Kota Kinabalu pre-war building celebrates its 100th year

Sabah Tourism Board staff pose in front of the historic building.

KOTA KINABALU: A colonial-era building here that had withstood air raids during the second World War celebrated its 100th year yesterday.

The building, which now houses the Sabah Tourism Board (STB), had once accommodated the offices of the Treasury, Post Office and Attorney-General among others.

Sabah Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Masidi Manjun said the people must appreciate that this great white structure survived a war, endured developments around it and weathered the test of time.

“When Sabah was under the colonial government, it was a printing office, treasury and bank. In fact, we fondly know this building as the Old Post Office,” he said, adding the state government gazetted it as a historical building in 1988.

Masidi looking at a gramaphone, one of the antiquities from a bygone era.

Masidi said the tourism industry must continue thinking of creative ways to present itself to stand out among the rest.

“Physically, we are not going to be here for the next 100 years but if we continue with this momentum, our industry will remain resilient, just like this building,” he said.

A large crowd that also included Masidi’s assistant minister Pang Nyuk Ming, Mayor Yeo Boon Hai and STB chairman Joniston Bangkuai were treated to a carnival-like affair at the grounds of the building.

There was a 100m-long cake, live band performance and the highlight was a 3D mapping on the building, which told the long history of one of Kota Kinabalu’s most iconic structures.

Masidi (7th from left) giving the thumbs up with other dignitaries during the 100th year anniversary celebration.

The building’s construction began in 1916. It was designed and supervised by JW Norman, a colonial executive engineer.

It was officially opened by the British North Borneo Chartered Company governor AC Pearson on March 16, 1918.

After the war, the building remained the home for the post office before merging with the telegraphs department. The Postal department took over the building in 1968 and stayed on until 1986.

About a year later, the state’s tourism authority, known then as tourism and environmental authority ministry, moved in. The building is also under the care of the Sabah Museum and State Archives Department.

In 1991, the Sabah Tourism Promotion Corporation (now STB) moved into the building.

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