Sabahan trolls

Sabah vs Malaysia [26 differences that only Sabahans understand]

Sabahans are Malaysians too, but we always feel that West Malaysians don’t understand us. Only Sabahans can understand all the differences below. This is meant to be funny, so please don’t feel offended.

Ok vs Bah

In Sabah, we say Bah more than Ok. Bah also has other meaning. You can check out the annoying tutorial video of Adam Tambakau to learn more lol.

Ok vs Bah
Credits: (left) Ok girl photo created by drobotdean –, (right) screenshot of Bah video by Adam.

Road Condition

Majority of our highways only connect major cities, towns and urban areas, some places, especially small villages, only have paved or gravel roads. Part of the city roads still can be bumpy, and you must be vigilant to avoid hitting the potholes.

Road conditions
Credit: Driver photos created by freepik – (edited)
A viral Facebook video by Rey Silver Prince with the caption of ‘First Sabahan arrived at Moon’ that mocked the poor road condition of Sabah.
A viral Facebook video by Rey Silver Prince with the caption of ‘First Sabahan arrived at Moon’ that mocked the poor road condition of Sabah.

Myvi vs 4WD

Because of the bad roads, Sabahans who needs to enter villages regularly would prefer a 4-wheel-drive over a fancy saloon car. When West Malaysians see so many 4WD in Sabah, they think Sabahans are rich. Well, without a 4WD, you can’t access many places in Sabah.

Myvi vs 4WD


Huh?! No Thanks!

Toll of Malaysia
Credit: (left) Slleong, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons


The typical rojak of Malaysia consists of cucumber, bean sprouts, and various kinds of chopped fruits. If you order rojak in Sabah, what you get are sliced beef, yellow noodle, bean curd puff and cucumber mixed with sweet peanut sauce, which are something meaty rather than fruity.

Tour package to Kinabatangan
Malaysia and Sabah Rojak
Credit: (left) Rojak photo by Richard Lee under Creative Commons License.

Nasi Lemak Vs Linopot

Nasi lemak is our national dish originating in Malay cuisine. It’s wrapped and served nicely in banana leaves. In Sabah, we wrap cooked rice and dishes in the big leaves of doringin or tarap.

Nasi Lemak vs Linopot

Satay vs Sinalau Bakas

In Peninsular Malaysia, sometimes pork is a problem, while in Sabah, we enjoy pork so much and really fond of Sinalau Bakas (smoked wild boar meat). You could find Sinalau Bakas stalls next to the busy rural roads between towns.

Satay vs Sinalau Bakas


Besides the ordinary durians, Sabah has durians with red or orange flesh (Sukang and Dalit). These small durians have stronger aroma and exotic flavors, so they are also used in cooking.



Everything is expensive in Sabah except seafood. If you invite Sabahans for a seafood dinner in your state, don’t be upset if they complain about the small but expensive seafood.

Small vs Big Fish

2Malaysia Prices

Many businesses in West Malaysia don’t feel guilty to charge Sabahans more. Sabahans usually end up paying 20% or more but we are already numb to such price differences. It’s not a great feeling, as Sabahans have lower income but burdened by higher living cost.

2Malaysia prices

Free Shipping?

So many times I got tricked by some online Malaysian shops that said they offered FREE shipping in Malaysia. The excitement became disappointment the moment I keyed in my Sabah address in check-out page. Sometimes the shipping fee can cost more than the product itself.

Free Shipping

Internet Connection

Network connectivity is really an issue in remote area. For example, a Sabah student named Veveonah Mosibin had to camp on top of a tree, to get stronger data signal for taking her exams online. Until today, there are still Sabah village kids that have to walk a few KM to get Internet coverage.

Internet Connection Signal
Credit: (right) screenshot of the viral video by Veveonah Mosibin


When I was living in KL, it confused me that the sky was still bright at 7pm. In fact, before 1982, Malaysia had two time zones. The time in Sabah was 30 minutes faster than West Malaysia so it gets dark sooner.

KK vs KL 7pm
Credit: (left) KL city photo by Pexels from Pixabay

Merdeka Day vs Malaysia Day

Sabahans don’t feel much emotions when they see the historical footage of Tunku Abdul Rahman shouting “Merdeka” for the independence of Malaya in 1957, because that year Malaysia hasn’t existed yet. We care more about the Malaysia Day on 16 Sep, which becomes a National Holiday since year 2010.

Merdeka vs Malaysia Day

Public Holidays

Sabah has a lot of Catholics and Christians, so we have extra day off for Good Friday and Christmas Eve. Kaamatan is the harvest festival of Kadazandusun and Murut communities.

Public Holidays of Malaysia and Sabah

Beer vs Tapai

Did anyone tell you that Sabahans are good drinkers? We do like beer but it’s more like an orang putih thing, so true Sabahans would go for the more potent rice wines such as Tapai and Lihing.

Beer vs Tapai

Boh vs Sabah Tea

I don’t care about the taste, any brand with the word “Sabah” is my favourite lol.

Boh vs Sabah Tea

Mango vs Bambangan

Bambangan is a wild mango of Sabah. It’s very sour and is commonly eaten as pickle and appetizer. Bambangan to Sabahans is like Kimchi to Koreans.

Mango vs Bambangan

Traditional Wear

Sabah has shirts and daily wear with native styles and motifs inspired by our traditional costumes.

Traditional Wear of Malaysia and Sabah
Credit: (right) Photo from Facebook


Sabahans dance Sumazau whenever they are happy or partying.

Joget vs Sumazau


To Sabahans, Unduk Ngadau (Miss Harvest Festival) means more than a gorgeous woman, she is also a figure who represents the sacred and motherly Huminodun, a maiden sacrificed to save her starving people.

Miss Malaysia and Unduk Ngadau

Gadis vs Sumandak

Sumandak is a Dusun word for girl. Chinese (Hakka) terms such as Ah Moi and Liang Moi are also widely understood.

Gadis vs Sumandak
Credits: (left) Photo of Malay girl by adhadimohd from Pixabay

Tall Vs Long Building

Sabah doesn’t have a lot of skyscrapers, but we have longhouses, the tallest tropical tree in the world and top 3 highest mountains of Malaysia.

Tall vs Long Building
Credit: KL City photo created by lifeforstock –


No explanation required. Peace!

Neighbouring countries of Peninsular Malaysia and Sabah


The Malayan tiger is strong and charismatic. Orangutan is intelligent and cute.

Tiger vs Orangutan


Hang Tuah is a silat master and the most well-known hero of Malaysia. Murut people are fearsome warriors in the past, and they harvested your head to make house decoration. You don’t want to be their enemies.

Malay vs Murut Warrior
Credit: Photo of Silat by Lan Rasso (Under Creative Commons license)

Disclaimer: Remember, Malaysia is a multicultural country, and this is the most beautiful part of Malaysia. Diversity doesn’t impair Unity, as long as we respect one another. This post is purely for entertainment purpose, the differences are exaggerated but have no intention to mock anyone or any group, nor does it represent all Malaysians and Sabahans. Any other difference you can think of? Please share it in comment section below.

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