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District and Town
Keningau town view.
Keningau town view.
Flag of Keningau
Official seal of Keningau
Location of Keningau
Keningau is located in Borneo Topography
Coordinates: 5°20′0″N 116°10′0″E / 5.33333°N 116.16667°E / 5.33333; 116.16667
Country  Malaysia
State  Sabah
Division Interior
Population (2010)
 • Total 173,103
Time zone MST (UTC+8)
 • Summer (DST) Not observed (UTC)
Postcode 89000 to 89009
Area code(s) 087

Keningau is a district and major town located in the Interior Division of Sabah, East Malaysia on the island of Borneo. It is the oldest and largest town in the interior part of Sabah. Its population in 2010 were estimated around 173,103.1


The name Keningau is derived from the Javanese cinnamon tree (Cinnamomum 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 Borneo Utara British) 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.

Keningau Area

The following towns, suburbs, and neighbourhoods comprise the area formally (and collectively) known as the Keningau Town.


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.2


Ethnicity and religion

90% of the population in Keningau are Dusuns and Muruts, 8% are Chinese, and the rest are other indigenous locals such as Lun Bawang/Lun Dayeh. As with most other major population centres in Sabah, most of the Chinese in Keningau are of Hakka descent. 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 seas facing the Philippines in the eastern Sabah, or by entering through the porous inland border of Indonesia, particularly through what is known as Sungai Nyamok "jalan tikus" at Kalabakan in the Tawau District.


The people of Keningau generally speak Malay, with a distinct Sabahan creole. The Malay language here is different from the Malay language in the West Coast. In Keningau, the language had been influenced by the Indonesian language which was brought by the Buginese, Florenese and Timorese. Additionally, the Hakka language is widely spoken. This language has similarities with the Sama language in the Philippines, and borrows many words from the Suluk language, which is different from the west coast Bajau which was influenced by the Malayic languages of Brunei Malay.

Places of interest

Keningau Oath Stone

Main article: Keningau Oath Stone

A monument erected and officiated on 16 September 1963 granted to the state of Sabah during the formation of the Federation of Malaysia. The monument is currently located in the compound of the Keningau District Office.

Yayasan Sabah Handicraft Centre

A handicraft centre opened by the Prime Minister in 2012. The Handicraft can attract tourists who come to Interior Division especially Keningau. This is the first Handicraft Centre in Sabah.

Communications and transportation

A geographic view of road in Keningau.
Keningau dual carriageways after upgrading in 2010.


Keningau, by virtue of its geographical location, is cut off from the rest of Sabah's road network. It is however linked by main road to Sook, Tenom and Tambunan district. There is a good local road network around Keningau Town which is relatively free of traffic jams along main roads. The Keningau township is connected by road through either the Kimanis-Keningau Highway or Tambunan road from Kota Kinabalu, which is about 138 kilometres in length. Keningau is 67 kilometres from Nabawan, 35 kilometres from Sook and 48 kilometres from Tenom. Keningau also connected to Tawau by road the Keningau-Tawau Highway. In 2010, Keningau road (from Apin-Apin to Tenom road) are upgrading to be the most major internal roads are dual-carriageways. Highway routes to and from Keningau :

Public transportation

Regular bus services with minivans and taxis also can be found. The Keningau Terminal Bus used for minivans only. The bus go to town service by mini bus. Express bus is used for long distances to Kota Kinabalu, Sandakan, Lahad Datu and Tawau.


Main article: Keningau Airport
The main entrance to Keningau Airport.

Keningau Airport (Malay : Lapangan Terbang Keningau) (IATA: KGUICAO: WBKG) is a privately owned airport and also an abandoned airport and use for domestic flight. It Just 2.5 km from Keningau Town. After Sabah has 5 airport (Kota Kinabalu, Sandakan, Tawau, Lahad Datu and Kudat), the Keningau Airport is not used for domestic flights. The last flight to Keningau by Malaysia Airlines was in the 1970s.

Other utilities

Courts of law and legal enforcement

The Keningau court complex is located along Jalan Nyamok. It contains the High Court, Sessions Court, and the Magistrate Court. The new court also built in the same place. It is the biggest Magistrate Court in Keningau.

The district police headquarters is located at Jalan OKK Sodomon, while other police station can be found throughout the district such as in Police substations (Pondok Polis) are found in Apin-Apin, Bingkor and Sook in Keningau areas, and the Keningau Prison is located in the town centre.


There is one public hospital, eight public health clinics, a child and mother health clinic, four village clinics, one mobile clinic and one 1Malaysia clinics in Keningau. The Keningau Hospital, which is located along Jalan Apin-Apin is the main hospital in Keningau, and has become an important attraction for patients from Nabawan, Sook, Tambunan, and Tenom including from Ranau and Kota Kinabalu patients near the border area.


