Seminar @ Kota Kinabalu, 2013

In June 2013, The Malaysian Bar and Sabah Law Association jointly organised a seminar in Kota Kinabalu and I was invited as a speaker to speak on data protection laws. We had about 50 people.

Sabah Law Association had kindly booked a room for me at Horizon Hotel. It costs RM300 a night. My room was nice and spacious.

View from the hotel

I discovered that it is extremely difficult to grab a taxi in Kota Kinabalu suburbs. Suaran (another lawyer and invited speaker) and I took taxi to Damai to eat at the legendary Fook Yuen at Damai. Our 5 minutes cab ride costs us RM20! Although the ted madras and roti kahwin were worth it, we were stranded in Damai after our delicious meal at Fook Yuen. We couldn’t get a taxi for half an hour.

Fortunately, we managed to flag down one Mr Usman to fetch us back to the hotel at a very reasonable rate.

Suaran and I also wandered around the city and went on an eating rampage. Although I’ve been to Kota Kinabalu many times, I’ve never had the opportunity to see the Filipino market and its surroundings.

I was in Kota Kinabalu for a short time but I managed to squeeze an hour with my in-laws after dinner. They brought me to the legendary and awesome Fook Yuen (again!).

The seminar was fun. It was well organised and the turn out was good. As a token of appreciation, the Sabah Bar presented me with a book consisting of a compilation of cases decided in the Native Court of Appeal, a special Court that deals with Sabah natives’ customary issues. The cases revealed disputes regarding wrongful trespass by animals, destruction of bamboo trees, theft of animals, damages for embarrassing someone, right to harvest bird nests, inheritance of customary lands and also marriage issues. Many of these cases involved the payment of damages by way of sogit – usually a cow or other animals. Failure to pay sogit can put the wrongdoer in jail! Sabah Law Association painstakingly went through many old files to extract the judgments. Many of these cases were presided by local Judges such as Richard Malanjum, Ian Chin and Nurchaya Haji Arshad. It was an interesting read. I finished it while waiting for my flight in the airport.

We later found out that our hotel was charging RM120 to fetch us to the airport (!!!) notwithstanding that it is only a 15 minutes drive. I called Mr Usman to fetch me and he agreed. However, he was uncontactable an hour before he was supposed to pick me up. Fortunately, he turned up on the pick up time and explained that his mobile phone ran out of battery.

My flight back to Kuala Lumpur was delayed for few hours. It was almost midnight and the airport was empty. I wandered around the airport and even went to the empty immigration desks and international departure hall. No one stopped me!

Election 2013: Lain Kalilah! – Part I

After exactly 4 years in power, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak announced the dissolution of Parliament and general elections to be held on 5 May 2013. I was glad that general election was finally called but the problem was that I was scheduled to run a 10KM marathon at the Borneo Marathon to be held at Kota Kinabalu, Sabah!

Unfortunately for the organisers of Borneo Run, they did not anticipate the election day and had to reschedule the run. The organisers changed it to a midnight run (first time in Sabah!) on 5 May 2013 so that runners can return to their respective voting areas to vote after the run. Unfortunately, someone stole some detonators in Kota Kinabalu and the police advised the organisers to cancel the run! To avoid a terrorist attack like the Boston bombing, the organisers cancelled the run – when we were already in Kota Kinabalu! I am told that over 2000 runners traveled to Kota Kinabalu to run the Borneo Marathon.

Notwithstanding the bad news, I took the opportunity to attend some ceramahs in Kota Kinabalu City. Prior to that, I attended some ceramahs held at Happy Garden and Taman Desa, both fall under my constituency. The ceramahs were massive – perhaps a few hundred people. Ceramahs in this general election have turned to be a festive affair with hundreds and some even thousands attending.

At Happy Garden. Tereka Kok and Nurul Izzah spoke at this ceramah.

Taman Desa with Asalkan Bukan UMNO (ABU) ngo Harris Ibrahim

Some came prepared

Lim Lip Eng (Segambut candidate)

But the first ceramah I attended at Kota Kinabalu City was one by local opposition party, Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP), in particular by Melanie Chia. It was a small ceramah held at a small park near my in-laws place. She spoke in Hokkien, a dialect that I do not understand. Nevertheless, I managed to catch some of her messages when she put some slides on.

