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For the river, see Sarawak River. For the ship, see HMS Sarawak (K591).
Bumi Kenyalang (Land of the Hornbills)
Flag of Sarawak
Coat of Arms of Sarawak
Coat of arms
Nickname(s): Land of the Hornbills
Motto: "Bersatu, Berusaha, Berbakti"
"United, Striving, Serving"
Anthem: Ibu Pertiwiku (My Motherland)
   Sarawak in    Malaysia
   Sarawak in    Malaysia
Capital Kuching
 • Yang Di-Pertua Negeri Tun Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud
 • Chief Minister Tan Sri Datuk Patinggi Adenan Satem (BN)
 • Total 124,450 km2 (48,050 sq mi)
Population (2010)[3]
 • Total 2,471,140
 • Density 20/km2 (51/sq mi)
Demonym(s) Sarawakian
Human Development Index
 • HDI (2010) 0.692 (high) (11th)
Time zone MST[4] (UTC+8)
Postal code 93xxx[5] to 98xxx[6]
Calling code 082 (Kuching), (Samarahan)
083 (Sri Aman), (Betong)
084 (Sibu), (Kapit), (Sarikei), (Mukah)
085 (Miri), (Limbang), (Marudi), (Lawas)
086 (Bintulu), (Belaga)[7]
Vehicle registration QA & QK (Kuching)
QB (Sri Aman)
QC (Kota Samarahan)
QL (Limbang)
QM (Miri)
QP (Kapit)
QR (Sarikei)
QS (Sibu)
QT (Bintulu)
QSG (Sarawak State Government)[8]
Brunei Sultanate 15th century–1841[9]
Brooke dynasty 1841–1946
Japanese occupation 1941–1945
British Crown Colony 1946–1963
Self-government 22 July 1963[10][11][12][13]
Malaysia Agreement[14] 16 September 1963a[15]
a Despite the fact that the Federation of Malaysia only came into existence on 16 September 1963, 31 August is celebrated as the Independence day of Malaysia. Since 2010, 16 September is recognised as Malaysia Day, a patriotic national-level public holiday to commemorate the foundation of Federation of Malaysia that joints North Borneo, Malaya, Sarawak and (previously) Singapore as states of equal partners in the federation.[16]

Sarawak (Malay pronunciation: [saˈrawaʔ]) is one of the two Malaysian states on the island of Borneo. It is also one of the founding members of the Malaysian federation alongside North Borneo (Sabah), Singapore (expelled in 1965) and the Federation of Malaya (Peninsula Malaysia or West Malaysia). This territory has an autonomous law especially in immigration, which differentiates it from the rest of the Malaysian Peninsula states. Today, the state is known as Bumi Kenyalang ("Land of the Hornbills").

Sarawak is situated on the northwest of Borneo, bordering the state of Sabah to the northeast Indonesia to the south, and surrounding the independent state of Brunei. The administrative capital is Kuching, which has a population of 700,000.[17] Major cities and towns include Miri, Sibu, and Bintulu. As of the last census (2010), the state population was 2,471,140.[18]


The official explanation of the word Sarawak is that it is derived from Sarawak Malay word of serawak which means antimony. Another popular but unofficial explanation is that it is derived from the four Malay words purportedly uttered by Pangeran Muda Hashim, "Saya serah pada awak" (I surrender it to you) when he gave Sarawak to James Brooke in 1841. However, such explanation has several flaws because the territory already named Sarawak even before the arrival of James Brooke and the word awak never existed in the vocabulary of Sarawak Malay before the Malaysian federation.[19]


Main article: Prehistoric Malaysia

The first foragers visited the West Mouth of Niah Cave (located 110 km southwest of Miri)[20] 50,000 years ago when Borneo was connected to the mainland of Southeast Asia. The landscape of Niah Cave was drier and more open than it is now. Prehistoric Niah Cave was surrounded by a mosaic of closed forests with bush, parkland, swamps, and rivers. The foragers were able to survive in the rainforests through hunting, fishing, mollusc collection, and plant gathering.[21] The earliest evidence of human population in the area dates back to 40,000 BC in Niah Cave at Paleolithic period. This is evidenced by the discovery of a Homo sapiens skull nicknamed "Deep Skull" in a deep trench uncovered by Tom Harrisson in 1958,[20][22] which is the oldest modern human skull in Southeast Asia.[23] The skull probably belongs to a 16- to 17-year-old adolescent girl.[21] Unfossilised Manis paleojavanica (Asian giant pangolin) bone dated back to 30,000 BC was also found in the proximity of the "Deep Skull",[24] as well as with the Mesolithic and Neolithic burial sites inside the Niah Caves.[25]


Bruneian Empire[edit]

A west view of a river from the anchorage off Sarawak, Borneo circa 1800s. Painting from the National Maritime Museum of London.

During the 15th century, the area was under the influence of the Bruneian Empire and was self-governed under Sultan Tengah.[9] The eastern seaboard of Borneo was charted, though not settled, by the Portuguese in the early 16th century.[13] The area of Sarawak was known to Portuguese cartographers as Cerava.[13] By the early 19th century, Sarawak had become a loosely governed territory under the control of the Brunei Sultanate.[13] The Bruneian empire only had authority along the coastal regions of Sarawak held by semi-independent Malay chiefs. Meanwhile, the interior hinterland of Sarawak was mainly dominated by tribal wars fought by Iban, Kayan, and Kenyah people who were aggressive in their territorial expansions.[26] Following the discovery of antimony ore in Sarawak (now Kuching), Pangeran Indera Mahkota began to develop the area between 1824 to 1830. When antimony production increased, the Brunei Sultanate demanded higher taxes from Sarawak.[27] This led to a civil unrest and chaos in Sarawak.[13] Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddin II (1827–1852), the Sultan of Brunei, ordered Pangeran Muda Hashim in 1839 to restore order and it was during this time that James Brooke arrived in Sarawak.[13] Pangeran Muda Hashim initially requested assistance in the matter, but Brooke refused.[13] In 1841, Brooke paid another visit to Sarawak and this time he agreed to provide assistance. Pangeran Muda Hashim signed a treaty in 1841 surrendering Sarawak and Sinian to Brooke. On 24 September 1841,[28] Pangeran Muda Hashim bestowed the title Governor on James Brooke. Then in 1846, he effectively became the Rajah of Sarawak and founded the White Rajah Dynasty of Sarawak after the death of Pengeran Muda Hashim.[29][30]

Brooke Dynasty[edit]

Main articles: Kingdom of Sarawak and White Rajahs

James Brooke was appointed Rajah by the Sultan of Brunei in August 1846. Brooke ruled the territory, later expanded, across the western regions of Sarawak around Kuching until his death in 1868. His nephew Charles Anthoni Johnson Brooke became Rajah after his death; he was succeeded on his death in 1917 by his son, Charles Vyner Brooke, with the condition that Charles should rule in consultation with his brother Bertram Brooke.[31] Territorial expansion of Sarawak were pursued by James and Charles Brooke by signing treaties with Brunei. In 1861, Bintulu region until Tanjung Kidurong was ceded to James Brooke. In 1883, Sarawak was extended to Baram River (near Miri). Limbang was acquired in 1885 and later added to Sarawak in 1890. Expansion of Sarawak completed in 1905 when Lawas was ceded to the Brooke government.[32][33] Sarawak was divided into five divisions, corresponding to territorial boundaries of the areas acquired by the Brookes throughout the years. Each division was headed by a Resident.[34]

An 1888 postage stamp of Sarawak featuring the picture of Charles Brooke.

