|— Town —|
Keningau is a sprawling timber and agricultural town and district located in the Interior Division of Sabah, east Malaysia on the island of Borneo. It is the oldest and largest district in the interior part of Sabah.
The Keningau District has an area of 3532.82 km² (1364 sq mi) and is situated in a valley surrounded by the Crocker Range to the west and the Trus Madi Range to the east and south. The district consists of 43 mukims and 245 villages.1
The name Keningau is derived from that of the Javanese cinnamon tree (Cinnamomun burmannii), or locally known as 'Koningau' which is abundant in the area. The tree is also known as 'Kayu Manis' in Malay and it has also been referred to as the 'king of spice'. The bark of this tree was collected by the British North Borneo Company (Syarikat Inggeris Borneo Utara) to be sold as spice.
Keningau used to be one of the most important administration centres of the British in the early 1900s. The Japanese also made use of Keningau as one of its government centres during their occupation of Sabah in World War II.
The village of Nuntunan in Apin-Apin was known as "44" during British rule. This indicated its distance of 44 miles (71 km) from Tenom, another British administration centre. Nuntunan was also known as "Office", because the British had its office by the Sg Apin-Apin riverbank which was later taken over by the Japanese. When the British returned after the surrender of the Japanese, the remaining Japanese soldiers surrendered at Nuntunan. The locals still believe that the Japanese soldiers had hidden some treasures around the village before their retreat, although this claim has never been properly investigated. Nuntunan, a particularly inaccessible locale, is believed to be the place where the Japanese soldiers hid their shotguns or even their gold treasures.
The breakdown of ethnic groups are:2
- Dusun - 55,607
- Murut - 23,823
- Chinese - 9,082
- Bajau - 9,009
- Lun Bawang/Lun Dayeh - 500
The actual population of Keningau is however much larger than the recorded figure above, as legal employees of the many plantations, as well as illegal immigrants from Indonesia and the Philippines form a major component of the district. These illegal immigrants can enter Sabah easily via the open surrounding seas facing The Philippines or the porous inland border with Indonesia, particularly through what is known as Sungai Nyamok "jalan tikus" at Kalabakan in the Tawau District.
A monument erected and officiated on September 16, 1963 acknowledging the guarantees granted to the state of Sabah that led to the formation of Malaysia. The monument is currently located in the compound of the Keningau District Office.
The Keningau township is connected by road through either the Kimanis-Keningau Highway or Tambunan road from Kota Kinabalu, which is about 138 kilometers in length. Keningau is 67 kilometers from Nabawan, 35 kilometers from Sook and 48 kilometers from Tenom. There is also an abandoned airport. The last flight to Keningau by Malaysia Airlines was in the 1970s.
- Banci Penduduk 2000, Jabatan Perangkaan Malaysia