16.1 Introduction
16.2 Social Facilities in the Data Dictionary
16.3 Schools
16.3.1 Higher Education
16.4 Medical and Health Facilities
16.4.1 General and District Hospitals
16.4.2 Specialist Centre
16.4.3 Private Clinic
16.4.4 Rural Clinic
16.5 Religious
16.6 Sports Centre
16.7 Community Halls
16.8 Major Libraries
16.9 Public Parks
16.10 Information Issues

Previous ChapterContentsNext


16.1  Introduction

The social facilities that are included in this coastal profile include educational facilities, medical facilities, libraries, religious facilities and fire services facilities. These facilities provide important services to the development of the socio-economic and wellbeing of the State.

The educational facilities in Sabah is still lagging behind other states in Malaysia in terms of higher education but are comparable in terms of primary and secondary school facilities.

Medical and health facilities in the major towns like Kota Kinabalu, Sandakan, Tawau, Lahad Datu, Kota Belud, Tuaran, Kudat and Papar are well equipped to serve the Community in the respective towns. Where there is lacking, there are many private clinics within the major towns that supplement the facilities of the Government Hospitals and Clinics. In smaller towns and in the rural areas, the communities may not be as fortunate as in the urban areas in terms of health care facilities. Nonetheless, some form of health care are provided though not fully equipped as the town centre.

Religious facilities are widely distributed among the diverse religious belief of the population

16.2  Social Facilities in the Data Dictionary

Figure 68: Social Facilities in the Data Dictionary.

The social facilities in the data dictionary is described in six separate headings. These are education, medical, religious, sports, community halls, libraries and park facilities. The education facilities are described that include the location of schools, capacity and discipline in the case of Universities and Colleges and number of schools and location in the case of pre-primary, primary and secondary schools. The medical facilities are grouped in types of hospitals down to doctors and number of beds provided in hospitals. The other categories of social facilities like religious facilities, sports centre, community halls, libraries, and public park facilities are presented by simply stating what is there.

16.3  Schools

Generally, educational facilities in Sabah is manned by the Federal Education Department. There are two types of Schools in Sabah, government and privately managed schools. But even privately owned schools are under the jurisdiction of the Federal Education Department particularly in terms of curriculum and discipline. Operating a private colleges and school mush have approval from the Ministry of Education before any school starts operation.

16.3.1  Higher Education

Higher education in Sabah consists of University, Colleges, vocational and technical schools. There is only one University in Sabah at present, which is wholly owned by the Government. There are several colleges as well as technical and vocational school. Table 102 shows the list of University and Colleges in Sabah.

Students entering higher institutions must have successfully completed the Malaysian Certificate of Education (MCE) or Higher School Certificate (HSC). Education at this level provides specialised training in various field of study to prepare students for tertiary education.


The only University in Sabah is the University Malaysia Sabah located about 5 km north of Kota Kinabalu, which is a government run University, established on November 24th November , 1994. Since its establishment, the University has its second session intake in 1996/97. It has also established six schools of discipline and 4 research units. The six schools are: the School of Science and Technology, the School of Social Science, the School of Business and Economics, the School of Information Technology, the School of Education and Social Development and the School of Food and Nutrition Science. While the 4 research units are the Borneo Marine Research Unit, the Tropical Biology and Rehabilitation Research Unit, the Ethnographic and Development Research Unit and the Psychology and Social Health Research Units.

All these schools offer a 3 year degree program.

Currently, the University has 1,400 matriculation students, 2,000 in the first degree program, 77 masters students and 9 students in the doctoral program103.

No information was made available pertaining to the capacity of the University or the number of staff of the University.


Available information indicates that there are several privately owned and government owned colleges in Sabah . Most of these colleges are all located in the West Coast. Of these colleges, Kinabalu College is the earlier established college in Sabah while the others are branches of colleges established in West Malaysia. No data was made available as to the capacity of these colleges in terms of student enrolment, but all these colleges are business and management oriented colleges with the exception of Inti-College which offer a twining degree program. There are 4 teachers training college in Sabah as shown in Table 102.

Vocational /Technical Schools.

