JKKN Sabah Complex, the new landmark building of Sabah

What is the landmark building of Sabah? 99 out of 100 Sabahans will say Yayasan Sabah Tower (officially known as Menara Tun Mustapha). For 36 years, Yayasan Sabah Tower has been “representing” Sabah. It is tall, beautiful and unique, but it is lack of true Sabah feature. Hey, KL and Sarawak have built the taller Twin Tower and Wisma Sanyan in 1999 and 2001 respectively, so this old building is no longer impressive now..

Kompleks Jabatan Kebudayaan dan Kesenian Negara Sabah
Pic: JKKN Sabah Complex

How about JKKN Sabah building? 99 out of 100 Sabahans would say, “Huh? What’s that?” Personally I think JKKN Sabah building is a marriage of modern and traditional architecture. If you are from Sabah, you would find this building somewhat familiar. Most big building of Sabah is ugly “square-square” cheap design, so I’m happy to see a new one that carries some cultural elements of Sabah. JKKN stands for Jabatan Kebudayaan dan Kesenian Negara, a federal department (under Ministry of Tourism and Culture Malaysia) that funds and builds JKKN Sabah Complex. Some also calls the building JKKNS Complex.

JKKNS Complex
Pic: the roof that resembles Rungus longhouse

Taking a space of 1.3 hectare, JKKN Sabah Complex is constructed under 9th Malaysian Plan and opens in March 2012. The Complex costs RM20.4 Millions (≈USD6.8 millions) and over 4 years to build. JKKNS Complex is more than a landmark building though. Equipped with auditorium, studios, etc., it is an ideal place to hold small to mid scale events.

Let’s take a closer look of JKKN Sabah Complex..

Tour package to Mari-Mari Cultural Village

gate of JKKN Sabah
At the entrance of this complex, you already can see the Sabah features at the gate.

gate of Kompleks Jabatan Kebudayaan dan Kesenian Negara Sabah
Pic: the roof that looks like top of the Bonggi house.


Besides the roof, you also can find the ethnic motif of Semporna Sea Bajau and Iranun (known as tudjah and layang-layang) in the Auditorium building of JKKN Sabah Complex. .

auditorium of Kompleks Jabatan Kebudayaan dan Kesenian Negara Sabah
Pic: entrance of the Auditorium

entrance to auditorium building
Pic: another angle of the Auditorium

ticketing counter of auditorium
Pic: ticketing counter of the Auditorium

auditorium of JKKN Sabah building
Pic: the Auditorium has 571 seats

cultural event in JKKN Sabah auditorium
Pic: the annual Sabah Fest were hosted in this auditorium twice.

interior of auditorium

seats of auditorium
The slope layout of seat arrangement looks just like cinema, so the audiences in front won’t block your view.

VIP seats in auditorium
Pic: the VIP seats

view of auditorium from stage
Pic: the view of the auditorium from the stage

stage of auditorium
The stage is not really big but it is good enough for most performance such as opera, as Sabah seldom has big shows with thousands of audiences.

Administration Building

The Administration Building is next to the Auditorium. Its window design is inspired by rafflesia, the largest flower in Borneo, the color glasses are imported from Australia.

administration building of JKKNS

reception of JKKN Sabah Complex
Pic: the reception counter of the administration building

exhibition in JKKNS administration building

The spacious hall in ground floor allows you to organise mini-exhibition. It is not a problem to accommodate about 15 small booths. The ceiling is a bit low, so you can’t display huge item.

seminar room
In ground floor there is a seminar room that can host 95 people.

talk in seminar room of JKKNS
They also have audio visual room (40 seats), dance studios, music studio, Gasing playfield and conference room.

Outdoor Stage

There is an outdoor stage for small shows in good weather.

outdoor stage

cultural show in outdoor stage

Suluk Sandakan group photo

The audiences can sit around in the open space, and even participate in your performance.

Where is JKKNS (JKKN Sabah)?

JKKN Sabah Complex is next to Penampang Road, and near to Rain Forest Park (Taman Rimba Tropika) and Sabah State Library HQ in Luyang. You may check out the location map below:

View My Sabah Map in a larger map

signage of JKKNS Complex
If you want to find out more about the place, you may contact JKKN Sabah at:
Address: Jalan Tasik, KM 4, Jalan Penampang, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia.
Tel: +60 88-237051, +60 88-237052
Website: www.jkkn.gov.my
Facebook: jkkn.sabah
E-mail: ruanah@jkkn.gov.my
Opening Hours: Mon – Fri: 8:00 am – 7:00 pm

Overall, JKKN Sabah Complex is a good location to organise functions. However, there is only a dozen of parking spaces available there. Usually the event organisers would advise you to park your car at neighbouring Sabah State Library, which has about 100 free parking slots after its opening hours. Another thing JKKNS needs the most is a good and marketable name. JKKN Sabah Complex is quite a mouthful and hard to memorize.

Rental Info

Their rooms, halls and studio are available for rental. Below is the price list for your reference only. Please contact them for the latest rates and booking.

Rate per Hour Rate per Day Capacity
Auditorium RM300 (≈US$85) RM2,000 (≈US$561) 570 seats
Seminar Room RM90 (≈US$26) RM580 (≈US$163) 100 seats
Outdoor Stage RM30 (≈US$8.50) RM200 (≈US$56)
Conference Room RM30 (≈US$8.50) RM200 (≈US$56)
Music & Dance Studio RM40 (≈US$11.50) RM250 (≈US$70)

Photos taken in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia Borneo

3 thoughts on “JKKN Sabah Complex, the new landmark building of Sabah

    1. Hi Jeffrey, sorry I don’t know the answer. I try to contact my friend who is an architect. Will let you know when he replies me.

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