Sabah historical landmark under big threat

view of the Atkinson Clock Tower

view of the Atkinson Clock Tower

One of our remaining historical heritage, The Atkinson Clock Tower is under threat of uncontrolled development. Somehow, Kota Kinabalu City Hall (DBKK) has approved a joint-venture proposal from a commercial developer and its government department counterpart to build a multi-storey commercial complex right next to now 105-year old clock tower.

The developer is exploiting a legal loophole in the State Antiquities and Treasure Trove Enactment 1977 that protects the Atkinson Clock Tower from being removed. However, by allowing a commercial development at least 44 meters (144 feet) high to be built just mere metres away from the 15.2 metre (50 foot) tall clock tower, the historical significance of the clock tower will be severely and utterly compromised. source

The Clock Tower: A Brief History

The Atkinson Clock Tower is one of the last remaining historical landmarks (still in great condition) in Sabah. The building is situated on a bluff along Signal Hill Road, Bandaran Berjaya. This all-wood, no-nails structure building was initiated by Mary Edith Atkinson (1905) in memory of her son, Francis George Atkinson. He was the first District Officer of Jesselton that died at the young age of 28 by disease called “Borneo fever” in 1902.

Sir Francis George Atkinson

Sir Francis George Atkinson

This Clock Tower has the distinction of being one of the oldest standing structures in the whole of Sabah that survived the destruction of Jesselton town during World War II. The clock tower serves as a beacon for shipping at night in the old days. Over the year, it has undergone renovations and repair but still managed to retain most of its original characteristics. Until today, it still serves to keep the city’s time and is managed by the Sabah Museum under its Antiquity and History section.

Saving the historical landmark

A Facebook community page – Heritage Sabah has been set up by concerned individuals urging the Sabah Government to review and halt the upcoming commercial development. Mr Richard Nelson (author,, have voiced his concern about the recent development that threatened the historical landmark.
An online petition has also been published to urge the Sabah State Government to consider turning the site into a public recreation park.

Quoted from the site:

To: The Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Environment / Sabah Government
We, the people of Sabah and concerned Malaysians are appealing to the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Environment under the Sabah State Government for the following:

  1. To put a halt to the development of the 16-storey commercial shopping mall and hotel to be built immediately next to the 105-year-old historical Atkinson Clock Tower, Kota Kinabalu’s heritage landmark built in 1905.
  2. Redefine and gazette a larger area of the Atkinson Clock Tower hill and its surrounding environment to be safeguarded against commercial development for perpetuity.
  3. To counter propose and redevelop the site of Atkinson Clock Tower and its surroundings as a green lung, historical tourist attraction and public recreation park for the citizens of Kota Kinabalu city.


I personally urge concerned Sabahan and other people who love history to sign this petition,save our last remaining historical landmarks; and do not let it succumbed to the “Uncontrolled Development”. Please do click the link to the petition page:

Sign our petition to save the Atkinson Clock Tower hill site from commercial development!

You really want to see this in the future?

A BIG THANKS to these site that provided pictures for this blog post, Please visit their site as well:
Heritage Sabah Blog
SabahWarrior Blog

Please do join the Heritage Sabah Facebook group and show them our support, I did… how about you?
Heritage Sabah @ Facebook






Didn’t we have ENOUGH Shopping Malls & Hotels already?! Damnation to the act of GREED.

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2 Responses

  1. CathJ says:

    Very good info… I personally don't know the history about this (shame..shame)…

    Thank you for the info's.. 🙂

  2. Rungitom says:

    you can help saving the clock tower by signing the online petition.

    Do visit Sabah Heritage & sabahwarrior blog and Sabah Heritage Facebook page for more info ya. 🙂

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