| The People |
Sarawak Tourism Board
SARAWAK, the largest state in Malaysia, is bordered by
Sabah on its northwestern side, and Kalimantan (Indonesian
Borneo) to the south, occupying the bottom-top portion of the
island of Borneo. Covering an area of about 124,000 sq km, it
stretches some 700 km along the northwestern coast of Borneo
(the third largest island in the world).
Sarawak's history is colourful, filled with
adventure, piracy, head-hunting and romance. When English
adventurer James Brooke arrived in 1839, Sarawak was rebelling
under the rule of the Brunei sultanate. As a reward for the
role he played in quelling the rebellion, the Pengiran Mahkota
of Brunei made Brooke the Rajah of Sarawak in 1841. Through 3
generations of British rule, Sarawak still holds steadfast
until today its undying passion and respect for its own
traditions and cultures.
During the second World War, Sarawak was
occupied by the Japanese forces, but it was subsequently ceded
to Britain after the war and became a British Crown Colony. On
16th September 1963, Sarawak joined the Federation of
Malaysia, and today she observes a democratic system of
Kuching (pop. 306,000) is the economic and
political centre of the state, and was declared a city on 1st
August, 1988 while Miri, the longest town in Sarawak, lies
next to the oil-rich sultanate of Brunei. Sarawak is home to
some of Borneo's most amazing natural wonders, like Mulu Caves
in Miri, claimed to be some of the longest network of caves in
the world. Niah Caves is another of these wonders that played
part in the birth of civilisation in Asia.
It's economy is largely dependent on its
rich natural resources, particularly oil, liquefied natural
gas. (LNG), timber and the famous Sarawak black and white
pepper. Nevertheless, it is also a state developed in
agriculture, commerce, and industries. Apart from the
petroleum products and timber, other important exports are
coconut oil, rubber, palm oil, cocoa beans and urea.
Sarawak has a warm and equatorial climate, with an average
annual temperature of 25.6°C. The rainy season or landas is
between November and February. The average annual rainfall is
between 330 cm and 460 cm.
Being tropical, we dress (e.g. Lightweight
linens & cottons, T-shirt, short, jean) very informally. For
dinners and night spots, smart casual wear is the norm. Either
safari suits or lounge suits are acceptable for business
meetings. Topless sunbathing is not allowed.
The Iban forms the largest indigenous group, comprising
29.6% of the population, while Chinese comprises 29.1%, Malay
- 20.7% Bidayuh (formerly known as Land Dayaks) - 8.4%,
Melanau - 5.8%. Other indigenous peoples of Sarawak fall under
the orang ulu ethnic category and make up a further 5.4% of
the population. Although Islam is the official religion of the
state, the people of Sarawak enjoy religious freedom.
Christianity, Buddhism and Hinduism are widely practiced,
while some forms of paganism still exists in the rural