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A David Lin, 4×4 pioneer in Keningau, Sabah

POSTED BY Sri Fitrah Vong ON 09 April 2020

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David Lin with his daily driver, a classic BJ40

If you’re a Land Rover enthusiast and passing by Keningau, Sabah, try to visit David Lin.

It’s highly unlikely that he’ll sell any of the Land Rovers that he’s got stuffed around, including the Series 1 that’s suspended from ceiling beams. You can buy the other things that he so proudly produces: organic rice varieties including a purple unpolished rice, his coffee from aged beans, and his new line of roasted groundnuts.

Another thing that he does — more as a hobby than for money I suspect — is his line of furniture from tropical hardwoods harvested around Keningau.

Selangan Batu is a hardwood with a beautiful grain while the legs are made from Belian, the strongest hardwood in the world and so heavy that it sinks in water
Trading is in Lin’s blood and some of his customers offer to sell  “tajau” or jars, harvesting baskets and other curios. The small tajau starts from RM20 and the old tajaus about 2 ft high are priced from RM500. “It’s willing seller, willing buyer,” said David.

He’s got a catalogue for the furniture pieces that his factory will make upon order. Some of the more popular pieces like the beds, stools and Ming furniture reproductions are available ex-stock.

When I met David Lin, it was during the first Trans Borneo in the early 1990’s and what was so memorable was that not only was he driving a Land Rover as the chuck wagon, it was a Land Rover with a big Toyota engine — could probably be a BT14 — and it was coupled to a trailer.

He was driving a loaded trailer rig on a tough off-road track and it was raining. It was raining so bad that we had no campground for that night in Kundasang. It was already night, raining, track slippery and still no place to camp for more than 20 trucks. And this is what I can’t forget, David offered us shelter in his resort in Kundasang.

Besides his generosity, David’s special thing is Land Rovers and trailers. He likes to upgrade, modify, hybridise and re-engineer Land Rovers until he’s satisfied with their work performance as a prime mover to pull a trailer loaded with rice and furniture for the Keningau to Kota Kinabalu route over the Crocker Range.

The Series I suspended from the ceiling beams

This mountain range is the ultimate test for any commercial vehicle. If the vehicle is engineered and commissioned by David Lin, you can be assured that it’ll pass the Crocker Range test.

His latest Land Rover conversion is a twin-cab pick-up with a Toyota 15Bt and it pulls a trailer loaded with cargo — rice and furniture — to Kota Kinabalu, daily. His sons, Gary and Allan, help him at the store in Keningau and Kota Kinabalu, respectively.


David Lin, Foo Loong Rice Mill Keningau, Sabah Tel:087-331 802


Gary LinWoodlands Timber Sdn Bhd “House of Chopping Boards”1/2 km, Jalan Nabawan89007 Keningau, Sabah Tel: 016-819 2939

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