Melanie Chia’s ceramah.

Basketball court on the right XD

After leaving Melanie Chia’s ceramah, I headed to Pakatan Rakyat’s, national opposition parties collision, ceramah held at Foh Sang. It was not a ceramah. They were playing PSY’s Gangnam Style and Gentlemen! They were got people dancing there!

Gangnam style!

The ceramah continued after the song. There was a small commotion during the ceramah. President of SAPP, Yong Teck Lee tried to storm the stage after a speaker blamed him for the Project IC. The police were there to mediate the situation and Yong went back to his ceramah held one street away from Pakatan’s ceramah. I thought the police was trying to stop the ceramah because the ceramah played Gangnam Style and Gentlemen!

PAS Candidate for Tanjung Aru came with his entourage of tudong clad ladies holding PAS flags. It was a common sight to see Chinese waving the once feared PAS flags in this election.

I later stop at Yong’s ceramah. There were quite a lot of people – far much more than his fellow colleague, Melanie Cheah.

Sabah’s political sphere is quite different from Peninsula Malaysia. They have many parties which are not aligned to each other. 3 corner fights are normal. There is even a 7 corner fight!

This is how you campaign in Sabah!

Found this in my MAS flight back to Kuala Lumpur.

Since I didn’t get to run, I ended up eating non stop in Kota Kinabalu City. The next blog postings will be about food and thereafter the election results and my views about the results.

Mount Kinabalu

Mount Kinabalu is not an easy climb. It’s mentally and physically challenging. Nevertheless, climbing it is something I want to do before I die. Sam, Kenneth, my wife and I set out for Mount Kinabalu in early August. I did not train for it but my 2 times a week futsal, jogging and rock climbing sessions should suffice.

Kinabalu Park is just 2 hours drive from Kota Kinabalu. My father in law loaned me his car. I love the drive to Kinabalu Park from KK City. It’s very scenic.

Although many people have climbed Mount Kinabalu in the past, it’s not entirely safe. There are cases where climbers lost their way and found dead or not found at all. Our entire trip was filled with the story about Ellie James, a young British girl who was found dead in the summit. She somehow strayed from the path and was found dead few days later not too far from the trails.

Before making our ascend, we stayed in a nice lodge at the Kinabalu Park. We were given 2 rooms with a common toilet, kitchen and a living room with a fireplace and cable TV! And we got upgraded for free!

I am ready!

It’s compulsary to climb with a guide. Our guide cum porter’s name is Rowdy. Some people call him the Kinabalu Dragon. Apparently, he carried a 60kgs person up  the mountain before. Anyway, Rowdy was an awesome guide. He was with us all the time and never rushed or pushed us unnecessarily. There are porters who push or discourages climbers unnecessarily and some to the extend of abandoning the climbers.

Place to weigh about bags for Rowdy to carry. Kenneth weighing himself just in case he needs to be carried.

We took the Timpohon trail up to Laban Rata, the lodging area before heading up the Summit. The trail was fine. Loads of steep steps and rocks.

The only waterfall we saw on the way up

Rowdy and our 16KG bags

There is rest stop every 1KM.

Untreated water is available in every rest stop

Our pre-packed lunch provided by the resort

But as soon as we start moving, I was struck with altitude sickness. I had a piercing headache. I felt like my brain was being tortured slowly. I couldn’t move fast and had to stop a lot. The last steps to Laban Rata was toughest for me. I had to stop ever 10 steps but we made it to the top eventually.

There is also a stretcher in every rest stop. Just in case someone gets into trouble.

Tree started to change as we move further up

We stayed in Gunting Lagadan Hut. It’s a small hut with bunk beds and common toilets. There are no heater or hot water.

Many had resorted to boiling hot water to shower. The only good thing about this hut is that it’s just next to the gate up to the summit.

Laban Rata!

Food is served at the Laban Rata lodge. Surprisingly, food was not bad! I guess I was very hungry.

View from the cafeteria! We’re above the clouds!

We woke up at 2am to ascend the peak. We were ready for bed at around 7pm but most of us couldn’t sleep at such early time. I was already sleeping by 7pm due to my splitting headache. My headache subsided after I took paracetamol and slept.