The Brooke dynasty ruled Sarawak for a hundred years as "White Rajahs". Sarawak was accorded a status of similar to Indian princely states in the British Empire.[35] The Brooke dynasty adopted the policy of paternalism to protect the interests of indigenous population and their overall welfare. The Brooke government established a Supreme Council consisting of Malay chiefs who advised on all aspects of governance to the Rajahs.[36] Meanwhile, Ibans and other "Dayak" were hired as contingent militia.[37] The Brooke dynasty also encouraged the immigration of Chinese merchants for economic development in the state especially in mining and agricultural sectors.[36] Western capitalist were restricted to enter the state while Christian missionaries were tolerated.[36] Piracy, slavery, and headhunting were also banned.[38]

The Brookes ruled Sarawak from a palace named Astana by the Sarawak River at Kuching.[39] In 1857, Hakka Chinese gold miners from Bau, under the leadership of Liu Shan Bang, assaulted for the government seat in Kuching. However, with Malayo-Iban assistance, James Brooke was able to defeat them. An anti-Brooke faction at Brunei Court was defeated in 1860 at Mukah. Other notable oppositions that were successfully quashed by the Brookes include rebellions led by an Iban leader Rentap (1853-1863), and a Malay leader named Syarif Masahor (1860-1862).[36] As a result, a series of forts around Kuching were built to consolidate Rajah's power. This includes Fort Margherita which was completed in 1879.[39] In 1888, Sarawak, together with neighbouring North Borneo (present day Sabah), and Brunei became British protectorates where the foreign policies were handed over to the British in exchange for military protection.[40] In 1891, Charles Brooke, the second White Rajah of Sarawak, established the Sarawak Museum, the oldest museum in Borneo.[39][41]

In 1941, during a centenary celebration of Brooke rule in Sarawak, a new constitution was introduced to limit the power of the Rajah and to allow Sarawak people to play a greater role in government functions.[42] However, the draft constitution contained irregularities, including a secret agreement drawn up between Charles Vyner Brooke and British government officials, in which Vyner Brooke ceded Sarawak as British Crown Colony in return for a financial compensation to him and his family.[35][43]

Japanese occupation and Allied liberation[edit]

Japanese propaganda banner as seen in Kuching shortly after the surrender of Japan. Image taken on 12 September 1945.
Aerial view of Batu Lintang POW camp taken on or after 29 August 1945.

The Brooke government under the leadership of Charles Vyner Brooke, established several airstrips in Kuching, Oya, Mukah, Bintulu, and Miri for preparations in an event of a war. By 1941, the British had withdrawn its defending forces from Sarawak and returned to Singapore. With Sarawak left defenseless, the Brooke regime decided to adopt scorched earth policy where oil installations in Miri would be destroyed and Kuching airfield will be held as long as possible before being destroyed eventually. On the other hand, Japanese forces decided to seize British Borneo in order to guard their eastern flank of Malayan Campaign and to facilitate their invasion on Sumatra and West Java. Japanese invasion force led by Kiyotake Kawaguchi landed Miri on 16 December 1941 (8 days into Malayan Campaign) and conquered Kuching on 24 December 1941. British forces led by Lieutenant Colonel C.M. Lane decided to retreat to Singkawang II in Dutch Borneo bordering Sarawak. After 10 weeks of fighting in Dutch Borneo, the Allied forces surrendered on 1 April 1942.[44] When the Japanese invaded Sarawak, Charles Vyner Brooke already left for Sydney, Australia while his officers were captured by the Japanese and interned at Batu Lintang camp.[45]

Sarawak became part of the Empire of Japan for three years and eight months. Sarawak together with North Borneo, and Brunei formed a single administrative unit named Kita Boruneo (Northern Borneo)[46] under Japanese 37th Army headquartered in Kuching. Sarawak was divided into three provinces namely Kuching-shu, Sibu-shu, and Miri-shu with each under their respective Japanese Provincial Governor. Basically, the Japanese retained pre-war administrative machinery and replaced important positions in the government with Japanese people. Administration of Sarawak's interior were left to native police and village headmen under Japanese supervision. Generally, the Malays were receptive of the Japanese while other indigenous tribes such as Iban, Kayan, Kenyah, Kelabit, and Lun Bawang were generally hostile against the Japanese because of policies such as compulsory labour, forced deliveries of foodstuffs, and confiscation of firearms. The Japanese also did not resort to strong measures in clamping down the Chinese population because the Chinese population in the state were generally apolitical. However, a considerable number of Chinese moved from urban areas into the less accessible interior to avoid contact with the Japanese.[47]

Allied forces later formed Z Special Unit to sabotage Japanese operations in Southeast Asia. Beginning March 1945, Allied commanders were parachuted into Borneo jungles and established several SEMUT bases in Sarawak. Hundreds of indigenous people were trained to launch offensives against the Japanese. Intelligence gathered from the operations has helped Allied forces in reconquering Borneo in May 1945 through Operation Oboe Six.[48] This led to the surrender of Japanese to the Australian forces on 10 September 1945 at Labuan.[49][50] Sarawak was immediately placed under British Military Administration until April 1946.[51]

British Crown Colony[edit]

Anti-cession demonstration in Sarawak.

After the war, the Brooke government did not have enough resources to rebuild Sarawak. Charles Vyner Brooke was also not willing to hand over his power to heir apparent, Anthony Brooke (his nephew, the only son of Bertram Brooke) because of serious differences between them.[26] Besides, Vyner Brooke's wife Sylvia Brett also tried to discredit Anthony Brooke while trying to install her own daughter to the throne. Therefore, Vyner Brooke decided to cede the sovereignty of Sarawak to the British Crown.[43] A Cession Bill was put forth in the Council Negri (now Sarawak State Legislative Assembly) and was debated for 3 days. The bill was passed on 17 May 1946 with a narrow majority (19 versus 16 votes). Supporters of the bill were mostly European officers while the Malays opposed the bill. This has caused hundreds of Malay civil servants resigning in protest, sparking anti-cession movement of Sarawak, and assassination of second colonial governor of Sarawak Sir Duncan Stewart by Rosli Dhobi.[52]

Anthony Brooke opposed the cession of the Rajah's territory to the British Crown. However, he was linked to anti-cessionist groups in Sarawak, especially after the assassination Sir Duncan Stewart.[53] Anthony Brooke continued to claim sovereignty as Rajah of Sarawak even after Sarawak became a British Crown colony on 1 July 1946.[43] For this he was banished from Sarawak by the colonial government[36] and was allowed to return only 17 years later for a nostalgic visit, when Sarawak became part of Malaysia.[54] In 1950, all anti-cession movements in Sarawak ceased after a clamp down by the colonial government.[26] In 1951, Anthony relinquished all his claims to the Sarawak throne after he used up his last legal avenues at the Privy Council.[54]

Self-government and the Federation of Malaysia[edit]

Tan Sri Datuk Amar Stephen Kalong Ningkan declaring the formation of the Federation of Malaysia on 16 September 1963.

