Tawau (Jawi: تاواو) is the name of a division, district and town in Sabah. Tawau is now the third largest city in Sabah after Kota Kinabalu and
Sandakan. The city is connected to Kota Kinabalu via a 500 km road, the air route via Tawau International Airport and the sea through
Tawau Port. Obviously known before the 1890s. However Tawau has been populated by a small fishing village with
200 people mostly made up of the Τidung and Suluk descendants of the Malays before 1890 (before that there were early settlements
the Tidung Islamic Malay community in Kalabakan under the auspices of the Bolongan-Tarakan Sultanate and the settlement of the Bajau community in Semporna). At that time Tawau was
under the authority of the Sultanate of Sulu. In an agreement signed on 22 January 1878, the Sultanate of Sulu handed over areas in the vicinity of the existing Tawau
present to the English side.
Tawau became part of British colonies through the British Borneo (Chartered) British North Borneo (SBUB). By note
The North Borneo Annual Volume (1955-1965) states the administrative system began in 1898, following the steps of the SBUB party to open a settlement
in Tawau and subsequently establish the foundations of the local government administration there.
To avoid conflicts with the Dutch who ruled Kalimantan at that time (Tawau shared the border between Dutch colonies with
British colonies), the British government has taken steps to set boundaries. This is due to the original boundary of the area
handed over to the British by both the Sultan of Brunei and the Sultan of Sulu is under the Sibuco River adjacent to Tarakan (Indonesia) where the area
it is included under the Dutch rule that was already existing in the area. Following that a Border Commission was established
in 1912 consisting of officials from the United Kingdom and the Netherlands. (History of Malaysia)
A Joint Report was prepared with a map and signed by their respective Commissioners in Tawau on 17 February 1913. Then follow
protocol between the United Kingdom and the Netherlands which was signed in London on September 28, 1915, both governments confirmed the joint report and the map.
With the creation of British rule in Tawau, various facilities were provided such as hospitals, schools, police stations, shophouses, Tawau harbors
as well as roads and village roads built by PWD, a government department where its employees are from local residents of Tawau.
The rights and privileges of local communities have been recognized by the British Government with the appointment of the Native Chief to represent the local residents in Tawau for
to state the needs and concerns of the people to the British Government. Prior to that, the Head of Society was given to Habib Sheikh in 1912
while the post of Imam was given to Imam Mustapa in 1916. The post of Native Head with the title of the Rich Rich (OKK) was the first appointed Government
The British in the late 1920s were OKK Kee Abdullah, a Chinese Muslim. While in 1937 until 1953, Penghulu Abu Bakar (OKK Kee Abdullah 's son) had
Appointed as the Head of Native. He is responsible for providing legal land titles officially to the locals
settlement around Tawau to guarantee the privilege of local residents as indigenous peoples in Tawau district.
Establishment of Tawau Malay National Society (PKMT) in 1945 founded by Datuk Abu Bakar Titingan with other Malay leaders to
championing the rights and interests of these Malaysians, has united the local Malay community of Tawau. The members of this association are all together
with Tun Datu Mustapa Datu Harun through USNO, demanding independence for the state of Sabah through Malaysia in 1963. While the establishment of the Tawau Islamic Association
(PIT) chaired by Haji Abdul Karim Haji Drahman and assisted by Datuk Kassim Kamidin in 1956 has prompted the establishment of USIA which guarantees
Islamic integrity throughout Sabah.
( Reference: Information from the Sabah State Museum )