Vocational schools found in Sabah are in the field of Agriculture and Technical (mechanical) and technical information Schools. There are two Agricultural Vocational Schools in Sabah, one is the Agricultural Vocational School (now known as Agricultural Institute) located at Timbang Menggaris Kota Belud and the other is the Agricultural Training Centre located at Putatan. The former is a three year certificate level Agricultural Vocational Schools while the later is a 9 months Agricultural Training Certificate. (No information was supplied to ICZM regarding the capacity of these two schools but more information may be obtained from the Agriculture Head Office Education Section). The other technical schools found in Sabah are Informatic, which is strictly an information technology school. The Sabah Institute of Art is also a technical school in the field of Arts and Graphic Design. There are two Engineering technical schools in Sabah, one is the Sabah Institute of Technology owned by the Borneo Development Corporation and the government owned Technical School in Sandakan.

Table 102: List of University and Colleges in Sabah


Name of College


Discipline/ Programme



University Malaysia Sabah


5 Schools/ Degree

Kota Kinabalu


MARA Institute Technology


Business/ Diploma

Kota Kinabalu


Agricultural Institute



Kota Belud


Agricultural Training Centre





Stanford College


Business and Management /Diploma

Kota Kinabalu


Kolej Ibukota



Kota Kinabalu


Kinabalu Commercial College


Business and Management/ Diploma

Kota Kinabalu


Inti College





Gaya Teacher's Training College



Kota Kinabalu


Kent Teachers Training College





Keningau Teachers Training College





Sandakan Teachers Training College





Nursing School (QEH)



Kota Kinabalu


Chung Sing Pre University



Kota Kinabalu


Likas Vocational School



Kota Kinabalu


Likas Polytechnic



Kota Kinabalu


Kudat Vocational School





Sabah Institute of Arts and Design





Sabah Institute of Technology


Certificate & Diploma

Kolombong, KK

Secondary Schools.

Secondary schools in Sabah are both government and partially government assisted schools. Table 103 shows the total number of Secondary schools currently operating in each district of Sabah and Labuan as of 1996. As shown in the table, there are 144 secondary schools in Sabah and 6 in Labuan. Of the 144 secondary schools in Sabah, 34 of them are government assisted schools and 6 vocational schools while the remaining 104 are fully government owned. As of 1996, a total of 145,295 students were enrolled in secondary schools throughout Sabah of which 23% were enrolled in the government assisted schools and 75% were in government owned schools while the remaining 2% were in vocational schools104.

Table 103: Number of Secondary Schools By Education District in Sabah and Labuan, 1996

Education District Government School Government Assisted School Vocational Secondary Schools Total
Keningau 5 2 1 8
Nabawan 1 - - 1
Tambunan 2 1 - 3
Tenom 2 2 - 4
Sandakan 9 5 1 15
Beluran 4 - - 4
Kinabatangan 2 - - 2
Tawau 9 4 1 14
Lahad Datu 6 1 1 8
Kunak 2 - - 2
Semporna 6 - - 6
Kota Kinabalu 10 8 1 19
Penampang 3 1 - 4
Papar 4 2 - 6
Tuaran 4 1 - 5
Tamparuli 2 1 - 3
Kudat 5 2 1 8
Kota Marudu 2 - - 2
Pitas 2 - - 2
Kota Belud 5 - - 5
Ranau 8 - - 8
Beaufort 5 2 - 7
Membakut 2 1 - 3
Sipitang 2 - - 2
Kuala Penyu 2 1 - 3
SABAH TOTAL 104 34 6 144
Labuan (FT) 3 2 1 6

Source: Yearbook of Statistics of Sabah, 1997.

There are 3 levels of the secondary schools systems. These levels are the Lower Secondary (Form I to III - ages 12 - 14), the Middle Secondary (Form IV and V - ages 15 - 16) and the Upper Secondary which is divided into two tiers, the Lower Form VI - age 17, and the Upper Form VI - age 18105. Hence, there are three levels of examination, the Lower Secondary Assessment Exam (LCE) the Malaysian Certificate of Education (MCE) and the Malaysia Higher School Certificate of Education (MHSE).

Students to teachers ratio in Secondary schools varies between district but total students to teachers ratio as of 1996 are 20:1 for Sabah and 15:1 for Labuan.