On 27 May 1961, Tunku Abdul Rahman, the prime minister of Federation of Malaya announced his plan of forming a greater federation together with Singapore, Sarawak, Sabah, and Brunei which would be called Malaysia. Such plan has caused the local leaders in Sarawak to be wary of Tunku's intentions because of great disparity of socioeconomic development between Malaya and Singapore with the Borneo states. There was a general fear that without a strong political institution, the Borneo states would be subjected to Malaya's colonisation. Therefore, various political parties in Sarawak emerged to protect the interests of the communities they represented. On 17 January 1962, Cobbold Commission was formed to gauge the support of the Sarawak and Sabah towards the federation. Between February to April 1962, the commission met more than 4,000 people and received 2,200 memorandums from various groups. The Commission reported divided support among the Borneo population. However, Tunku interpreted the figures as 80% support for the federation.[55][56] Sarawak drafted 18-point agreement to safeguard the its interests in the federation. On 26 September 1962, Sarawak Council Negri passed a resolution which supported the federation with a condition that the interests of Sarawak people will not be compromised. On 23 October 1962, five political parties in Sarawak formed a united front that supported the formation of Malaysia.[57] Sarawak was officially granted self-government on 22 July 1963,[10][11][12] and later formed the federation of Malaysia with Malaya, North Borneo, and Singapore on 16 September 1963,[58][59] despite the initial opposition from parts of the population.[60][61]

Sarawak Rangers comprising Ibans leap from a Royal Australian Air Force Bell UH-1 Iroquois helicopter to guard the Malay–Thai border from potential Communist attacks in 1965, two years before the starting of the second war against the Communist in Malay Peninsula on 1968.

The Malaysian federation has drawn oppositions from Philippines, Indonesia, Brunei People's Party, and Clandestine Communist Organisation (CCO). Philippines and Indonesia claimed that the British would be "neocolonising" the Borneo states through the Malaya federation.[62] Meanwhile, leader of Brunei People's Party, A. M. Azahari instigated a Brunei Revolt in December 1962 to prevent Brunei from joining the Malaysian federation.[63] Azahari seized Limbang and Bekenu before being defeated by British military forces sent from Singapore. Claiming that Brunei Revolt as the solid evidence of the opposition to Malaysian federation, Indonesian President Sukarno ordered a military confrontation with Malaysia by sending armed volunteers and later military armed forces into Sarawak. Sarawak became a flashpoint during the Indonesia–Malaysia confrontation between 1962 and 1966.[64][65] Such confrontation gained little support from local Sarawakians except for CCO. Thousands of CCO members went into Kalimantan and underwent training with Communist Party of Indonesia. During the confrontation period, around 10,000 to 150,000 British troops were stationed in Sarawak, together with Australian and New Zealand troops. When new President of Indonesia, Suharto replaced Sukarno, negotiations was restarted between Malaysia and Indonesia which led to an end of confrontation on 11 August 1966. In 1967, a new agreement was signed which requires anyone who wished to cross the Sarawak-Kalimantan border to have a border pass endorsed at border control posts.[62]

After the formation of Peoples' Republic of China in 1949, the ideology of Maoism started to penetrate Chinese schools in Sarawak. The first communist group in Sarawak was formed in 1951. The group has its origins from Chung Hua Middle School in Kuching. The group was later succeeded by Sarawak Liberation League (SLL) in 1954 and later by Clandestine Communist Organisation (CCO). Its activities spread from schools into trade unions and farmers. CCO activities mainly concentrated in southern and central regions of Sarawak. It also successfully penetrated a political party named Sarawak United Peoples' Party (SUPP). CCO tried to realise a communist state of Sarawak through constitutional means but during the confrontation period, it resorted to armed struggle against the government.[26] Weng Min Chyuan and Bong Kee Chok were the two notable leaders of CCO. Following this, the Sarawak government started to establish New Villages along the Kuching-Serian road to prevent the community from helping the communists. CCO formally set up North Kalimantan Communist Party (NKCP) in 1970. In 1973, Bong surrendered to chief minister Abdul Rahman Ya'kub, which significantly reduced the strength of the communist party. However, Weng, who directed CCO from China since the mid-1960s, called for a continued armed struggle against the government. After 1974, armed struggle continued in Rajang Delta. In 1989, Malayan Communist Party (MCP) signed a peace agreement with the government of Malaysia. This has caused NKCP to reopen negotiations with Sarawak government which led to a peace agreement on 17 October 1990. Peace was restored in Sarawak after the final group of 50 communist guerrillas laid down their arms.[66][67]

Government and politics[edit]

Timeline of political parties in Sarawak.

The head of state of Sarawak is Yang di-Pertua Negeri or TYT which is largely symbolic in nature, appointed by Yang di-Pertuan Agong of Malaysia.[68] TYT would appoint chief minister as the head of government. The chief minister post is usually filled by the leader of a party who commands the majority of Sarawak State Legislative Assembly. Elected representatives would be known as state assemblymen. The state assembly would be able to pass state laws which is not under the jurisdiction of the Parliament of Malaysia such as land administrations, employment, forests, immigration, merchant shipping, and fisheries. The state government is made up of chief minister with his cabinet ministers and assistant ministers.[69]

To protect the interests of Sarawak people in the Malaysian federation, special safeguards has been written into Constitution of Malaysia. Sarawak has the power to control the entry and residence of those who are non-Sarawakians and non-Sabahans (including people from Peninsular Malaysia). Only lawyers who are residents of Sarawak can practice law here. There is a High Court of Sarawak which is independent from High Court in Peninsular Malaysia. Chief minister of Sarawak must be consulted before the appointment of chief judge in Sarawak High Court. There are also Native Courts in Sarawak. Sarawak would receive special grants from the federal government and charge their own sales tax. Natives in Sarawak would be able to enjoy special privileges such as quotas and employment in public service, scholarships, university placements, and business permits.[70] Local governments in Sarawak are independent from the laws enacted by the Malaysian parliament.[71]

