Sunday, February 19, 2006


Allan Dumbong
I am pleased to share about the background of the District of keningau, where I was born in 1964. Keningau, is indeed, a very interesting and popular district, not only because of its long history of its modern administration, or the application of its native laws, or its beautiful landscaping and scenary but also because of its cultural richness.

Keningau is the oldest and largest district in the interior part of Sabah. According to stories, last time this District has many “Kayu Manis” trees which is also called “Kayu Keningau”. The Skin of the trees can be made into spices and becomes favorites to traders from outside, especially from the West. The Englishmen collected he skin of ”Kayu Keningau” trees and sold internationally by The North Borneo English Company (Syarikat Inggeris Borneo Utara) in spice trading. The traders started to learn about the “Keningau” Trees. They are moved to gain more of the “Kayu Keningau” therefore making the name “Keningau” becomes famous in the interior. Because the “Kayu Manis” Trees are called “Keningau” Trees, therefore the village people start to call the village Keningau. And to eases the introduction of the Keningau District, The Keningau District name is put in the North Borneo Map (now are called Sabah), therefore The Keningau District has established its name. That’s how The Keningau District got its name, which is from a “Kayu Manis” tree in Malay and the “Keningau” tree in the local dialect.

The Keningau District has an area of about 353,282 hectare or 872,960 acres (1364 square miles) situated in a land surrounded by the Crocker Range on the West and the Mt Trus Madi on the East and South.

Based on the Census by the Statistics Department of Malaysia (2000), 90 % of the population in Keningau are Kadazandusun and Murut, 8 % Chinese and other locals. This do not include the illegal immigrants.

Kadazandusun - 59,607 peoples
Murut - 23,823 peoples
Cina - 9,082 peoples
Bajau - 3,903 peoples
Generally, the people of Keningau profess certain religion. It is estimated that about 60% of the people of Keningau are Christians, 30% are Muslims, and the remaining are other beliefs like Buddhism etc. Churches, Mosques, and Chinese temple are found in many places in Keningau. Despite having different creed, the people could mingle and live with each other harmoniusly.
The Keningau township are connected by road through the Kimanis/Papar and Tambunan road from Kota Kinabalu City about 138 Kilometers. 67 Kilometers form Nabawan, 35 Kilometers from Sook and 48 Kilometers from Tenom. Apart from that, an airport for small aircraft was also built, for flights three times a week (Monday, Wednesday and Friday) from Kota Kinabalu, but unfortunately the service is cancelled currently due to the up-gradation of the airport.
About 45% of keningau has been covered with the telecommunication networks, either through cable or wireless technology. About the same percentage are also benefiting from other basic facilities like electricity and chlorinated-water supply.

The Keningau District is administered by few State Department and the Federal along with the Locals, where the District Office act as the central administration department. The Keningau town is adminsitred by the Keningau District Council.

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