Labuan is an Island with an estimated population of 100,000 people. It's quite a close community where everyone knows everyone. The main town is known as Labuan Town (Bandar Labuan in Malay)but was formerly known as Victoria during the colonial era. Labuan Town is among the cleanest towns in Malaysia. You will observe the Labuan Corporation (local authority) workers diligently doing their job. Labuan was proclaimed a Federal Territory on 16/04/1984 and declared an International Offshore Financial Centre on 1/10/1990. A few of the major businesses that are run on the island include international offshore banking, steel mills, a methanol plant, floor tiles production, flour mills as well as offshore supplies. Because of these major businesses, Labuan has many non-Labuan natives that work here.
Federal Territory of Labuan is located off the northwest coast of Borneo, north of Brunei Bay and faces the South China Sea. It comprises of the main island of Pulau Labuan and six smaller islands namely Pulau Kuraman, Pulau Daat, Pulau Rusukan Besar, Pulau Rusukan Kecil, Pulau Papan and Pulau Burong. It is located at 05 latitude North and 115 longitude East, and lies approximately 10 km southeast off the coast of the East Malaysian state of Sabah and 25 km north of Brunei. The Federal Territory of Labuan covers an area of 92 sq km and the main island of Labuan is only 75 sq km. Labuan is only 8km or twenty minute boat ride from Menumbok, a small fishing town in Sabah. High speed air-conditioned ferries ply daily to Labuan from Sabah, Sarawak and Negara Brunei Darussalam. The trip from Kota Kinabalu, capital of Sabah takes about 3 hours and about an hour from Negara Brunei Darussalam. It is roughly equidistant from Bangkok, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, Hong Kong, Manila and Singapore. There are direct flights from Kuala Lumpur as well as from Brunei. The island name, came from Brunei Malay word "labohan" which means anchorage. 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. On 24 December 1846, Captain G.R. Mundy, commanding H.M.S. Iris, took possession of Labuan, "In the Name of Her Majesty Victoria Queen of Great Britain and Ireland under the Direction of His Excellency Rear Admiral Sir Thomas Cochrane, C.B., Commander-in-Chief". The British had negotiated with the Sultanate of Brunei for Labuan among other things. by 1847 the British government concluded a Treaty of Friendship and Commerce with the Sultan of Brunei, at the same time acquiring the island of Labuan. On 1 August 1848 Labuan was declared a free port and open to settlers. The Colonial Office took over Labuan in January 1906. In 1907 it became part of the Straits Settlements, a British colony comprising Singapore, Penang and Malacca. The island is mainly flat and undulating and the highest point is only 85 metres. More than 70 percent of the island is still under vegetation. Due to the fact that land utility is geared more towards property and industrial use, there is less agricultural activity in the area. Most of the island's prime land, waterfront and suburbs are utilised for residential and tourism development. A sizeable area on the south western side of the island is utilised by shipbuilding, manufacturing and oil and gas industries. Labuan has a tropical 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.