Major political parties in Sarawak generally can be divided into three categories: native non-Muslim, native Muslim, and non-native although each party do accept members from the other groups.[72] The first political party, Sarawak United Peoples' Party (SUPP) was established in 1959 followed by Parti Negara Sarawak (PANAS) in 1960, and Sarawak National Party (SNAP) in 1961. Other major political parties later appeared by 1962.[26] Sarawak has been a political stronghold of ruling Alliance Party and later Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition since its independence in 1963. Stephen Kalong Ningkan (SNAP) was the first Chief Minister of Sarawak from 1963 to 1966 following his landslide winnings of three tier system of local council elections. He was later ousted in 1966 by Tawi Sli (PESAKA) with the help of Malaysian federal government, causing 1966 Sarawak constitutional crisis.[26] Sarawak political climate was stable until 1987 Ming Court Affair. It was a political coup initiated by Abdul Taib Mahmud's uncle to topple the Taib led Sarawak BN coalition. However, the coup was unsuccessful and Taib was able to retain his chief minister post.[73]

The year 1970 saw the completion the first Sarawak state election where members of Council Negri (now Sarawak State Legislative Assembly) was directly elected by the voters. This election also marks the beginning of ethnic Melanau domination in Sarawak politics at first by Abdul Rahman Ya'kub and followed by his nephew Abdul Taib Mahmud. In the same year, North Kalimantan Communist Party (NKCP) was formed which mounted guerilla warfare against the newly elected Sarawak state government. The party was dissolved after the signing of peace agreement in 1990.[67] The year 1973 saw the birth of Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) following a merger of several parties.[74] This party would later become the backbone of Sarawak BN coalition. Meanwhile, a Dayak-based party, Sarawak National Party (SNAP) was fragmented into several splinter parties since 1983 due to recurrent leadership crisis.[75][76]

In 1978, Democratic Action Party (DAP) was the first Peninsular-based party to open its branches in Sarawak.[74] This party derived majority of its support from urban centres since 2006 state election and become the largest opposition party in Sarawak.[77] In 2010, it forms Pakatan Rakyat coalition with Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) and Parti Islam Se-Malaysia (PAS) where the latter two parties entered Sarawak only between 1996 and 2001.[78] Sarawak is the only state in Malaysia where Peninsular-based component parties in BN coalition especially UMNO has not entered Sarawak.[79]


Administrative divisions[edit]

Unlike other states in Malaysia, Sarawak is divided into divisions rather than districts. Each division is headed by one resident. Currently, the state been divided into 12 divisions:[68][80]


Administrative districts[edit]

The divisions are further divided into districts, each of which is headed by a district officer; and each district is divided into sub-districts, which every sub-districts headed by a Sarawak Administrative Officer (SAO). Currently, there are around 32 districts in the state. There is also one Development Officer at each Division and District to implement development projects. Under each district, the state government would appoint a village headman ( known as ketua kampung/penghulu) for each village.[68][80] Meanwhile, the 23 local governments in Sarawak are put under the jurisdiction of Sarawak Ministry of Local Government and Community Development.[81]

Division District Subdistrict
Kuching Kuching Siburan, Padawan
Lundu Sematan
Samarahan Samarahan
Simunjan Sebuyau
Serian[1] Serian Siburan
Sri Aman Sri Aman Lingga, Pantu
Lubok Antu Engkilili
Betong Betong Pusa, Spaoh, Debak, Maludam
Saratok Roban, Kabong, Budu
Sibu Sibu
Mukah Mukah Balingian
Dalat Oya
Daro Belawai
Matu Igan
Miri Miri Subis, Niah-Suai,Bario Kelabit
Marudi Beluru, Long Lama
Bintulu Bintulu Sebauh
Limbang Limbang Ng. Medamit
Lawas Sundar, Trusan
Sarikei Sarikei
Kapit Kapit Nanga Merit
Belaga Sungai Asap


Kuching is the capital of Sarawak and lies along the Sarawak River. On the left is the State Legislative Assembly Building.

Having land area of 124,450 square kilometres (48,050 sq mi) spanning between latitude 0° 50′ and 5°N and longitude 109° 36′ and 115° 40′ E, Sarawak makes up 37.5% of the total Malaysian land area.[82] It also contains large tracts of tropical rainforest with abundant plant and animal species[13] but has been severely logged since the 1950s.

The state of Sarawak has 750 kilometres (466 mi) of coastline, interrupted in the north by about 150 kilometres (93 mi) of Bruneian coast. Sarawak is separated from Kalimantan Borneo by ranges of high hills and mountains that are part of the central mountain range of Borneo. These get higher to the north and reaches the highest point near the source of the Baram River with the steep Mount Batu Lawi, Mount Mulu and Mount Murud as the highest point in Sarawak.[13]

Sarawak can be divided into three natural regions. The coastal region is rather low lying and flat with large extents of swamps and other wet environments. The hill region provides most of the inhabited land. Cities and towns are built in this region. The ports of Kuching and Sibu are built some distance from the coast on rivers. Bintulu and Miri are close to the coastline where the hills stretch right to the South China Sea. The third region is the mountainous region along the Kalimantan Borneo border and with the Kelabit (Bario), Murut (Ba'kelalan) and Kenyah (Usun Apau Plieran) highlands in the north.[13]

The major rivers from the south to the north include the Sarawak River, Lupar River, Saribas River, and Rajang River. Sarawak river is the main river flowing through Kuching. Rajang River is the longest river in Malaysia measuring 563 kilometres (350 mi) when its tributary Balleh River adds to the total length of the river. To the north, Baram River, Limbang River, and Trusan River drains into the Brunei Bay.[13]

Sarawak is a tropical country with an equatorial climate. It experiences two monsoon seasons: Northeast monsoon and Southwest monsoon. Northeast monsoon occurs between November and February and usually brings heavy rain but Southwest monsson is usually drier. Sarawak climate is stable throughout the year except for the two monsoon changes. Average daily temperature varies between 23°C in the morning and 32°C in the afternoon, with Miri having the lowest average temperatures when compared with other major towns in Sarawak. Miri also has the longest hours of sunshine (more than 6 hours a day) when compared to other parts of Sarawak (5 to 6 hours daily). Humidity is usually high, exceeding 68%, with annual rainfall varies between 330 cm and 460 cm, spanning 220 days a year.[82] Lothosols and lithosols are the two types of soil that make up 60% of the Sarawak land area, while Podzol made up 12% of Sarawak land area. Alluvium are found at the coastal and riverine regions while 12% of Sarawak land area are covered with peat swamps.[82]

The oldest geological formation in Sarawak can be dated back to 300 million years, mostly consisting of Paleozoic and Mesozoic rocks forming the basement in the southwest region of Sarawak. However, to the northeast of Lupar river (near Sri Aman) most of the Sarawak basement formation are made up of younger tertiary sedimentary rocks. The most prominent landforms would be the cave systems developed in the northern region of Sarawak at Niah National Park and Gunung Mulu National Park, high waterfalls at Usun Apau Plieran, and the Hose Mountains bordering Kalimantan, Indonesia.[citation needed]


Rhinoceros hornbill is the state bird of Sarawak.

