|Nickname(s): Bandar Nanas|
|• Council Chairman||Cr. Chan Phan Chan|
|• Resident||Michael Dawi|
|• Total||985 km2 (380 sq mi)|
|Time zone||MST (UTC+8)|
|• Summer (DST)||Not observed (UTC)|
|National calling code||+6084 (local landline only)|
|License plate prefix||QR (for all vehicles except taxis)|
Sarikei is a town, and the capital of the Sarikei District (985 square kilometers) in Sarikei Division, Sarawak, east Malaysia. It is located on the Rajang River, near where the river empties into the South China Sea. The district population (year 2010 census) was 56,798. The population is culturally mixed, with mostly Iban, Melanau, Malay and Chinese predominating.
The economy of the town is primarily agricultural, and Sarikei is famed for its pineapples and its pepper. The center of town has many old Chinese shophouses from the 1930s. It is also a major transportation hub for traffic on both the Pan Borneo Highway and the Rajang river. Anybody traveling by road or express boat from Kuching to Sibu must pass through Sarikei.
The most distinctive feature of the bustling waterfront is a 3.6 m high pineapple statue.
The town itself consists of a main road, Repok Road which is bisected by another road leading to the new development in Kampung Seberang.
History and background
The early history of Sarikei can be traced as far back as the early 19th century. There are many historical events to show its existence. For example, Rajah James Brooke first visited Sarikei on 30 April 1845. There were also resistance from the local people towards the Brooke’s administration, including the burning of Sarikei on 4.1.1856 and the Julau Expedition on 19 June 1856, which was led by Sir Charles Brooke to counter the native resistance in Julau.
The establishment of Sarikei as a new Division was mainly based on security consideration. Datu Wilson Baya Dandot, The Deputy State Secretary (Planning and Development) in his article entitled: Sarawak’s Unique Administrative Identity: Establishment of Divisional, District and Sub-District Machinery For Enhancing Development Administration said that the establishment of Sarikei as the Sixth Division then was due to the security threats posed by the communist insurgency which was at its height at that time. It was felt that with the establishment of a new Sarikei Division the government would be able to concentrate and focus more in its efforts to contain and counter the security problem in the area.
Also known as the "food basket" for the Land of the Hornbills, Sarikei started as a small village comprising the "Segalang" community and a few rows of Chinese shophouses. From a dead town, the once isolated and remote Sarikei has progressed and the people now enjoy infrastructural facilities and economic opportunities.
Medical needs are served by several hospitals and clinics. The main hospital is Sarikei Hospital, officially opened in 2006, costing RM250.4M. There is also a polyclinic near the old hospital opposite the fire station. Clinics are also available within the town area like Dr. Awang, Dr. Eric Wong Siong Kong, Dr. Jawi Masing, Dr. Sim, Dr. Law and Dr. Wong Hua Seh
There are several schools with decades of established history.
- Sk St. Anne Sarikei
- SRB Su Kwong
- SJK(C) Kwang Chien
- SK Methodist Anglo-Chinese School
- SK Abang Haji Matahir
- SRB Sze Lu
- SJK(C) Su Lee
- SJK(C) Su Lok
- SJK(C) Wah Man
- SK Ulu Bintangor
- SK Adin Sare.
- SK Agama Sarikei
- SK Sg Paoh
- SK Tiong Ho
The government has also recently added several schools across Sungai Baji in the new development zone. Schools include a religious school (SK Agama Sarikei). Sarikei has also a private Chinese secondary school called SM Ming Lik some distance out of town.
Sarikei Public Library, situated at Jalan Kapur, has a floor area of approximately 2,000 square meters at a cost of around RM3.5 million and was opened to the public on 1 August 2003. It is one of the landmarks of the town given its unique architecture which sets it apart from the other government buildings in the town.
The major housing areas in the town are the Hua Tai, Sunny Spring, Kiong Soon Road, Jongkong Road, Getah Road, Rejang Road, Nyelong Park and the Meranti road housing estates. The majority of the houses in the estates are terrace houses with some semi-detached houses. There are also some bungalows and detached units.
- Water Transport: Sarikei Wharf Terminal. Terminal 1 is next to the clock tower and the pineapple statue. Terminal 2 serves the bigger boats to Kuching.
- Land Transport: Sarikei Regional bus terminal located 1 km from town centre serves as the main hub for express buses to various destinations in Sarawak including Kuching, Sri Aman, Sibu, Bintangor, Bintulu and Miri.
