to cluster and centralised all palm oil related industries in one single complex.
Sandakan Integrated Trade Exchange Terminal (SITExT) - a place for traders to conduct their activities with utmost ease and leisure. " A Sanctuary for Traders". The terminal will be developed on a 33.55 acres (135,800 m2) piece of land in Batu Sapi, Sandakan with custom checkpoint, jetty, warehouse, cold storage, grain terminal, container storage, CIQS (custom, immigration, quarantine and security complex), duty free complex, shop lots, hotel and main office. The Integrated Barter Trade Terminal will undoubtedly become a SANCTUARY that will manage and generate an intrinsic income stream to Sabah's economy.


Rugby is popular in Sandakan, Eddie Butler, a former Welsh Rugby Union captain, described it as the "Limerick of the tropics"[2] In 2008 at the newly build Sandakan Rugby Club, the Borneo Eagles-Sabahns (a team which included a few professional Fijians), hosted at the Borneo 10-a-side tournament for the eight and last time. Next year the tournament will change to seven-aside, which is an internationally popular format and one which the IRB is promoting as a possible Olympic sport.[2]

Football also popular among the Sandakan folk. A football stadium located in Sibuga Sports Complex can accommodate more that 5,000 persons in one time.
As Sandakan was almost totally destroyed in World War II, there are few surviving buildings of any age. Some of the main sights today include:


  • Agnes Keith House, also known as Newlands - two-storey home of local author Agnes Newton Keith and her husband Harry Keith (Conservator of Forests and Curator of the North Borneo Museum). The Keiths lived on this site from 1930 to 1952: they rebuilt the present house on the foundations of their pre-war home which had been destroyed in World War II. Mrs. Keith wrote several books about Sabah and its people, including Land Below the Wind, Three Came Home, and White Man Returns, and a novel, Beloved Exiles.
  • Sandakan Memorial Park - built on site of the Taman Rimba, Mile 7 prisoner-of-war (POW) camp.
  • Japanese Cemetery - housing a memorial to the Japanese war dead on Borneo.
  • Parish of St Michael and All Angels - this beautiful granite church was built in 1897 and was one of Sandakan's few surviving pre-war buildings. It was recognized as one of the world's heritage since year 2005.
  • Puu Jih Shih Buddhist Temple - completed in 1987, this fiery red and gold temple overlooks the town centre.
  • Sam Sing Kung Temple - completed in 1887, it is the oldest building in Sandakan.
  • Sandakan Mosque - completed in 1988, it lies next to the bay and Kampung Buli Sim Sim.
  • Kampung Buli Sim Sim - stilt fishing village on the original site of Sandakan town.
  • Sandakan Market - one of the largest and busiest in Sabah.
  • Crocodile Farm - located 12 km (7.5 miles) out of town, it houses more than 2,000 of the reptiles in concrete pools.
  • Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary - a perfect Proboscis Monkey observation spot for tourists who wants to have a closer look at these monkeys in their natural habitat.
  • Taman Perikanan at Mile 10, Sandakan.
  • Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre.
  • Berhala Island.
  • Selingan Island (Turtle Island).
  • Gomantong Cave.Sights

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