"Semporna was founded by the British North Borneo Chartered Company and had a predominantly Chinese population. Before it was called "Semporna", this area was known as "Tong Talun" in the Bajau language, which means "Hujung Hutan" in Malay or "at the end of the forest". The name gradually evolved into "Semporna" (known as "Peaceful Place") over time. The city has 150,000 inhabitants."
Most tourists, who go for an island holiday in Semporna, learn little about the city and its inhabitants. To discover the fascinating heritage and history of Semporna, you can visit the Tun Sakaran Museum, a small museum located just 1.5 kilometers from Semporna city center. The museum is open to the public every day from 08:00 to 17:00. The museum opens an hour later on Saturdays and Sundays. Admission is free.
The museum is named after the 8th Governor of Sabah: Sakaran Dandai. During his reign, he provided the finances with which the construction of the museum could start. That was in 2008. The building was fully completed on April 25, 2015, although it was previously open to the public. Although it is named after Sakaran Dandai, the museum mainly shows the history and culture of the city, especially the Bajau community.
The museum is a two-storey building. The interior is air-conditioned. You must take off your shoes before entering. Visitors are allowed to take photos in the museum. The ground floor is Tun Sakaran Gallery, where visitors can learn about the life of Tun Sakaran, the governor of Sabah. Most of the collection consists of souvenirs, which were given by other VIPs as a memento of Tun Sakaran in the past. Some are really beautiful works of art or collectibles with historical value, for example, palace tools with gold embroidery of old Sabah weapon, gilded lepa-lepa boat model. The exhibition changes from time to time. The museum also has a cafeteria and a small multipurpose room that can be used by the public.
The top floor of the Tun Sakaran Museum is largely about the Semporna community. Before the museum opened, there was no exhibition at all, showing the rich history of Semporna and ethnography of Bajau, the nomadic people at sea (sea gypsies).
AAs Sabah has no sultan / king, the head of state is the head of government. However, he has no executive power in the political system. Sometimes people in Kota Kinabalu saw his black car escorted by a group of police motorcycles in siren to make way. That was Tun Sakaran. The Head of State lives in State Palace on Signal Hill. For those curious whether there is gold or treasure in it, the palace has Hari Raya Open House every year. In this gallery, you can check out some of the goodies that Tun Sakaran has received or used over the years.