Malaysia is a multi-nationtal country, and it is even more so in Sabah. With over 30 ethnic groups in a population of three millions, the different races are even more diversify compared with Malaya. Sabah is really a melting pot of cultures and peoples.
This harmony can be seen playing out in many part of Sabah, where people of different races and religions can be seen happily chatting together at the local kopitiams. Inter-married among the races are the highest in Sabah, where the bumi and non-bumi are sometime becoming a bit blur. Sabahans also are recognised to be one of the most friendly people in Malaysia.
Kadazandusun is the largest ethnic group in Sabah, making up almost 30% of the population. The vast majority of Kadazandusuns live in the hills and upland valley, where they till their lands with padi and vegetables. Harvest festival is the most celebrated holidays in the calendars year for the Kadazandusun. Rice wine and traditional dances are the highlights of the festival.
Bajau is the second largest ethnic groups in Sabah. The Bajau people are seafaring people and live their life off the sea, and fishing is their main livelihood. Many Bajaus in Sabah can be found on the east coast, and the Bajau of Kota Belud is famous for their house riding skill, which earns them the tag as “cowboy of the east”.
Murut are the third largest among the ethnic groups in Sabah. Large percentage of Muruts can be found residing in towns like Keningau, Nabawan, Sook, and Tenom, in the Interior Division. Murut simply means “hill people”.
Other indigenous ethnic groups include the Bisaya, Brunei Malay, Bugis, Kedayan, Lotud, Ludayeh, Minokok, Rungus, and Suluk. There are still many smaller groups that are not mention here.
The ubiquitous Chinese make up about 20% of Sabah population. Many of them can be found reside in major towns and cities, opening shops, kopitiams, and trading post.