Tuesday, December 31, 2013
Kota Kinabalu is often known as K.K. within Malaysia and internationally. Kota Kinabalu is major tourist destination and a popular gateway for travelers visiting Sabah and Borneo. Kota Kinabalu is also one of the major industrial and commercial centres of East Malaysia. These two factors combined making Kota Kinabalu one of the fastest growing city in Malaysia.
History of Kota Kinabalu (KK)
In the late 1800s, British North Borneo Company (BNBC) began to establish colonies settlement throughout North Borneo which is now known as Sabah. In 1882, the Company founded a small settlement in the area known as Gaya Bay which was already inhabited by the local people mostly from Bajau ethnic. The first settlement was on Pulau Gaya or Gaya Island. In 1897, this first settlement was burned and destroyed by the indigenous Bajau freedom fighter led by Mat Salleh. After the rebellion, the BNBC decided to relocate the settlement to an area more easily defended mainland opposite Pulau Gaya. A nearby fishing village named Api-Api was the next settlement of the Company. This new location was then designated as the main harbor and port, as well as the railway terminal for the North Borneo Highway. Today the Kota Kinabalu to Tenom railways still exist but the railway terminal was relocated to Sembulan. The city was expanded and renamed Jesselton, named after Sir Charles Jessel, the then Vice Chairman of the Company.
Eventually, Jesselton became a major trading post of North Borneo, dealing in rubber, rattan, honey and wax. The new railway was used to transport goods to Jesselton harbour. The local people mostly from Bajau community uprisings during these times were not uncommon, and the Company worked to quell the long-standing threat of piracy in the region.
Jesselton was razed by the retreating British early in World War II to prevent it from falling into the hands of the Japanese. After which the post was again renamed as Api-Api. Several rebellions against the Japanese administration took place in Api-Api. At the later stages of the war, what remained of the town was destroyed again by Allied bombings as part of the Borneo campaign in 1945, leaving only three buildings standing. The war in North Borneo ended with the official surrender of the Japanese 37th Army by Lieutenant General Baba Masao in Labuan on September 10, 1945.
After the war, the British North Borneo Company returned to administer Jesselton but was unable to finance the huge costs of reconstruction. They gave control of North Borneo to the British Crown in 1946. The new colonial government elected to rebuild Jesselton as the capital of North Borneo instead of Sandakan, which had also been destroyed by the war.
When North Borneo together with Sarawak, Singapore & Federation of Malaya formed the Federation of Malaysia in September 1963, the state became known as Sabah and Jesselton remained its capital. Jesselton was again renamed Kota Kinabalu on September 30, 1968 and received official city status from the Malaysian government on February 2, 2000.
Being the capital city of Sabah, Kota Kinabalu plays a very important role in the political and economic welfare of the population in the entire state. It is where the location of the state government where almost all of their ministries offices and and government agencies are based. Most of the Federal Government of Malaysia's agencies and departments are also located in Kota Kinabalu.