There are many government or state schools in and around the town. Among the primary schools are

  1. Sekolah Kebangsaan St.Francis Xavier
  2. Sekolah Kebangsaan Ambual
  3. Sekolah Kebangsaan St.James
  4. Sekolah Kebangsaan Apin-Apin
  5. Sekolah Kebangsaan Banjar
  6. Sekolah Kebangsaan Batu Lunguyan
  7. Sekolah Kebangsaan Rancangan Biah
  8. Sekolah Kebangsaan Binaong
  9. Sekolah Kebangsaan Bingkor
  10. Sekolah Kebangsaan Bonor
  11. Sekolah Kebangsaan Bulu Silou
  12. Sekolah Kebangsaan Bundu Apin-Apin
  13. Sekolah Kebangsaan Bunsit
  14. Sekolah Kebangsaan Kawakaan
  15. Sekolah Kebangsaan Dalit
  16. Sekolah Kebangsaan Delayan Tulid
  17. Sekolah Kebangsaan Kabatang Baru
  18. Sekolah Kebangsaan Kalampun
  19. Sekolah Kebangsaan Kampong Baru
  20. Sekolah Kebangsaan Kampong Biah
  21. Sekolah Kebangsaan Kampong Keningau
  22. Sekolah Kebangsaan Karamatoi
  23. Sekolah Kebangsaan Jaya Baru
  24. Sekolah Kebangsaan Pekan Keningau
  25. Sekolah Kebangsaan Inandung
  26. Sekolah Kebangsaan Bariawa Ulu
  27. Sekolah Kebangsaan Kapayan Baru
  28. Sekolah Kebangsaan Lanas
  29. Sekolah Kebangsaan Liau Apin-Apin
  30. Sekolah Kebangsaan Luagan
  31. Sekolah Kebangsaan Magatang
  32. Sekolah Kebangsaan Mansiat
  33. Sekolah Kebangsaan Membulu
  34. Sekolah Kebangsaan Menawo
  35. Sekolah Kebangsaan Merampong
  36. Sekolah Kebangsaan Mamagun
  37. Sekolah Kebangsaan Pasir Putih
  38. Sekolah Kebangsaan Pohon Batu
  39. Sekolah Kebangsaan Kuala Kahaba
  40. Sekolah Kebangsaan Senagang
  41. Sekolah Kebangsaan Sinaron Tengah
  42. Sekolah Kebangsaan Sodomon
  43. Sekolah Kebangsaan Sook
  44. Sekolah Kebangsaan Membulu
  45. Sekolah Kebangsaan Tuarid Taud
  46. Sekolah Kebangsaan Tulid
  47. Sekolah Kebangsaan Ulu Liawan
  48. Sekolah Kebangsaan Ansip
  49. Sekolah Kebangsaan Malima
  50. Sekolah Kebangsaan Penagatan
  51. Sekolah Kebangsaan Sinua
  52. Sekolah Kebangsaan Meninipir
  53. Sekolah Kebangsaan Malaing
  54. Sekolah Kebangsaan Bunga Raya
  55. Sekolah Kebangsaan Sinulihan Baru
  56. Sekolah Kebangsaan Simbuan Tulid
  57. Sekolah Kebangsaan Ulu Senagang
  58. Sekolah Kebangsaan Gaulan
  59. Sekolah Kebangsaan Patikang Laut Keningau
  60. Sekolah Kebangsaan Binuwou Tengah
  61. Sekolah Kebangsaan Rancangan Belia Tuilon
  62. Sekolah Kebangsaan Binakaan
  63. Sekolah Kebangsaan Bunang Sook
  64. Sekolah Kebangsaan Lintuhun Baru
  65. Sekolah Kebangsaan Nangkawangan
  66. Sekolah Kebangsaan Nandagan
  67. Sekolah Kebangsaan Binanon
  68. Sekolah Kebangsaan Pangas
  69. Sekolah Jenis Kebangsaan (C) Yuk Yin
  70. Sekolah Jenis Kebangsaan (C) Yuk Kong
  71. Sekolah Jenis Kebangsaan (C) Cheng Ming

secondary schools are

  1. Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Gunsanad
  2. Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Gunsanad II
  3. Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Bingkor
  4. Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Keningau
  5. Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Keningau II
  6. Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Sook
  7. Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Ken Hwa
  8. Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan St. Francis Xavier
  9. Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Tulid
  10. Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Apin-Apin
  11. Sekolah Menengah Teknik Keningau


The Keningau Regional Library is located in the town and is one of three regional libraries in Sabah, the other in Sandakan and Tawau. All these libraries are operated by the Sabah State Library.


The first shopping mall in Keningau.

Keningau features a number of shopping malls. These include Keningau Mall (The first shopping Mall in Keningau), Servay Supermarket, Hiap Lee Supermarket and the old shopping Milimewa 1 and new Milimewa 2. In the future, Keningau will be the first district which will have the biggest shopping mall in the Interior Division.


The Keningau Sport Complex features badminton, tennis, volleyball and basketball as well as two stadiums for hockey and football. The Keningau stadium for football has 10,000 capacity only. It is just 1 km from Keningau Town. In 2011, Keningau Sport Complex became the host for Sabah Games (Sukan Sabah / SAGA).

Notable peoples

See also


External links

Coordinates: 5°20′N 116°10′E / 5.333°N 116.167°E / 5.333; 116.167