From pristine underwater marine life and untouched coral reefs to rich heritage and from wilderness to modern city landscape, Sarawak is a potpourri of experiences appreciated by travellers from all over the world. Head into Sarawak’s interiors and your heartbeat will flutter at the fascinating and enchanting dances of the multi-ethnic tribes living harmoniously with each other.
Indeed, Sarawak is home to 28 ethnic groups; each with its own distinct language, culture and lifestyle. The Ibans form the major ethnic group on this land with about 30.1 per cent of the total population for the year 2000 census. The Chinese who generally live in the cities are the second largest group at 26.7 per cent, followed by the Bidayuh, Melanau and other native tribes of Sarawak. The Malays also constitute a large portion (23 per cent) of the population as well, mainly concentrated along the coast.
Sarawakians practise a variety of religions, including Islam, Christianity, Chinese folk religion (a fusion of Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism and ancestor worship), Baha’i and animism. Many converts to Christianity among the Dayak people also continue to practice traditional ceremonies, particularly with dual marriage rites and during the important harvest and ancestral festivals such as Gawai Dayak and Gawai Antu.
Sarawak is situated on the island of Borneo, and is one of the two states that make up East Malaysia. Sarawak and Sabah are separated from West Malaysia (Peninsula Malaysia) by the South China Sea about 600 km away. With an area of 124,449.51 square km, Sarawak is the largest state in Malaysia, making up some 37.5 per cent of the country’s total area.
The State is bounded on the north and northwest by the South China Sea, the northeast by Sabah and Brunei Darussalam, which forms a double enclave, and the south by Kalimantan, Indonesia. Sarawak can be classified into three terrain groups: the alluvial coastal plain, the mountainous interior and the central undulating belt. Sarawak’s highest point is Gunung Murut (2,434 m). Malaysia’s longest river, the Batang Rajang, glides through the State.
Climate / Weather
On the whole, Sarawak has an equatorial climate. The temperature is relatively uniform within the range of 23°C to 32°C throughout the year. During the months of March to September, the weather is generally dry and warm.
Humidity is consistently high on the lowlands ranging from 85 per cent to 95 per cent per annum. The average rainfall per year is between 3,300 mm and 4,600 mm, depending on locality, and the wettest months are from November to February.
The economic activity of Sarawak is mostly dominated by mining, agriculture and forestry sectors. Other sectors like manufacturing, wholesale, retail trading and construction also contributed to the State’s income.
The primary sectors (i.e., mining, agriculture, and forestry) make up about 40 per cent of the state’s total real Gross Domestic Product (GDP), followed by the secondary sector (i.e., manufacturing and construction) with about slightly more than 30 per cent of total real GDP.
Sarawak is blessed with an abundance of natural resources. LNG and petroleum have provided the mainstay of the state’s economy for decades. Sarawak is also one of the world’s largest exporters of tropical hardwood timber. However, the state government has imposed strict log-production quotas over the recent years to ensure sustainable forestry management. Sarawak still, however, produces approximately 9 to 10 million cubic metres of logs annually.
With such vast land expanse, Sarawak has large tracts of land suitable for commercial agricultural development. Approximately 32 per cent or about 4.0 million hectares of the state’s total land area have been identified as suitable agricultural land. Nevertheless, less than 9 per cent of this is planted with productive permanent crops, while the balance is still under shifting cultivation for hill paddy (rice) that is estimated at more than 1.6 million hectares.
The main commercial crops are oil palm, which has been increasing steadily over the years as well as sago, and pepper. Since the 1980s, Sarawak has started to diversify and transform its economy into a more industrialised one. This endeavour has been seeing continuing success, with manufacturing and hi-tech industries now playing a significant role in shaping the economic expansion of the state.
Source from: http://www.sarawaktourism.com