Post office a marker to measure distances – ISM Sabah

KOTA KINABALU: The post office was not just a place to send and receive letters but was also the place from where distances were measured.

SYMBOLIC MARKER...Children of various ethnic groups that can be found in Sabah adorned in their traditional garbs encircle and point to the 'Kilometre 0' plaque after it was unveiled by the state Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister, Datuk Masidi Manjun who represented Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman in performing the gesture. - Bernama photo

Institution of Surveyors Malaysia (ISM) Sabah Branch president Datuk Kenneth Yen also said that the central post office at a particular place was always marked as Kilometre Zero or KM 0.

“Postmen are the people who know the distances to towns or villages where they deliver the letters to, so the post office is used as the starting point for measuring distances,” Yen said.

Yen who was met after the launching of the KM 0 at the Sabah Tourism Board (STB) building here yesterday, said it was the site of the post office during colonial times.

It was used as a significant marker to measure distances during those days until modern day Sabah, he said adding that the setting up of KM0 was proposed by the ISM Sabah Chapter in conjunction with the institution’s 50th anniversary.

The pre-war old post office building was built 95 years ago during the British occupation and was one of the buildings that was not destroyed during the Second World War. It was officially opened on March 16, 1918.

It underwent major restoration in 1989 and two years later, it was officially re-opened and housed the then Sabah Tourism Promotion Corporation (STPC) now STB office.

The plaque was designed to be uniquely Sabah with the illustration of Mount Kinabalu on top and the city’s official flower, the Borneo Orchid.

An ancient design of the Murut community, called Nantapuan, meaning a meeting place, serves as the motif around the design. It is engraved in granite. The rest of the plaque is made of bronze, and it also incorporates the four cardinal points.

The plaque design was created by the landscape department of Kota Kinabalu City Hall, with ideas garnered from various parties. Financial assistance came from both STB and City Hall.

Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun represented Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman at the unveiling of the plaque yesterday.

In his speech, read out by Masidi, Musa congratulated Kota Kinabalu City Hall, STB and ISM Sabah for collaborating in the initiative.

“The launching today coincides with the date (March 16) in 1918 when this building was officially opened by Governor A.C. Pearson. I am pleased that the organisers have given much attention to historical values in conjunction with today’s ceremony,” he said.

The plaque is expected to become another attraction for domestic and international tourists, Musa said and expressed hope that the collaboration would continue with the aim of producing more tourism products in the city.

He also reminded tourism players in the state to always give the best quality services to visitors so that they are satisfied with their visit to the state capital and Sabah.

Mayor Datuk Abidin Madingkir said that in many countries, Zero Kilometre was a particular location (often in the nation’s capital city and also in individual cities) from which distances were traditionally measured, and the city’s central post office was often used as the marker.

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