Sabah (Malay pronunciation: [sa?bah]) is a state of Malaysia located on the northern portion of Borneo Island. Sabah has land borders with the Malaysian state of Sarawak to the southwest, and Indonesia's Kalimantan region to the south. The Federal Territory of Labuan is an island just off the Sabah coast. Sabah shares maritime borders with Vietnam in the west and the Philippines to the north and east. Kota Kinabalu is the capital city, the economic centre of the state and the seat of the Sabah state government. Other major towns in Sabah include Sandakan and Tawau. As of the 2015 census in Malaysia, the state's population is 3,543,500. Sabah has an equatorial climate with tropical rainforests and abundant animal and plant species. The state has long mountain ranges on the west side which form part of the Crocker Range National Park. Kinabatangan River, second longest river in Malaysia runs through Sabah and Mount Kinabalu is the highest point of Sabah as well as of Malaysia.
The earliest human settlement in Sabah can be traced back to 20,000–30,000 years ago along the Darvel Bay area at the Madai-Baturong caves. The state had a trading relationship with China from the 14th century AD. Sabah came under the influence of the Bruneian Empire in the 14th–15th century while the eastern part of the territory fell under the influence of Sultanate of Sulu between the 17th–18th centuries. The state was subsequently acquired by the British-based North Borneo Chartered Company in the 19th century. During World War II, Sabah was occupied by the Japanese for three years. It became a British Crown Colony in 1946. On 31 August 1963, Sabah was granted self-government by the British. Following this, Sabah became one of the founding members of the Federation of Malaysia (established on 16 September 1963) alongside Sarawak, Singapore (expelled in 1965), and the Federation of Malaya (Peninsular Malaysia or West Malaysia). The federation was opposed by neighbouring Indonesia, which led to the Indonesia–Malaysia confrontation over three years along with the threats of annexation by the Philippines, threats which continue to the present day.
Sabah exhibits notable diversity in ethnicity, culture and language. The head of state is the Governor, also known as the Yang di-Pertua Negeri, while the head of government is the Chief Minister. The government system is closely modelled on the Westminster parliamentary system and has one of the earliest state legislature system in Malaysia. Sabah is divided into administrative divisions and districts. Malay is the official language of the state; and Islam is the state religion; but other religions may be practised in peace and harmony in any part of the state. Sabah is known for its traditional musical instrument, the sompoton. The Sabah International Folklore Festival is the main folklore event in Malaysia, other festivals including the Borneo Bird Festival, Borneo Bug Fest, Borneo Eco Film Festival, Kota Kinabalu Food Fest, Kota Kinabalu Jazz Festival, Sabah Dragon Boat Festival, Sabah Fest and Sabah Sunset Music Festival. Sabah is the only state in Malaysia to celebrate the Kaamatan festival.
Sabah has abundant natural resources, and its economy is strongly export-oriented. Its primary exports include oil, gas, timber and palm oil. The other major industries are agriculture and ecotourism.
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