Location
Labuan comprises one main island and six other smaller ones covering an area of 92 sq. km. It is located off the coast of East Malaysia.

History
Labuan had a glorious history under the rule of various empires. After the demise of the Majapahit Empire in the 14th century, Labuan came under the rule of the Brunei Sultanate. The Island was ceded to the British by the Brunei Sultanate in 1846. The British then officially declared Labuan a colony of the British Empire in 1849 and renamed it Victoria. The British lost its hold over Labuan in 1942 when the Japanese Army occupied the island. The Island was renamed Maeda Island during the Japanese rule. After World War II, the British resumed control of the island until 1963 when Labuan joined Malaysia and became a part of Sabah. The Island became a Federal Territory of Malaysia in 1984. Labuan was declared an International Offshore Financial Centre in 1990.

Politics
Labuan is a Federal Territory of Malaysia, which is a democracy based on the parliamentary system of government. Labuan is a strategic naval and air force base for East Malaysia, which makes it one of the safest places to visit in the region.


Population (year 2000)
The population of Labuan is 78,000 comprising of 41,900 males and 36,100 females.
Malay - 24,400
Chinese - 9,400
Indian - 900
Other races - 20,900
Foreigners - 22,400


Climate
Labuan has a tropical balmy climate with two annual monsoon seasons - the South West monsoon from April to June and the North East monsoon from September to December. It is free from hurricanes and typhoons and enjoys good climate all year round. Daily temperatures average between 28 to 32 degrees Celsius.


Language
Bahasa Melayu is the national language. However, English, Chinese and Tamil are widely spoken.


Religion
Islam is the official religion of Malaysia. Freedom of worship is guaranteed. Places of worship for Muslims, Hindus, Christians and Buddhists are available.


Time
Local time : GMT + 8 hours
Sunrise : 0600 hours
Sunset : 1830 hours

Taxi Services
Taxis may be hired from taxi stands, hailed by roadsides or through a radio-phone paging system. They operate by zone with charges ranging from RM6.00 for Zone No. 1 to RM26.50 for Zone No. 9.

Bus Services
Town buses in Labuan operate services both within town and numerous destinations around. Generally these buses utilise vans and are commonly called 'mini buses'.

Business Hours
Shops generally open from 9.30 am to 7.00 pm while supermarkets and department stores operate from 10.00 am till 10.00 pm. Some bigger stores may open for business on Sundays.

Working Hours

Government
Monday to Thursday: 8.00am - 1.00pm / 2.00pm - 4.30pm
Friday: 8.00am - 11.30am / 12.00pm - 4.30pm
Saturday : 8.00am - 12.30pm
*Off on 1st Saturday and 3rd Saturday of the month, Public Holidays and Sundays

Commercial
Monday to Friday: 9.00am - 1.00pm / 1.30pm - 5.00pm
*Some open half day on Saturday;Off on Public Holidays and Sundays

Bank
Monday to Friday: 10.00am - 3.00pm
Saturday: 9.30am - 11.30am
*Off on 1st Saturday and 3rd Saturday of the month, Public Holidays and Sundays

Currency
Malaysia Ringgit (RM) is the legal medium of exchange in Malaysia. Traveller’s cheques and foreign currency can be converted to RM with commercial banks or authorized money changers. (USD = RM3.8)


Money Changing
Foreign currency and travellers cheques may be changed in all commercial banks during banking hours. Mondays to Fridays - 9.30 am to 3.00 pm Saturdays - 9.30 am to 11.30 am. Banks are closed every Sunday. Travellers cheques are accepted in leading hotels, stores and car rental agencies.

Shopping Tips
Check for the correct voltage when purchasing electrical and electronic goods. Malaysia uses 220 volts. Most stores however, often sell their products without plugs but will be fixed on upon request. Many electrical items also carry a one-year warranty, so please make sure you get the warranty card.

Export Of Antiques
Antiques may not be exported without a licence from the Director-General of the Museum and Antiquity Department.

Fly Drive Tourism
Labuan's roads are generally free from traffic and is ideal for self drive. The many car rental companies offer a wide range of luxury cars at competitive rates.

 

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