Sarawak coastline is covered by mangrove and nipah forests. It forms 2% of he total forested area in Sarawak, most commonly found in the estuarine areas of Kuching, Sarikei, and Limbang. Main tree species that can be found here are: Bako (Rhizophora), Nipah palm (Nypa fruticans), and Nibong (Oncosperma tigillarium). Peat swamp forests covers 16% of forested land, most commonly found in southern Miri and lower Baram Valley. The main tree species in peat swamp forests are: Ramin (Gonystylus bancanus), Meranti (Shorea spp), and Medang Jongkong (Dactylocladus stenostachys). Kerangas forest occupies 5% of total forest area while hill Dipterocarpaceae forests occupies mountainous area.[82] Several plant species have been studied for its medicinal properties.[83]

Sarawak rainforest has one of the highest concentration of species per unit area in the world. The state has about 185 species of mammals, 530 species of birds, 166 species of snakes, 104 species of lizards, and 113 of amphibians. It also has 19% of the mammals, 6% of the birds, 20% of the snakes and 32% of the lizards as endemic species. These species are largely found in Totally Protected Areas. In case of flora species, there are 2,000 tree species, 1000 species of orchids, 757 species of ferns, and 260 species of palm.[84] The state is also the habitat of endangered animals, including borneo pygmy elephant, proboscis monkey, orangutans and rhinoceroses.[85][86][87][88][89] Matang Wildlife Centre, Semenggoh Nature Reserve, and Lanjak Entimau Wildlife Sanctuary[90] are notable for its orang utan protection programmes.[91][92] Talang-Satang National Park is notable for its turtle conservation.[93] Birdwatching can be done in various national parks such as Gunung Mulu National Park, Lambir Hills National Park,[94] and Similajau National Park.[95] Miri-Sibuti National Park is notable for its coral reefs.[96] Gunung Gading National Park is notable for its Rafflesia flowers.[97] Padawan Pitcher Garden is notable for its various carnivorous pitcher plants.[98] Rhinoceros hornbill is the state bird of Sarawak.[99]

The state government has enacted several laws to protect the forests and endangered wildlife species in Sarawak such as Forests Ordiance 1958,[100] Wild Life Protection Ordinance 1998,[101] and Sarawak Natural Parks and Nature Reserves Ordinance.[102] Examples of protected species are: orang utan, green turtle, flying lemur, and piping hornbill. Under Wild Life Protection Ordinance 1998, Sarawak natives are given permissions to hunt for restricted range of wild animals in the jungles but should not possess more than 5kg of meat.[103] Sarawak Forest Department was established in 1919 to conserve forest resources in the state.[104] Following international criticisms of logging industry in Sarawak, the state government decided to downsize Sarawak Forest Department and created Sarawak Forestry Corporation in 1995.[105][106] Sarawak Biodiversity Centre was set up in 1997 to initiate conservation, protection, and sustainable development of biodiversity in the state.[107]

Conservation issues[edit]

A logging camp along the Rajang River.

The percentage of current forest cover in Sarawak has been controversial. Sarawak chief minister Abdul Taib Mahmud claimed that the state has 70% forest cover in 2011 and 48% in 2012.[108] Meanwhile, his cabinet minister claimed of 80% forest cover in 2012[108] and to maintain 60% forest cover in the coming years.[109] Meanwhile, Sarawak Forest Department claimed of 80% forest cover in Sarawak in 2012.[110] On the contrary, foreign media asserted that Sarawak has lost 90% of its forest cover[111][112] with 3% to 5% remaining intact.[113] According to Wetlands International, 10% of all Sarawak forests and 33% of peat swamp forests were cleared from 2005 to 2010, which is 3.5 times higher than the total rate of deforestation in Asia and 11.7 times more than peat swamp deforestation in Asia.[114][115]

Sarawak's rainforests have been gradually depleted by the demand driven by the logging industry and the introduction of palm oil plantations,[116] which links to corruption by chief minister Abdul Taib Mahmud and his family.[117][118][119][120] The issue of human rights of Penan and deforestation in Sarawak became an international environmental issue when Swiss activist Bruno Manser entered Sarawak from 1984 until 2000.[121] Deforestation has affected the life of indigenous tribes especially Penan whose livelihood are heavily depended on forest produce. This led to several blockades by indigenous tribes during the 1980s and 1990s against logging companies encroaching their lands.[122] There are also cases where Native Customary Rights (NCR) lands are given to timber and plantation companies without the permission of the inhabitants.[123] The indigenous people has resorted to legal means to reinstate their NCR rights. In 2001, High Court of Sarawak fully reinstated NCR land claimed by Rumah Nor people but was overturned partially in 2005. However, this case has served as the reference which led to more NCR rights being upheld by the high court in the coming years.[124][125] Sarawak mega dams policy such as Bakun Dam and Murum Dam projects has submerged thousands hectares of forests and displaced thousands of indigenous people.[126][127] Currently, the proposed Baram Dam project is delayed due to ongoing protests from local indigenous tribes.[128] Since 2014, the Sarawak government under new chief minister Adenan Satem has started to clamp down illegal logging in the state and to diversify economy of the state away from logging businesses.[129]


Circle frame.svg

Sarawak GDP Share by Sector (2013)[130]

  Services (37.2%)
  Manufacturing (26.6%)
  Mining & Quarrying (21.5%)
  Agriculture (11.4%)
  Construction (3.1%)
  Import Duties (0.3%)
A LNG port at Bintulu, Sarawak.

Sarawak has abundant natural resources. Primary sectors such as mining, agriculture, and forestry accounted for 32.8% of the state economy in 2013. Other sectors such as manufacturing and construction make up 26.6% and 3.1% respectively in 2013.[130] Manufacturing industry of Sarawak mainly consisting of food and beverages, wood-based and rattan products, basic metal products, and petrochemical products.[3] Services industry mainly contributed by cargo transportation services, air transport, and tourism.[130] Sarawak had an average annual Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth rate of 5.0% from 2000 to 2009.[131] Annual GDP growth was volatile from 2006 to 2013, ranging from -2.0% (2009) to 7.0% (2010) with standard deviation of 3.3%. Sarawak contributed 10.1% of the national GDP for the last 9 years until 2013, behind only to Selangor (22.2%) and Kuala Lumpur (13.9%) [130] Sarawak GDP has grown from RM 527 million in 1963 to RM 58 billion in 2013, a 110 times increase. At the same time, GDP per capita has jumped from RM 688 to RM 46,000, a 60 fold increase.[132] Sarawak has the third highest GDP per capita (RM 44,437) in Malaysia; after Kuala Lumpur and Labuan.[133] Sarawak state government is able to maintain fiscal surpluses over seven years until 2013, supported by oil and gas industry which accounted for 34.8% of the state's revenue. Sarawak also attracted RM 9.6 billion in foreign investments where 90% of the investments went to Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (SCORE). SCORE is the second largest economic corridor in Malaysia.[130]

