Clock Tower Labuan
The Labuan Clock Tower’s arch doorway used to be surmounted by an inscription celebrating the name of the citizen who built it in 1906. ©CEphoto

The Labuan Clock Tower is an exact replica of the original clock tower built in 1906 by Chee Swee Cheng, a tycoon and philanthropist from Malacca and the first chairman of the Overseas Chinese Banking Corporation (OCBC Bank).

It was one of several standing structures that survived World War II, the others being The Chimney, a hospital and the lighthouses on Pulau Kuraman and Pulau Papan.

Intense naval bombardments by Allied forces completely devastated Victoria (Bandar Labuan), the island’s capital. The Labuan Clock Tower at one time embellished the facade of the town hall, of which nothing remained standing after the bombardment.

Borneo World War 2
Ruins of the town hall and remains of the clock tower left over from the bombardment of Labuan in 1945.

Donald Friend, who served as an official war artist for the Australian Army, wrote in his diary on 20 June 1945 of the area surrounding the Clock Tower:

“To the town, sketching all morning, with some interesting results. One could spend a couple of months here drawing nothing but the ruins…much of the town has been cleared up – great rubble heaps removed”.

The British administration demolished the clock tower in 1948 and there were no attempts to rebuild it. In 2002, Labuan’s authorities reconstructed this beautiful and historical clock tower with funding from Malaysia’s Ministry of Tourism.

Visitor information

The Labuan Clock Tower’s gongs and bells chime every hour, on the hour, so a good time to visit would be around noon. The tower is also decoratively lit at night.

The structure is located right opposite the International Sea Sports Complex, Labuan Maritime Museum and newly renovated Medan Selera Labuan (food court).


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