Sunday, August 5, 2007

States Of Malaysia - Sarawak

From Wikipedia & Malaysiana1.

Sarawak is one of two Malaysian states on the island of Borneo. It is known as the Land of Hornbills.

Sarawak is on the northwest of Borneo and is Malaysia’s largest state.

Its capital is Kuching which derives its name from the Longan (Cat’s Eye) fruit once abundant in the city.

Other major cities include Miri and Sibu.

Originally a vassal of the Kedayan kingdom of Brunei, Sarawak became a British colony in 1842.

Britain acquired Sarawak through a businessman Sir James Brooke who governed the state as his personal fiefdom and was nicknamed the White Raja.

Three Brookes ruled Sarawak namely Sir James (1842-1868), his sister’s son Sir Charles (1868-1917) and Sir Charles’ son Sir Charles Vyner (1917-1946). In 1946, Sarawak became directly ruled by King George 6 of Britain, via the Colonial Office.

Sarawak gained independence as a state of Malaysia on September 16, 1963.

Sarawak is divided into 11 administrative divisions namely Kuching, Samarahan, Sri Aman, Betong, Sarikei, Kapit, Sibu, Mukah, Bintulu, Miri and Limbang.

Sarawak stretches for 750 km along the north-west coast of Borneo and faces the South China Sea. The Limbang district of Sarawak splits Brunei into two zones. Sarawak’s district of Lawas borders Sabah to the north-east.

Indonesian Borneo and Sarawak share a common border which runs across Borneo’s central mountains.

Mount Murud in Lawas is Sarawak’s highest mountain. Sarawak also has the country’s largest cave in Mount Mulu, Marudi.

The Rejang River which begins in Kapit and empties into the South China Sea in Sarikei is the country’s longest river.

Other major rivers are the Saribas, Sarawak (Kuching), Lupar, Baram and Limbang.

Sarawak can be divided into three natural regions.

The coastal region is flat with many swamps. The hill region has most of the larger cities and towns, including the ports of Sibu and Kuching.

There is also the mountain region which houses the villages of the Kelabit and Murut hill tribes in Lawas district near the Sabah border.

Sarawak’s indigenous people make up 70 per cent of the state’s population.

The mainly Christian Iban community forms 30 per cent of the state, while the Melanaus who are 20 per cent Christian and 80 per cent Muslim form 18 per cent.

They are followed by the Muslim Bruneian Malays (or Kedayans) at 11 per cent, the mainly Christian Bidayuhs at 8 per cent, the mainly Christian Kayans and Kenyahs at 2 per cent (1 per cent each) and the mainly Christian Kelabits at 1 per cent.

The Melanaus are the most politically and economically powerful community in the state and have been so since 1970.

The Chinese form the 30 per cent non-indigenous minority of Sarawak and dominate the professions. They are mostly Hokkien and Hakka Chinese, and are partly Christian and partly Buddhist.

The indigenous people, sans the Kedayans, do not only celebrate Christian and Muslim festivals but also their ancient Hindu festivals collectively called Gawai.

Sarawak is an oil-rich state. The first oil well in Malaysia was erected in Miri in 1910. The state is also rich in timber.

Sarawak’s main cash crops are pepper, rubber and oil palm.