Did a search for some news on "expensive accommodations in Mount Kinabalu", not only Malaysians are complaining.
Mount Kinabalu Borneo Blog
The issue: Sutera Sanctuary Lodges monopolize Mount Kinabalu for their own profits.
It started early this year, January 2008, when they packaged their climbing trip. They also pre-sold all the beds to big travel & tourism company increasing the price, to reap all the profits. That moves had also make us difficult to book a bed in Laban Rata.
Try calling them and ask for a bed 6 months in advance. They will say that their booking is not open yet.
Try calling them again next 2 days - 5 months 29 days. And they will said that the beds are full in Laban Rata. Who do you think have the power and money to book all 140 beds in Laban Rata in that very short time?
Gone are the days when you can D-I-Y your trip up to Low’s Peak, where you could pay merely over RM150 for all the expenses - provided we bring our food ourselves.
The package that they created is compulsory. You cannot omit even a single item in the package - that includes the food. And that move have skyrocketed the prices, even worse during this uncertainty of fuel prices and inflation....
...When we arrived at the Mount Kinabalu National Park headquarters on Wednesday afternoon it was still pouring rain from the day before. Our guide book said there were two youth hostels located at park headquarters and a dorm room cost 12RM (1.40 Euro) per night. When we asked at the reception where these hostels were, we were told they were taken over by the same company that runs the accommodation halfway up the mountain - Sutera Sanctuary Lodges - the biggest rip-off merchants in Asia. They now charged 85RM (17 Euro) to stay in the same dorm room in the same hostel that cost 12RM two years ago....
...But we still had to sleep 1 night lower on the mountain before reaching the summit plateau. And the park has only one option for sleeping on the mountain: Laban Rata. Last year they charged 29RM/person for the dorm-style accommodations. But they decided to raise prices this year, to a whopping 190RM/person. How could prices rise so much? They force you to buy 4 meals to go with the room and all the food has to be carried by porters up the mountain. We tried to get them to exclude the food (we had our own food) but they told us this was not possible. Setting up a tent is not allowed. So we were forced to pay $109US for 1 night at Laban Rata. Sheesh - what a rip off!...