- Taxis: Taxis are available near the wharf terminals, the bus terminal as well as in the central taxi station at the first intersection of Jalan Repok.
Culture and leisure
Attractions and Recreation Spots
Sebangkoi Country Resort is a popular place to visit for the local populace. What was once a simple waterfall has now emerged as a multimillion dollar development with landscaped gardens and accommodation.
Sarikei Wharf Esplanade is ideal for evening strolls and sunset watching. The sun sets in the west and that's the direction of the Rejang River's flow towards the river mouth at the South China Sea where it deposits its silt.
Sarikei Lake Park, situated opposite the fire station, is one of the more popular spots for families and young couples to have a walk and generally hang out. It is built around an artificial lake and features gazebos and a jogging path.
Sarikei Merdeka Park is one of the latest additions to the local government's effort to turn Sarikei into a more aesthetic town. Built in 2004, it consists of a central courtyard framed by two gazebos and Zen balls. The park was built on what used to be the Pasar Tamu of the town.
Bukit Huang Pineapples & Vegetables Plantation is one of the largest farms at the Rejang Delta region. 30% of Sarikei's local vegetable supply and 50% of famous Sarawak pineapples production place.
There are five major supermarket in Sarikei, namely Ngiu Kee, Swee Hoon, Nam Leong(the newest shop), Everwin, Everise and Friendly.
The main religions in the town are Christianity, Buddhism and Islam.
The town has a fairly large population of Christians. The majority of the Christians belong to the Methodist denomination which has about four churches in the town area and surrounding residential areas. The Roman Catholic parish of St Anthony's in Sarikei has its church along Repok Road. The mission also runs two schools, St. Anthony's Secondary School and St. Anne's Primary School as well as a kindergarten, St. Clement's. Other Christian churches include the Anglican Church centre in the Nyelong Park Housing Estate as well as the SIB (Borneo Evangelical Church). In 1999, a new church was built at Jalan Kwong Ming named the Sarawak Full Gospel Church (Sarikei Branch).
The primary place of worship for the Muslims is the town mosque adjacent to the Hua Tai residential area.
The more famous local cuisine include:
- "Kam Pua noodles" (干拌面) Two types. white noodles (onion and garlic flavour) and black soy sauce stir mixed. Looks similar like wan tan noodles but taste totally different. Major ingredients are fried onions, shallots, lard, and red yeast wine that make it so unique.
- "Erng Zhou Ark": Duck roasted with a concoction derived from the by-product of the red yeast wine making process.
- "Kompyang" (光饼): a local hard & dry, mild salty bread. Best eaten hot. Can find in Sibu town, Sitiawan, Air Tawar, Sepang & Yong Peng towns of Peninsular Malaysia where predominated by Fuzhou Clan, Fuzhou city of China and even far west to Jammu and Kashmir (Srinagar) of India also selling similar kind of bread like this.
- "Jin Tung Pian" (征东饼): "conquer eastern bread", rather bigger size, soft and sweet taste.
- "Bien Nuik"(扁肉): The local version of the "wan tan". In Fuzhou, called (扁肉燕).
- "Bek Ting Yuok": The soup of eight essences - nice, sweet, tasty and nutritious Chinese soup made of at least eight types of Chinese herbal materials. Usually cooked with pork leg or duck. Known as Ba Zheng in Mandarin.
- "Tian Miang Ngu"(鼎边糊): The rice slices soup, cooks with mu er (mushroom), minced pork balls and cuttlefish (octopus)slices. Best served with pepper, similar as Taiwan's 鼎邊銼. The soup stock is made using pork bones and dried squid.
- "Zhou Cai Hung Ngan" (糟菜粉干): Preserved mustard cooked with shark fillet rice noodles soup.
Every year, Sarikei will held 'Pesta Nenas' which means 'Pineapple Fest'.
- "Laporan Kiraan Permulaan 2010". Jabatan Perangkaan Malaysia. p. iv. Retrieved 2011-01-24.
- "Ministry of Urban Development and Tourism Sarawak".
- "All Malaysian Info Website".
- Sarikei - A Transit Town To An Agriculture Growth Centre
- "Sarikei Public Library".
- Sarikei District Council
- Sarikei District Office
- Sarikei Resident Office
- Sarikei Tourism
- Sarikei travel guide from Wikivoyage