Sarawak economy is strongly export oriented, therefore susceptible to global commodity prices. Total exports as a percentage of GDP is more than 100% in 2013 while total trade exceeds 130%. Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) exports accounted for more than half of the state's total exports while crude petroleum exports accounted for 20.8%. Meanwhile, palm oil, saw logs, and sawn timber accounted for 9.0% of the total exports.[130] Sarawak currently receives 5% oil royalty from Petronas over oil explorations in Sarawak territorial waters.[134] Majority of the oil and gas deposits are located offshore next to Bintulu and Miri at Balingian basin, Baram basin, and around Luconia Shoals.[135] Sarawak is also one of the world's largest exporters of tropical hardwood timber, constituted 65% of total Malaysian log exports in 2000. The last UN statistics estimated Sarawak's sawlog exports at an average of 14,109,000 cubic metres (498,300,000 cu ft) per year between 1996 and 2000.[136] Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation (OCBC Bank) was the first foreign bank to open its branches in Sarawak in 1955. Apart from domestic banks, Sarawak currently has local branches of 18 European, 10 Middle Eastern, 11 Asian, and five North American banks.[137] There are also several Sarawak-based companies involved in various economic sectors such as Cahya Mata Sarawak Berhad (CMSB), Naim Holdings, Rimbunan Hijau, Ta Ann, Shin Yang, Samling, WTK, and KTS.[138]

Sarawak consumer price index (CPI) is highly correlated with Malaysian CPI, with inflation averaging between 2.5 to 3.0% in the last 4 years with a high in 2008 (10.0%) and a low in 2009 (-4.0%).[130] Income inequality in Sarawak has not shown any significant changes from 1970 to 2009, with Gini coefficent fluctuating between 0.4 to 0.5.[139][140] Sarawak saw a reduction in poverty rate from 56.5% (1975) to less than 1% (2015).[141] Unemployment rate also reduced from 4.6% (2010)[142] to 3.1% (2014).[141]


Turbines inside the Bakun Dam power house. The dam is the main source for electric energy in Sarawak.

Sarawak Energy Berhad (SEB) is responsible for generation, transmission, and distribution of electrical power throughout Sarawak.[143] There are currently three operational dams in Sarawak as of 2015: Batang Ai Dam,[144] Bakun Dam,[145] and Murum Dam[146] with several others under feasibility study and planning. [144] Sarawak also derived its electrical energy from coal fired power plant and thermal power station using Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG).[143][147] The total capacity of the state power generation is expected to reach 7,000 MW by 2025.[148] As of 2009, 94% of urban areas and 67% of rural areas has electrical supply.[149] Alternative energy sources such as biomass, tidal, solar, wind, and micro-hydroelectric dams are also being explored for their potential of power generation.[150]

Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (SCORE) was established in 2008 and planned for further development until 2030 to exploit the abundant energy resources in the state (Murum Dam, Baram Dam, Baleh Dam, and coal fired power plants)[151] and to develop 10 high priority industries[152] such as aluminium, glass, steel, oil, fisheries, livestock, timber, and tourism.[153] Regional Corridor Development Authority (RECODA) is the government agency responsible for managing SCORE.[154] The entire central region of Sarawak would be covered under SCORE which would include major areas such as Samalaju (near Bintulu), Tanjung Manis, and Mukah.[155] Samalaju would be developed as an industrial park,[156] with Tanjung Manis as Halal food Hub,[157] and Mukah as administrative centre for SCORE with focus on resource-based research and development.[158]


French Gypsy band performing during Rainforest World Music Festival (RWMF) 2006.

Tourism plays a major role in the economy of the state. Sarawak Tourism Board is responsible for tourism promotion in the state under the purview of Sarawak Ministry of Tourism. Meanwhile, private tourism sector are united under Sarawak Tourism Federation. Sarawak Convention Bureau is responsible for attracting conventions, conferences, corporate events to be held in Borneo Convention Centre Kuching.[159] Number of tourists visiting Sarawak has been steadily rising from 3.3 million (2010) to 4.8 million tourists (2014), both international and domestic, contributing to 17% of state GDP, amounting to RM 10.6 billion. Most of the foreign visitors come from Brunei, Indonesia, Philippines, Singapore, and China.[160] The Sarawak Hornbill Tourism Award is held every two years to recognise the best in the tourism sector of the state.[161] Rainforest World Music Festival (RWMF) is the region's premier "world music" event, attracting more than 20,000 music fans yearly.[162] Other events that are held regularly in Sarawak are: ASEAN International Film Festival, Asia Music Festival, Borneo Jazz Festival, Borneo Cultural Festival, and Borneo International Kite Festival. There are also a number of medical tourists coming from Indonesia seeking quality healthcare at Normah Medical Specialist Centre, Kuching.[159] Sarawak capital of Kuching has been mentioned as one of the retirement destinations in Malaysia.[163][164][165]

Sarawak Tourist Arrival Statistics[160]
Key Tourism Indicators 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014
Foreign Arrivals (millions) 1.897 2.343 2.635 2.665 2.996
Domestic Arrivals (West Malaysia & Sabah) (millions) 1.373 1.452 1.434 1.707 1.862
Total Arrivals (millions) 3.271 3.795 4.069 4.372 4.858
Total Tourism Receipts, billions (RM) 6.618 7.914 8.573 9.588 10.686


As of the 2010 census, the population of Sarawak was 2,471,140, making it the 4th most populous state in Malaysia.[3] However, due to the large area of Sarawak, it has the lowest population density in Malaysia, which stands at 20 people per km2. Average population growth rate per year from 2000 to 2010 was 1.8%.[3] In 2014, 58% of the population are staying in urban areas while 42% of the population are staying in rural areas.[166]

Ethnic groups in Sarawak[167]
Ethnic Percentage
Orang Ulu

Sarawak has more than 40 sub-ethnic groups, each with its own distinct language, culture and lifestyle. Cities and larger towns are populated predominantly by Malays, Melanaus, Chinese, and a smaller percentage of Ibans and Bidayuhs who have migrated from their home villages for employment opportunities.[168] Generally, Sarawak has six major ethnic groups: Iban, Chinese, Malay, Bidayuh, Melanau, and Orang Ulu.[168] Several minor ethnic groups include: Kedayan, Javanese, Bugis, Murut, and Indian.[169] The term "Dayak" is commonly referred to the Iban people and the Bidayuh. The term is often used in nationalistic contexts.[170] In 2015, Malaysian federal government recognises the usage of the term in official forms.[171]


Main article: Iban people
A traditional Iban longhouse.

