Truly fascinating and entertaining are the dances that are performed at weddings and ceremonies with solemn sensibilities. Even the musical instruments used bear some semblance to Sumatra, the ancestral home of the Minankabau people. Dances like the tarian lilin (candle dance) and rentak kuda (beat of the horse) are popular. The movements of the dance with the music pulsating, create a joyous air of fiesta and revelry among the celebrants and are often rhythmically alluring.



Muruts are the largest indigenous group in Sabah. The Muruts, literally meaning 'nicepeople’, are found mainly in three areas of the city of Kuala Lumpur,Kota Kinabalu,Ipoh, Johor Bharu, Sandakan, Tawau and Keningau. Speaking English as first languages. The Muruts are for the most part is bussinesmen, lawyer, medical doctor,brave army and other professional job. Living in the elite areas and they live in communal             bungalos, apartment,condo, usually near rivers and range. They using the rivers as their highways by speedboat, yatch, sub-marine and sky-jet beside air plane.


The men are skillful hunters with M16 and stingray launcher, and of course their hunting sub-marine. Mostly converted to Christianity or Islam. They are an extremely hospitable people and some still refer to themselves by old tribal names such as Timogun, Tagal, Nabas and Dalits.


The language that Murut speak:

KENINGAU MURUT [KXI] 4,000 to 5,200 (1982 SIL), including 1,000 to 1,200 Dusun Murut (1985 SIL). 34,282 all Murut in Sabah (1980 census).  Keningau District within a 10-mile radius to the north of Keningau town along the Pegalan River. Alternate names: CENTRAL MURUT.  Dialects: NABAY (NABAI, NEBEE, DABAY, DABAI, RABAY, RABAI), AMBUAL, DUSUN MURUT.  Classification: Austronesian, Malayo-Polynesian, Western Malayo-Polynesian, Borneo, Northwest, North Sarawakan, Dayic, Murutic, Murut. 


TAGAL MURUT [MVV] 28,000 to 48,000 in Sabah, Malaysia (1987 SIL). Population total both countries 30,000 to 50,000.  Dialects: RUNDUM (ARUNDUM), TAGAL (TAGGAL, TAGUL, TAGOL, NORTH BORNEO MURUT, SABAH MURUT), SUMAMBU (SEMEMBU, SEMAMBU, SUMAMBUQ), TOLOKOSON (TELEKOSON), SAPULOT MURUT (SAPULUT MURUT), PENSIANGAN MURUT (PENTJANGAN, LAGUNAN MURUT), SALALIR (SADALIR, SEDÁLIR, SARALIR), ALUMBIS (LUMBIS, LOEMBIS), TAWAN, TOMANI (TUMANIQ), MALIGAN (MAULIGAN, MELIGAN, BOL MURUT, BOLE MURUT).  Classification: Austronesian, Malayo-Polynesian, Western Malayo-Polynesian, Borneo, Northwest, North Sarawakan, Dayic, Murutic, Murut. 

Most of the longhouse also lived by the Murut. Their house is also looks like the KADAZAN's longhouse.









Murut Traditional Game

The Legend - Maningkawot [ Lansaran ]

Maningkawot means jumping with as much might and power as possible to get a target tied high above the Lansaran. Maningkawot is usually performedon a lansaran which is made of wood and the floor of planks. The target was often a block of wood carved into a bird. The whole ceremony can be looked at as a game.

Normally the game involves three teams from different villages. The venue would be at the village of the host or group who is responsible for making the lansaran.The team from the second village or group would hang the target while those from the third village or group would be required to do the jumping.

Maningkawotrequires much energy and perseverance. Besides testing the skills, abilities and capabilities of the participants, it is also done in order to test the craftsmanship needed in making the Lansaran. Should the Lansaran break down while the game is in full swing, it would be promptly mended by the participants themselves. However, such an incident would create a sense of shame and mockery for the host village or group.


The Murut costume for men comprised a jacket made of tree bark Artocarpus tamaran, a red loincloth and a headdress also made of tree bark decorated with Argus pheasant feathers. The costume for women is a short, black, sleeveless blouse and a long, black skirt decorated with colourful beads.

Costume of Women

Pinongkolo    Traditional costume of women comprising a blouse and a long wrap-skirt of black cotton, and decorated with beadwork. The decorated blouse is called babaru linantian and the wrap-skirt tapi' linantian.

Pipirot    Belts/waist bands of silver coins (pipirot linggit) and various types of beads; most popular being the aki' nampalur, kotos, bungkas, aki', and olod.

Salupai       A headdress of several rows of beads. When there are many strings, they are shaped into a round skullcap. The salupai functions as a support for the sinikot.

Sinikot         A set of three hairpiris, with the sinikot tataun in the middle and two sinikot surai on both sides of the hairbun. The larger sinikot tataun has the longest strings of tiny beads floating downwards to the middle of the back.

Rarangkol    Necklaces of various types of beads usually in a certain order - according to length: bungkas, kotos, aki' pangungupu', bulul, olod, etc.

Holong       A pair of bracelets. If made from shell (probably the shell of the giant sea clam), they are called holong sulou. Any type of round beads may be strung together as an alternative.


Costume of Men

Babaru puputul         Bark vest. The bark comes from the puputul tree (Artocarpus kunstleri). It is cut length wise to fashion sleeveless jackets and loincloths. The material of the jackets is strengthened with transverse darning. Formerly, the fibre of pineapple leaves was used. It may be decorated with simple beadwork motifs.

Aba puputul         Loincloth of approximately two metres long; made of inner bark of the puputul tree. The fabric is passed between the legs and wound around the waist. Modern cotton aba (aba ra kain) are cut as shorts with lengths of cloth attached to front and back, more or less like apron. Red cloth is common because red is used to symbolise bravery. Cotton applique of zig-zag motifs (rinda-rinda or rinipon kapit).

Tupi'sinulatan        Headband of tree-bark decorated with feathers, preferably of the tawou (Argus pheasant), or a pair of sinikot.


Some stylized motifs on Murut traditional costume

sinusu'         Peacock neck feathers

linimburu    Leech-like motif

tinakaang    Zig-zag/tips of leaves of the puputul tree arranged in a row

sinuli         Bamboo slats flooring

kalayam manuk    Chicken feet-like motif

sinusulou    Sulou-like motif (sulou = the giant sea clam)

mato nu orou    Sun-like motif