Primary Schools

As with the secondary schools, the primary schools are also of two types, the government owned and the partially government aided schools. As of 1996, there are a total of 975 primary schools operating in Sabah and 14 in Labuan. Table 104 shows the total number of primary school in each district. Of the total number of primary schools, 823 of them are government owned and 152 are privately run but partially assisted by the government.

There are 287,410 pupils enrolled in the primary school in Sabah as of 1996 of which 79.2% are in government school and 20.8% are in private primary schools. The students to teachers ratio in the primary school is 15:1 for government school and 19:1 for private school.

Table 104: Number of Primary Schools By Education District in Sabah and Labuan, 1996

Education District Government School Government Assisted School Total
Keningau 64 4 68
Nabawan 25 - 25
Tambunan 25 3 28
Tenom 28 12 40
Sandakan 47 16 63
Beluran 46 2 48
Kinabatangan 39 1 40
Tawau 33 18 51
Lahad Datu 27 9 36
Kunak 12 1 13
Semporna 35 2 37
Kota Kinabalu 35 16 51
Penampang 18 7 25
Papar 28 12 40
Tuaran 35 5 40
Tamparuli 30 4 34
Kudat 36 15 51
Kota Marudu 27 1 28
Pitas 27 - 27
Kota Belud 51 3 54
Ranau 61 3 64
Beaufort 35 6 41
Membakut 18 3 21
Sipitang 21 3 24
Kuala Penyu 20 6 26
SABAH TOTAL 823 152 975
Labuan (FT) 11 3 14

Source: Yearbook of Statistic of Sabah, 1997


      No available information for pre-school facilities at the time of writing this chapter.

16.4  Medical and Health Facilities

Like all other social facilities in Sabah, the medical and health facilities are owned by the government but supplemented by privately owned facilities. Medical facilities data used in this Coastal Profile document are data from the government owned facilities as data for privately owned medical facilities were not provided. Even the data for the government owned facilities are not complete for this discussion.

16.4.1  General and District Hospitals

Currently there are only three General Hospitals existing in Sabah. These are the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, the Duchess of Kent Hospital and the Keningau General Hospital. All other districts in Sabah are served by the 14 District Hospitals. One other hospital operated by the Government is the Mental Hospital located at Bukit Padang.

Doctors and other medical personnel

Based on statistical record in the Yearbook of Statistic 1997, as of 1996, there are a total of 518 doctors registered in Sabah but only 293 of these doctors serve in the government hospitals in both the general and the district hospitals. The remaining 225 registered doctors are attached in private clinics. The number of Doctors and other medical personnel from 1992 to 1996 are shown in Table 105. Doctors in each of these hospitals are assisted by trained medical personnel such as the State Registered Nurses, the State Certified Midwives, Medical Assistants, Trained Assistant Nurses and Community Health Nurses. There are 982 trained nurses who are both State Registered and State Certified serving the government hospitals in Sabah. Trained Nurses without State Certification are 699 and 1,488 Assistant Nurses are serving the Government Hospitals as of 1996. These are further assisted by 443 Trained Medical Assistants and 588 community health nurses. The patients to doctors ratio in Sabah varies from District to District but no available data to quantify this information.

Table 105: Number of Doctors and Medical Personnel in Sabah, 1992-1996

Medical Personnel 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996
Registered Doctors          


210 198 216 291 293


183 196 204 211 225
Total 393 394 420 502 518
Dental Doctors (a)106          


30 26 28 31 24


30 28 28 33 35
Total 60 54 56 64 59
Registered Dentists (b)107 38 24 37 37 36
Trained Nurses (SRN108 & SCM109) 785 830 896 941 982
Trained Nurses (SRN) 462 476 560 637 699
Trained Medical Assistants 406 413 427 424 443
Trained Assistant Nurses 1,336 1,397 1,428 1,459 1,488
Community Health Nurses 563 536 540 552 588

Sources: Yearbook of Statistics of Sabah, 1997

Hospitals Beds.

Data available for the year 1996 indicates that there are a total of 3042 beds in all the government hospitals in Sabah. A total of 1,183 of the beds are in the three general hospitals and 1,557 are in district hospitals while 302 are in the Mental Hospitals. The number of beds allocated to each hospitals either general or district hospitals varies widely from district to district but information on the specific number for each district is still lacking. Patients to bed ratio in each hospitals also varies from district to district.