Sarawak has the highest number of Ibans in Borneo. The large majority of Ibans practise Christianity. The Ibans originally inhabited the areas around Rajang basin but following Brooke's military expeditions, they gradually moved into northern regions of Sarawak. Iban settlements are usually in the form of a longhouse. The longhouse was a defensive unit when headhunting was prevalent in the past but today it remains as a symbol of ritual well being among its households. In the past, the Ibans recognised status hierarchy such as "raja berani" (the rich and the brave), "orang mayuh" (ordinary people), and "ulun" (slaves). However, during the Brooke era, Iban society was restructured into formal offices such as "tuai rumah" (headman), "penghulu" (regional chief), and "temenggong" (paramount chief).[172] They still observe many of their traditional rituals and beliefs today such as Gawai Dayak (Harvest Festival) and Gawai Antu (festival of the dead).[173]


Main article: Malaysian Chinese
A Chinese paifang in Kuching.

The Chinese first came to Sarawak as traders and explorers in the 6th century. The Chinese population today consists of communities built from immigrants of the 19th and early 20th centuries during the Brooke era.[13] These migrants first worked as labourers inside gold mines at Bau, Sarawak. They organised themselves economically. The Sarawak Chinese belong to a wide range of dialect groups such as: Cantonese, Foochow, Hakka, Hokkien, Teochew, and Henghua (Putian people). They celebrate major cultural festivals such as Chinese New Year and the Hungry Ghost Festival. The Sarawak Chinese are predominantly Buddhists and Christians.[35] In Kuching, most of the Chinese settled near the Sarawak River which would later form Chinatown.[174] In 1901, Wong Nai Siong brought his clansmen to settle in Sibu, near the Rajang River.[175] The Chinese later went to work at coal mines and oil fields in Miri·[174] Sarawak Chinese has been influenced by Kuomintang and later Communist Party of China before subscribed to the ideology of Sarawak nationalism after the independence in 1963.[176]


Main article: Sarawak Malay
A Sarawak Malay traditional house.

They mostly populate the southern region and urban areas of Sarawak. Despite being Malays, Sarawak Malay has a distinct culture and language to that of other Malays in Peninsular Malaysia. They speak local variant of Bahasa Melayu Sarawak (or Sarawak Malay), and been classified as Bumiputera Sarawak in Sarawak Gazette.[177]


Main article: Melanau

The Melanaus have been thought to be amongst the original settlers of Sarawak.[178] They make up 6% of the population in Sarawak.[179]

Today most of the Melanaus community profess Islam and Christianity, though they still celebrate traditional animist festivals such as the annual Kaul festival.


Main article: Bidayuh

Concentrated mainly on the West end of Borneo, the Bidayuhs make up 8% of the population in Sarawak.[179]

The Bidayuhs speak a number of different but related dialects. Some Bidayuhs speak either English or Sarawak Malay as their main language. While some of them still practise traditional religions, the majority of modern-day Bidayuhs have adopted the Christian faith. Another ethnic associated to Bidayuh is Salako, classified as Bidayuh by the Malaysian government for political convenience.

Orang Ulu[edit]

Main article: Orang Ulu
A Kayan tribesman, playing the sapeh.

Orang Ulu is an ethnic group in Sarawak. The various Orang Ulu ethnics together make up roughly 6% of Sarawak's population. The phrase Orang Ulu means upriver people and is a term used to collectively describe the numerous tribes that live upriver in Sarawak's vast interior. Such groups include the major Kenyah and Kayan people, and the smaller neighbouring groups of the Kajang, Kejaman, Punan, Ukit, and Penan. Nowadays, the definition also includes the down-river tribes of the Lun Bawang, Lun Dayeh, "mean upriver" or "far upstream", Berawan, Saban as well as the plateau-dwelling Kelabits. Orang Ulu is a term coined officially by the government to identify several ethnics and sub-ethnics who live mostly at the upriver and uphill areas of Sarawak. Most of them live in the district of Baram, Miri, Belaga, Limbang, and Lawas.

A vast majority of the Orang Ulu tribe are Christians but traditional religions are still practised in some areas.

Some of the major tribes making up the Orang Ulu group include:


Other minority ethnic groups residing in Sarawak are the Kedayan ethnic groups and also the Punan Bah people (in fact is a collective of obscure and unaccounted ethnic communities grouped together as a single ethnic entity), and also non-Bumiputera ethnic groups, which are the Indian and Eurasian.

The Kedayan are an ethnic group residing in parts of Sarawak. The Kedayan language is spoken by more than 37,000 people in Sarawak, with most of the members of the Kedayan community residing in Lawas, Limbang, Miri, and Sibuti areas. Unlike its Peninsular counterpart, Sarawakians of Indian descent are small in number and have assimilated very well to the other communities. Eurasians continues to be the smallest among the minority ethnic groups in Sarawak, mostly due to assimilation and interracial marriages. The Punan Bah communities are usually located in areas that encompass the borders of Sarawak, Sabah, Brunei, and Indonesia. More studies need to be carried out about them, as they are one of the lesser known group in the state.


Religion in Sarawak – 2010 Census[180]
Religion Percent
Chinese Ethnic Religion
No religion

As of 2010 the population of Sarawak disregarding foreign immigrants is 44.0% Christian, 30.0% Muslim, 13.5% Buddhist, 6.0% Taoist or Chinese religion follower, 3.1% follower of other religions, and 2.6% non-religious.

Sarawak is the only state in Malaysia where Christians outnumber Muslims. Major Christian denominations in Sarawak are the Roman Catholics, Anglicans, Methodists, Borneo Evangelical Mission (BEM or Sidang Injil Borneo, S.I.B.), and Baptists. Many Sarawakian Christians are non-Malay Bumiputera, ranging from Iban, Bidayuh, Orang Ulu and Melanau. Islam is the second largest religion in Sarawak. Many Muslims are from Malay, Melanau, and Kedayan ethnic groups. Buddhism is the third largest, predominantly practised by Chinese Malaysians. Taoism and Chinese Folk Religion are together the fourth largest religious group, also represented by ethnic Chinese. Other minor religions in Sarawak are Baha'i, Hinduism, Sikhism, and animism. Many Dayaks especially the Ibans, continue to practice their ethnic religion, particularly with dual marriage rites and during the important harvest and ancestral festivals such as Gawai Dayak, Gawai Kenyalang and Gawai Antu. Other ethnics who have trace number of animism followers are Melanau and Bidayuh.


