Apa Khabar and Kopivosian!

Since 2004, the School of Arts & Social Sciences (SASS) of Monash University Malaysia has been organising annual study trips within and beyond Malaysia. From 27th June to 2nd July 2017, we will venture on a voyage to someplace closer to home: Sabah, Malaysia. In Search of Sabah 2017 commemorates the 13th study trip held in the “In Search of” series. This blog will pen a kaleidoscope of our escapades – from the sights and sounds to the tastes and smells.

Do follow us and stay tuned as we discover more about the Land Below the Wind!

We #taksabah (tak sabar = can’t wait much excites), are you?


There is no one certain but a vast number of beliefs to the origin of the name Sabah. Sabah, on one hand, derived from the word Saba, is perhaps due to the localisation by local dialects among the indigenous communities. The term Saba refers to the presence of a widely renowned grown variety of banana known as pisang saba on the coast of the region during the Bruneian Sultanate era. With regards to the location of Sabah in relation to Brunei as well, Sabah was suggested as a Brunei Malay word meaning upstream or ‘in a northerly direction’. Sabah has also been mentioned to acquire its name from the Malay word sabak, connotating the place where palm sugar is extracted.

Sabah is one of the two Malaysian states located on the world’s third largest island of Borneo. It boasts an overwhelming breathtaking rich spectrum of nature’s delight: a treasure of turquoise-fringed desert islands, tropical rainforests pulsing with an abundant menagerie of biodiversity plus the most noteworthy trekkers’ paradise Mount Kinabalu; the tallest point of Malaysia and second highest in South-East Asia. The second largest Malaysian state exhibits notable diversity in ethnicity, culture and language. There is an estimate of 42 ethnic groups with over 200 sub-ethnic groups with their own language, culture and beliefs in Sabah that includes the three largest indigenous groups, Kadazan-Dusun, Murut and Bajau. Sabah was prominently featured twice on “The Amazing Race” in 2003 and 2014 and in the British popular reality show of “Survivor: Borneo”. Unlike the other Malaysian states, Sabah is divided into administrative divisions, a legacy of the British North Borneo days. The divisions are in turn segregated into districts.

In Search of Sabah 2017 takes travelers to the West Coast Division comprising of Penampang – the heartland of the Kadazan community, the largest town in the vicinity of Mount Kinabalu of Ranau and state capital of Kota Kinabalu.