The Suan Lamba palm oil estate is one of the oldest re-settlement schemes in Sabah. It is located at the South of Sandakan town and separated by the bay on the Kinabatangan plain. Firstly introduced and managed by the Department of Agriculture in 1965 to improve the living conditions of the rural community, the programme involved a mass transmigration of the ‘Orang Sungai’ headed by the Sungai leader Pengiran Galpam Pengiran Digadung from the upstream of the Kinabatangan River into Suan Lamba.
After the SLDB was formed in 1969, the scheme was transferred to the SaLDB that introduced and developed the settler’s programme in Suan Lamba from 1970 to 1971, and between 1985 to 1986. The palm oil cultivation began as soon as the SLDB took over through a joint venture programme. In 1983, the SLDB introduced the KP/KB system managed by its own settlers, but the management was later transferred to a cooperative fully supported by the SLDB management called ‘Koperasi Peneroka Berdikari’ or Cooperative of the Independent Settlers. In 1986, the number of settlers in Suan Lamba increased to 215 , but the management by the cooperative has collapsed.
In 2001, the Suan Lamba scheme was once again put under the management of the SLDB. A replanting programme was carried out with the prior consent of the settlers in 2002, 2003 and 2004 during the introduction of the new leasing system. Currently a total of 173 settlers took part in the leasing system with a total replanted area of 840 hectares, although 47 existing settlers decided to be independent growers.