English was the sole official language of Sarawak from 1963 until 1974 because the first chief minister of Sarawak Stephen Kalong Ningkan opposed the usage of Malay language in Sarawak. In 1974, the new chief minister Abdul Rahman Ya'kub adopted Malay language and English as the two official languages of Sarawak.[181] He also changed medium of instruction in schools from English into Malay language.[182] There were radio broadcasts in the Iban language from 1954 until 1976. Borneo Literature Bureau existed from 1958 until 1977 which encouraged the documentation of local cultures, local authorships, and publications in English, Chinese, Malay, Iban and other local native languages. However, the Bureau was replaced with Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka (DBP) in 1977 which advocated publications only in Malay language.[181] Today, English language is being used in courts, state legislative assembly, and certain government functions in Sarawak.[183][184] On 18 November 2015, Sarawak Chief Minister Adenan Satem announced the state adoption of English as the official language of Sarawak, along with Malay. [185][186][187]

The Malay language, known as Bahasa Sarawak (or Sarawak Malay), is the main language among the Sarawak Malays and other indigenous tribes. Bahasa Sarawak has a different dialect when compared with Peninsular Malay languages. Besides, Iban language is also widely spoken among 34% of the population. Meanwhile, Bidayuh language is spoken by 10% of the Sarawak population with six major dialects. Orang Ulu has about 30 different language dialects. The Chinese generally uses Standard Chinese although they also uses many different dialects such as Hokkien, Hakka, Foochow, and Teochew.[188]

Places of interest[edit]

Pinnacles at Gunung Mulu National Park.

The Gunung Mulu National Park is home to one of the world's largest underground chamber, the Sarawak Chamber. Other key attractions include Deer Cave (world's largest cave passage) and Clearwater Cave (longest cave system in Southeast Asia).[citation needed] The massive caves here are home to millions of bats and cave swiftlets.[189]

Known as the 'Living Museum', the Sarawak Cultural Village was set up to preserve and showcase Sarawak's cultural heritage. Get introduced to local culture and lifestyle by the approximately 150 people living in the village through the demonstration of daily living. The village also has a theatre, where you can enjoy multicultural dance performances.[190]

Bako National Park is Sarawak's oldest park, established in 1957 and covers an area of 27 km2. Known for its extraordinary natural scenery, habitats, plants and wild life, it is also the home to approximately 275 rare proboscis monkeys, found only in Borneo.[191]

The Gunung Gading National Park is the home to the spectacular Rafflesia, the largest flower in the world that can grow up to one metre in diameter. Originally a closed conservation zone, the park opened to the public in 1994 while being closely watched by the National Parks Department.[192]

The Matang Wildlife Centre is a large enclosed area of rainforest and home to endangered wildlife with a training programme to teach Orang Utans, who have been orphaned or rescued from captivity, how to survive in the wild. There are also Sun Bears, Sambar Deer, Civet cats as well as three large aviaries that house Sea Eagles, Hornbills and other birds.[193]

The Niah National Park covers a vast swathe of 3,140 hectares of peat swamp, dipterocarp forests, as well as the massive limestone outcroppings within which the giant Niah caves are concealed. In 1958, archaeologists discovered evidence of human occupation of the caves dating back some 40,000 years.[194]

Similajau National Park was gazetted in 1978, and covers 7,064 hectares of virgin coastal forest, starting from Sungai Likau in the south to Similajau River in the north. It is abundant in flora and fauna with 24 recorded species of mammals, such as gibbons, banded langurs and long-tailed macaques, and 230 species of birds, which include hornbills and migratory water birds like Storms Stork.[195]

The main attraction of the Lambir Hills National Park is its beautiful waterfalls, which are the Latak Waterfall, Pantu Waterfall, Nibong Waterfall, Pancur Waterfall, Tengkorong Waterfall and Dinding Waterfall. There are around 1,173 tree species in the park alone, with 286 genera and 81 tree families. Wild animals can also be found in the deeper parts of the park, especially monkeys, sun bear, pangolin and bats.[196]

The Kuching Cat Museum hosts 2000 exhibits, artefacts, statues about cats from all over the world. It is owned by the Kuching North City Hall (DBKU).[197]

See also[edit]


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  27. ^ Trudy, Ring; Noelle, Watson; Paul, Schellinger (12 November 2012). Asia and Oceania: International Dictionary of Historic Places. SEAP Publications. p. 497. ISBN 9780877277125. Retrieved 29 October 2015. The sultan of Brunei also had nominal control of the region, but he was interested in exacting a minor tax from the region. However, he interest grew when antimony (an element used in alloys and medicine) was discovered in the area in approximately 1824. Pangeran Mahkota, a Brunei prince, moved to Sarawak in early ninteenth century and developed Kuching between 1824 and 1830. ... As antimony mining increased, the Brunie Sultanate demanded higher taxes from Sarawak. This highly unpopular move led to civil unrest, which culminated in a revolt. 
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Further reading[edit]

  • James Chin, (2014) Federal-East Malaysia Relations: Primus-Inter-Pares?, in Andrew Harding and James Chin (2014) 50 Years of Malaysia: Federalism Revisited (Singapore: Marshall Cavendish) pp. 152–185
  • James Chin, “Forced to the periphery: Recent Chinese politics in East Malaysia” in Leo Suryadinata & Lee Hock Guan (ed) Malaysian Chinese: Recent Developments and Prospects (Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asia Studies, 2012) pp. 109–124
  • Gudgeon, L. W. W. (1913), British North Borneo. London, Adam and Charles Black.
  • Runciman, Steven (1960). The White Rajahs: A History of Sarawak from 1841 to 1946, Cambridge University Press.
  • Chin, Ung Ho (1997), Chinese Politics in Sarawak: A Study of the Sarawak United People's Party (SUPP), (Kuala Lumpur, New York: Oxford University Press, 1997) (ISBN 983-56-0039-2).
  • Barley, Nigel (2002), White Rajah, London, Brown Little/Abacus.
  • Cramb, R. A. (2007), Land and Longhouse: Agrarian Transformation in the Uplands of Sarawak, Hawaii University Press
  • Julitta Lim Shau Hua: „Pussy's in the well“ : Japanese occupation of Sarawak, 1941–1945. Research and Resource Centre SUPP Headquarters, Kuching 2006, ISBN 983-41998-2-1
  • Brooke, Sylvia (The last Ranee of Sarawak), (1970), Queen of the Headhunters. William Morrow Co.
  • Palmer, Gladys, (1929) Relations & Complications. Being the Recollections of H.H. The Dayang Muda of Sarawak. Foreword by T.P. O'Connor. Ghost-written by Kay Boyle. London, John Lane Co.
  • Urmenyhazi, Attila - DISCOVERING NORTH BORNEO a short travelogue on Sarawak & Sabah by the author (2007). National Library of Australia, Canberra, record ID: 4272798. Call Number: NLp 915 953 U77.
  • James Chin. “The More Things Change, The More They Remain The Same”, in Chin Kin Wah & D. Singh (eds.) South East Asian Affairs 2004 (Singapore: Institute of South East Asian Studies, 2004)
  • James Chin. “Autonomy: Politics in Sarawak” in Bridget Welsh (ed) Reflections: The Mahathir Years, (Washington DC: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2004) (ISBN 9790615 124871) pp 240–251
  • Straumann, Lukas (2014) "Money Logging: On the Trail of the Asian Timber Mafia" Basel, Bergli Books

External links[edit]