As provided by the Town & Country Planning Ordinance (Sabah Cap. 141), anyone who has the intention to develop any land within Sabah must obtain planning permission from the respective Local Authority. Town & Regional Planning Department of Sabah advises all Local Authorities in the State to ensure that all development plans or proposals submitted comply with the Planning Schemes (District Plans and Local Plans), alongside compliances with the requirements as set out in related standards and guidelines.

Therefore, it is advisable for anyone, prior to submitting development plans or interested in developing their land anywhere in Sabah, that they may review the respective Planning Schemes to ensure the development is planned and executed properly and in accordance with the policies contained in the respective Planning Schemes.



Planning system in Sabah consists of two major levels, as explained below:

Based on the hierarchy, Structure Plan is the highest planning legal framework in Sabah. Two Structure Plans have been published so far which are Structure Plan 2020 and Sabah Structure Plan 2033 (SSP2033). The latter has been declared as Government Gazette and as a statutory document of the Government. It contains policies and proposals which shall be interpreted further into detailed Planning Schemes i.e. District Plan and Local Plan.

In other words, the entire contents of the Structure Plan should be interpreted into District Plans and Local Plans in the form of land use zones and the accompanying standards and guidelines in accordance with the particular land use zone.

Therefore, in this context, developers must ensure any development plans submitted are in accordance with the contents of District Plans or Local Plans because these Planning Schemes are the manifestation of the Structure Plan, which is a macro planning policies document that is created by the government and expected to be used as guide in land use planning.