Sungai Manila palm oil estate is one of the pioneer palm oil scheme in Sabah’s re-settlement history. Firstly, implemented by the Department of Agriculture (DoA) in 1965, it was introduced during the ‘Minor and Major Agriculture Scheme’. The DoA has extended the palm oil area in Sungai Manila in 1968 before it was handed over to the SLDB management in 1969. Only 12 miles from the Sandakan town, the estate is located in one of the most prime areas in the East coast of Sabah. Enjoying a high level of organisation, the estate is surrounded by an intensive town development to name a few; a State agricultural university, a polytechnic college, high schools, there are tarmac roads, commercial business sites, modern housing and a major area has been zoned into as a residential area by the state.
In Sabah, the Sungai Manila scheme can be considered as one of the success stories of the re-settlement scheme in Malaysia since after more than 40 years of development the people are still the rightful owners of this high value of land. As Malaysia is aiming to become a world leader in the downstream processing of palm oil products, the Palm Oil Industrial Cluster (POIC) is just established in a hub close to the Sungai Manila estate, it is expected that the spin-off of the palm oil cluster would benefit the local people even more in the near future.