We missed the Olympics  badminton finals between Lin Dan and Lee Chong Wei. Luckily I missed the game otherwise I wouldn’t be able to sleep with disappointment after Chong Wei lost.

Before the hike to summit. Now we all know how the ladies look like in a tudong.

My headache began immediately after I passed the gate to the Summit. It became worst as we moved upwards. But it subsided when Rowdy asked me to take off my headlamp. It was an instant cure! Unfortunately, it came back when the vegetation started to disappear. Halfway through the journey, I started to have stomache. It was terrible. I had already had a big problem controlling my headache.

At some point, I felt like shitting in my pants and continue walking after that! Probably leave my undies there as a gift for archeologists excavating the place 10,000 years later. But I guess I still had some dignity left in me during such desperate time.

The sky was still dark. Rowdy is on the left.

The rope climb starts as soon as the vegetation disappears. It was okay for me since I used to climb outdoors.

I must say that my Adidas Kampung was awesome. It has excellent grip on the rocks. I didn’t even need to hold on to the ropes.

We moved very slowly due to my condition. We had to stop quite frequently and took long rests. Rowdy advised us to go slowly instead of doing it fast. It worked but we were so slow that we were the last to reach the summit!

We couldn’t get there in time to catch the sunrise but what matters is that we reached the summit.

The summit was all rocks. There were patches of vegetation and water puddles here and there. The floor was like broken tiles in various shades of grey. The wind was strong and cold.

The ultimate aim of this hike is to reach Low’s Peak, the highest point of Mount Kinabalu. It’s named after Hugh Low, the first person ever recorded to reach the summit. It’s fine if you don’t reach Low’s Peak. I was told that you are eligible for a coloured certificate if you reach a certain point after the Sayat-sayat checkpoint.

When I reached the point where we could elect to climb Low’s Peak, my headache was getting worst. I gathered all my remaining strength to move on. Within minutes, my wife and I were up on Low’s Peak. We were the last person to be up there.

We took some pictures before we descend from Low’s Peak. It was then my head felt like exploding. I thought I was going to die there!

We were the last people to leave the summit. We left together with the people who were taking care of Sayat-sayat.

View of Low’s Gully from Low’s Peak. Some British soldiers got lost while trekking Low’s Gully. Their ordeal was later made into a movie.

Descending Mount Kinabalu was a torture. It felt like forever. Our thighs, knees and ankles were killing us. We took about 4 hours to hike down! It was a mental torture as the journey down doesn’t seem to end. If I compare this trip and my 8 hours boat trip to Tioman island, the latter was mentally tougher but the former is physically tougher.

Once we reached the bottom, I had to drive back to the city. I almost felt asleep while driving. Zzz

To those who are thinking of climbing, here are some tips:-

1. It’s fine to hike with short pants and slippers to Laban Rata. However, you may risk cutting yourself if you slip and have blisters on your feet.
2. Training for such long hike is recommended. I play futsal twice for 2 hours a week, jog in the weekends and rock climb once a week. But I struggled to get to the top and get down.
3. Bring thick clothing as it’s extremely cold in the summit. A beanie is useful to cover your ears.
4. Adidas kampung helps but normal jogging shoes works. You can get Adidas Kampung at Pekan Nabalu.
5. Bring as much food (e.g. instant noodles) or beverages (e.g. 3 in 1 packets) if you can. It’s expensive up in Laban Rata. A cup of Horlicks costs RM12.80.
6. There is no instant cure for altitude sickness. Descending the mountain seems to be the best cure. Paracetamol may ease your pain but I heard it’s not recommended. Rushing up the mountain may cause or aggravate altitude sickness. Take your time to move up.

Kota Kinabalu Food Guide – Lintas Square

Lintas Square is a small commercial zone just few minutes away from Kota Kinabalu City. It is located within the residential area and it is a treasure trove of good KK food. These are the few places that I would recommend to fellow visitors.

Kedai Kopi Melanian

When I first read the signboard of the restaurant, I thought the place was Kedai Kopi Melamine.

This restaurant is well known for its sang yuk mee. In KL, its commonly known as chu yuk fun. Basically, its pork noodles.