16.4.2  Specialist Centre

There is no known specialist centre run by the government in Sabah. Available information indicates that there are three Specialist Centre located within the Kota Kinabalu area. These are the Sabah Medical Centre, the Damai Specialist Centre and the Kota Kinabalu Specialist Centre. All three centres are privately operated. Due to the lack of information on privately operated medical facilities in Sabah, it is not known if there are other specialist centre existing in other district of Sabah.

16.4.3 Private Clinic

As indicated earlier, no information was provided pertaining to privately operated clinics. Data such as the number of private clinics, services provided, number of doctors and facilities are important to complete this section.

16.4.4  Rural Clinic

Data obtained from the Yearbook of Statistics 1997 indicated that there are 72 Fixed Health Clinics, 6 Mobile Clinics and 24 Maternal and Child Clinic owned by the Government in Sabah as of 1996. However, it is not clear whether these clinic are rural clinics or otherwise. No data was provided as to the number of staff and beds available in these clinics.

16.5  Religious

The population of Sabah come from a very diverse background. As such, religious belief are also very diverse, but the four dominant religion are Islam, Christian, Buddhist and Hindu. However, no data was provided as to the number and location of each of these facilities in Sabah.

16.6  Sports Centre

Sport centres are mostly provided in most of the Secondary Schools and Government University but private colleges lack this facility. Several government as well as privately own sport centres can be found in each district but the largest one is the Likas Sports complex located in Kota Kinabalu.

16.7  Community Halls

Community Hall is provided in every district but varies in size and facilities. Apart from the District Community Halls, Town Community Halls are also provided as well as Village Community Halls. No data was provided as to the number and facilities available in community halls.

16.8  Major Libraries

The major towns like Sandakan, Tawau, and Keningau are served by Regional Library except for Kota Kinabalu where the State Library is located. The other smaller towns in the state are provided by Branch Library while villages are either provided by Mobile Library or Village library. There are a total of 69 public libraries in Sabah of which 1 is State Library, 3 regional libraries, 18 branch libraries, 11 mobile libraries and 36 village libraries.

School libraries are also found in almost all the Colleges and University in Sabah but public access to these libraries are limited.

16.9  Public Parks

It is believed that public parks are provided in every district but information on their facilities were not provided. The only parks that is known to the author at the time of writing are the Tunku Abdul Rahman Park located in Kota Kinabalu, the Kinabalu Park located in the Ranau District and the Turtle Island Park located in Sandakan District. Since most park are connected to the coastal zone, information on this facility is important to be included in the Coastal Zone Profile.

16.10  Information Issues

There is a large gap to be filled in this chapter with regards to data for the completion of this chapter. The Coastal Profile of Sabah as a document is only as good as the information included in it. For this chapter, very little data were supplied for the preparation of the chapter. In the education facilities section, data that are still lacking are the data on capacities and disciplines as well as number of staff of the University Malaysia Sabah and all the other private Colleges operating in Sabah. Also needed is the number of pre-schools and types of their facilities in Sabah. It is believed that these data or information available either at the Education Department or the University and the Colleges involved.

In the Medical facilities section, data available are too general and patchy especially the number of doctors and beds in each hospitals as well as the districts where these hospitals are located. These information are important consideration in planning for hospitals and staffing management. Information pertaining to public health clinics are also too general and do not indicate whether the location of these clinics. It is also important to know the availability of private medical facilities as these facilities are important supplementary to the government facilities. These data need to be collected. Since it is a requirement of the Government that each of these private facilities must have a licence to practice, this indicates that information regarding private clinics are available at the local authorities offices.

Other data that are still needed for the completion of this chapter are the number of religious facilities in Sabah, the number of sports facilities, community halls and public park.

Previous ChapterContentsNext

103This information was obtained from a speech by the Vice Chancellor of the University Malaysia Sabah during the launching of the UMS Galaxea- research boat of the Borneo Marine Unit of the University.

104Data sourced from Yearbook of Statistics Sabah, 1997

105Information obtained from Sandakan Coastal Profile Chapter 14.

106Registered Dentist with professional Qualification

107Registered Dentist without professional qualification

108State Registered Nurse

109State Certified Midwives