The state of Sabah is the second largest state in Malaysia after Sarawak with which it shares its borders on it south west region. Sabah also shares it borders with East Kalimantan of Indonesia in the south while the other cardinal directions face the South China Sea. The capital of the state of Sabah is Kota Kinabalu, formerly known as Jesselton during British rule. As it is located under the typhoon prone region of Phillipines, it is also known as Sabah, negeri di bawah bayu which mean Sabah, land below the wind.
Sabah geographical structure is a mix of mountainous regions, beaches and tropical rainforests. The western side is mostly mountainous with three of Malaysia’s highest mountains being a part of it. The Crocker range is the most famous of it, with mountains upto 4,000 meters of height. Mount Kinabalu, at 4,095 meters is the highest mountain in Malaysia and the fourth highest in Asia. The tropical rainforests of Sabah include the Kinabalu National Park which was declared as a World Heritage Site in 2000 due to its ecological diversity.
Close by to Mount Kinabalu is Mount Tambuyukon, which is 2,579 meters in height, is the third highest peak in the country. Next to the Crocker Range is the Trus Madi Range which houses the Mount Trus Made, the second highest peak in Malaysia. These mountain ranges extend themselves till the central part of Sabah. The lower laying areas of the mountain ranges are mostly covered with rivers and dense rainforests.
Petite mountain ranges cover the central and eastern portion of Sabah where the Kinabatangan River originates and finally meets the Sulu sea. The forest surrounding the river is the largest forest covered floodplain in Malaysia. Most of the urban towns are located along the costal areas while small villages and town form the interiors. There are other protected wildlife areas in Sabah other than Kinabalu, like Maliau Basin, Danum Valley, Tabin, and Sepilok.
Sabah is divided into five administrative divisions; namely: West Coast Division, Interior Division, Kudat Division, Sandakan Division, Tawau Division and Labuan Division. In 1984, Labuan was declared as a federal territory.