We ordered the dry version of the noodles and I must say this in CAPS. IT WAS BLOODY GOOD!

The noodles came with very thick sauce. The bowl of soup came with pieces of soft and tender pork slices and also few pieces of nice pork balls. The soft and tender pork slices is my personal favourite. I could eat this everyday.


After – gobbled up everything!!!

Must come back to this place when I’m back in KK again!


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Kedai Kopi Melanian
Lot 7-0, Ground Floor, Lorong Lintas Plaza 1,
Jalan Lintas, 88300 Penampang Kota Kinabalu

Other reviews | Kedai Kopi Melanian 2

Kedai Kopi Jia Siang

This restaurant also serves awesome sang yuk mee. The taste is almost identical to the sang yuk mee served at Kedai Kopi Melanian. Its open for dinner unlike Melanian which closes by dawn.

The noodles is also served with very thick sauce. The bowl of soup comes with pieces of soft and tender pork slices, a few pieces of nice pork balls and also ‘wantan’. You may customise your soup by adding other stuff like ‘pig’s spare parts’.

Again! hehe!

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Kedai Kopi Man Hui Wei

If you’re fan of Tuaran mee, you should try it at this restaurant. It only covers half a shop and as such seats are limited.

For their Tuaran mee, you may choose to mix it with seafood or roasted pork or both. Spicy yet sour sauce is available as condiment.

Seafood is fresh and the slices of roasted pork is not bad.

Interior reminds me of someone’s home kitchen

UFO Mee anyone?

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Yoyo Cafe

Yoyo Cafe recently moved from their small premise to a bigger premise in the newest block of Lintas Plaza. It now boost a 2 storey cafe. Yoyo Cafe is well known for its Bubble Tea but I recently discovered that their mini Croissant is awesome. It costs RM5 for 100g which is about 5 pieces. The outer layer is crispy and the fillings melt in your mouth!

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Kota Kinabalu 2009: Restauran Malaysia @ Beaufort

After our trip to Kuala Penyu, we stopped by Beaufort, a small town located outskirt of Kota Kinabalu.

We initially wanted to try Beaufort noodles at one popular Chinese coffee shop but it was closed.

We ended up at one Muslim restaurant by the name Malaysia Restaurant. Although a Muslim restaurant, it is run by a Chinese Muslim man.

The recommended dishes of this place are their Butter Pao and Kuih Bom.

Yam cake! So-so only though.

Pao is served on a plate. Take as many as you like. The rest you can leave it there.

The butter pao is filled with butter but ‘lai yau’, a yellowish sweet filling. The bread is green in colour. It tasted damn good. So good that I had 2 pieces of it!

Kuih Bom on the other hand is an egg shaped pastry (supposed to look like a bomb though). The outer layer is as hard as an egg shell. I had to use force to crack the layer. The filling of kuih bom is hollow with few strands of turnip inside. It was my first time seeing such item and the taste was rather unique. It wasn’t sweet but it was salty.

Map (rough estimation)

Restoran Malaysia
Lot 14, Block B,
Beaufort Jaya,
89808 Beaufort,

Tel: (00)(60) 087 223 548


Kota Kinabalu 2009: Menumbuk

Menumbuk is a small village located not far from Kuala Penyu.

It has a small port which allows people to take a boat to Labuan Island. We made a trip down to to the port to check out the scenery.

Rusty Ship…

The name ‘Menumbuk’ means punching in Malay. There are 2 legends which gave rise to the name ‘Menumbuk’. The first being through a fish by the name ‘menumbok’ fish according to local dialect which was extra ordinary huge. Second version is about a time when a river which flowed to the sea during high tide and caused a punching effect. Doesn’t make any sense to me though.

There were not many things to see in Menumbuk port.

There was a Chinese temple cum car park though.

The other end of the port has a small beach which one can see Labuan Island.

Hmm..where is Labuan..

Barely an hour in Menumbuk, we left for Beaufort for lunch.

Kota Kinabalu 2009: Kuala Penyu – Part I

Kuala Penyu (KP) is a small town located around 2 hours from Kota Kinabalu City.

Driving around the outskirt of KK City was relatively quiet and easy. There was not much traffic on the 2 lane roads except for some occasional slow coaches on the road.

