(formally independent North Borneo, now a state of Malaysia)
Rotary International District 3310
Part of our History of Rotary in Asia
A Brief History
"Sabah, land below the wind" - south of the typhoon prone region around the Philippines.
Originally under the Sultanate of Brunei (from 1658), this area has been also under control or outright ownership of the British East India Company (from 1761), an American trading company (from 1865), the Austrian Consulate in Hong Kong (from 1871) the British North Borneo Company (from 1882) and finally as a protectorate of Great Britain (from 1888).
On 16 September 1963 it joined Sarawak, Singapore and Malaya to form the "Federation of Malaysia" which had already gained independence from Britain in 1957.
Singapore separated in 1965 leaving the remaining areas as "Malaysia".
The following information was extracted from a Powerpoint presentation by PDG Datuk George Anthony Ginibun at the “20th Pan Borneo Meet” held in Kuching, Sarawak in May 2007.
The rapid growth and success of Rotary in the Kingdom of Thailand, British Malaya, Straights Settlement of Singapore, Sarawak and Brunei made it imperative and urgent, that Rotary should also exist in the last bastion of the British dependencies in South East Asia.
And so it was Dato’ Panglima Kinta, Dato Mohamed Eusoff, DG 1951/1952 that undertook this heavy task. He appointed President H. Earnshaw of the RC of Kuching and Rtn Horace G. Gray, to carry out a preliminary survey.
A large gathering of leaders attended the first interest meeting in Jesselton, now Kota Kinabalu.
On the 24th November, 1952 with 22 charter members, the first Rotary Club in North Borneo was chartered. A.J.B. Dickson was elected as the Charter President.
There was no looking back for Rotary Club of Kota Kinabalu, as it continued to sponsor five other Rotary Clubs – RC Sandakan, RC Brunei Town, RC Tawau, RC Likas Bay & RC Tanjung Aru Among the prominent personalities whom have graced the Past Presidents roster for the Rotary Club of Kota Kinabalu were:
Wong Kee Hung, 1961-62
Lucas Chong, 1965-66
Datuk Peter Yew Mun Sang, 1967-68
Wong Tshen Hin, (TH Wong) 68-69
Peng Tien Yuen (TY Peng) 1969-70
Tan Sri Thomas Jayasuria, 1970-71
It is interesting to note here that among the prominent past presidents of RC Kota Kinabalu, two personalities rose to become District Governors namely:
1). The late YBhg Dato’ Seri Haji Rashidi bin Ma’asom President in 1972/73, who became the District Governor for District 330 in 1985/86.
2). The late John Wang Gen Sieh, President in 1977/78, who later became District Governor D. 3300 in 1992/93 Finally, in 1995, after 43 years of Rotary International existence in Borneo, a Sabahan in the person of His Excellency YBhg Datuk George Anthony Ginibun from the Rotary club of Kota Kinabalu South, broke the history of the Rotary movement in Borneo by assuming the high office of the District Governor District 3310 in the year 1995/1996.
From his beginnings as a kampung boy from Penampang, he is undoubtedly the forerunner of many more District Governors to come from East Malaysia.
The second Sabahan who will assume the high office of District Governor in 2008/2009 is YBhg Edward Sung Burongoh from the oldest club in Sabah, the RC of Kota Kinabalu. He comes from Tuaran.
Looking back over the past 50 years, it is interesting to note that there were quite a number of large projects undertaken by the clubs in Kota Kinabalu particularly RC of Kota Kinabalu.
Amongst them are:
Maternity Home, Penampang
Wallace Training Centre for the Blind, Tuaran
Rotary Hospital Lodge, Kota Kinabalu
Construction of 500 toilets in Kota Belud
The Don Bosco Orphanage, Bundu Tuhan
School for the Society for the Deaf
School Girls’ Hostel in Keningau
Water Gravity in Sabah
In addition to that, RC Kota Kinabalu was also instrumental in organizing the following associations
Sabah Society for the Blind, 1961
Sabah Society for the Deaf, 1974
Sabah Mental Health Association, 1975
Sabah Cancer Society, 1983
Senior Citizen Club, 1986
Sabah Thalassaemia Society, 1992
Currently, there are 13 active Rotary Clubs in Sabah