The drive to KP had loads of interesting sights. Villages are mostly inhabited by natives while the towns are mostly Chinese. It is interesting to see Chinese villages and towns in remote places of Sabah.

Caught Mat Rempit in action

G*Mart – Now everybody can shop! (similar with Air Asia’s tag line, Now everybody can fly!)

When we were about to reach KP, we ended up on a dead end. There was a river in front of us.

The only way to get across is a chained ferry.

The ferry, made of metal, pulls a metal chain which cuts across the river.

It could fit around 8 cars per trip.

Cars have to line up to wait for their turn as there is only 1 ferry and it takes around 10 to 15 minutes to get across.

You can take a small boat across as well

There was only one life boat.

The service is free as it is maintained by the government.

We were there…

Kuala Penyu on sight!

Kota Kinabalu 2009: San Sui Baru Restaurant

Before embarking on our journey to Kuala Penyu, we stopped by San Sui Baru Restaurant for breakfast. Apparently, this place is well known for its Tom Yam noodles.

This place is located along Lintas Highway. It was packed when we arrived.

We ordered their well known tom yam prawn noodles and black pepper beef noodles.

Tom yam in San Sui Baru is not your usual spicy and hot tom yam. It comes in a sourish bowl of soup with prawns and beans sprout in it. It tasted like assam pedas.

Nescafe came with a thick layer of condensed milk. Tasted so-so.

I’m not a big fan of tom yam hence I ordered their black pepper beef noodles. It came in a Cantonese style gravy with of black pepper mixed inside. The beef was tender and soft but overall the dish was mediocre.

The overall experience with this restaurant is average. Nothing to shout about but if you’re on Lintas Highway, perhaps you can drop by to try their unique Tom Yam noodles.

Related link
A Daily Obsession: Come Eat With Us: San Sui Baru Restaurant

Kota Kinabalu: Food Guide

Kedai Kopi City @ Gaya Street

Tuaran Mee is a special dish that originates from the town of Tuaran, a town not far from KK City. I was told that Tuaran Mee comes in a few varieties – e.g. soup based or in thick sauced. At Kedai Kopi City, they serve Tuaran Mee fried with Chinese Wine. If you like the taste of Chinese Wine, this dish is highly recommended as it’s extremely aromatic.

The other recommendation is their “Wat Tan Ho” (Chinese style fried noodles). I’ve not tried it myself so please don’t beat me up if you don’t find it tasty.

You should also check out their menu. It comes in Chinese and in Engrish.

“Hua Dan Ho” is actually “Wat Tan Ho” and Mee Tuara Wong Jio. don’t need to go to China or Japan to read Engrish.

Related Link:
Kedai Kopi City | Gourmet Borneo

Just across Kedai Kopi City, there’s a stall selling “baked buns”. It’s not bad.

Little Italy

When you think of Kota Kinabalu food, the last thing you probably think about is Italy food. But in KK City, there is one famous Italian restaurant by the name Little Italy. When I was there, it was filled with locals and foreigners alike. The place was packed too.

Their loyalty card – comes with Google search keywords!

The 4 of us ordered pasta and pizza. I was told that their tomato based pasta is excellent. I got myself a meat ball spaghetti which tasted good. The other recommendation is their marina spaghetti. Unfortunately, I didn’t manage to try that.

Pizza on the other hand is thin crusted and yummy. But it too a little bit time to arrive as the pizza is baked on the spot. Nevertheless, their service comes with a smile – excellent.


Little Italy
Ground Floor, Hotel Capital,
Jalan Haji Saman
88813 Kota Kinabalu
Tel: (6088) 232231

Kota Kinabalu Part II: Gaya Street Sunday Market

Gaya Street Sunday Market, as the name explains, is a market held every Sunday. It features local handicrafts, food, plants and even animals.
Actually more than that, they sell
candy floss

mosquitoes repellent plants



Looks like Julius the Monkey from Paul Frank.

The cage is soooo small!

Damn, Check out the size of the sucker fish on the bottom.
They also have massages by the blind

and a handicraft store which plays music using their wares.

I saw a man dancing in front of a music stall.

He looks like the d00d from Kennysia’s Kuching Shuffler!.