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Sarawak - Malaysia

Sarawak is the largest state in Malaysia, an outback of sheer beauty rich in resources such as pepper, cocoa, palm oil, timber and oil. With an area of 124,450 sq. km, it is a region of endless fascination, possessing the largest cave chamber in the world, verdant jungles, unique fauna and flora, white beaches, and remote islands. Its population of 1.5 million people is as rich and varied as the land.


Under the Brunei Sultanate in the 16th century, Sarawak was divided into districts governed by Pangerans, representatives of the Sultan. Dissatisfaction with the tax system and administration resulted in an insurgency in the 17th century. Sarawak's history as an independent entity begins with a remarkable story. In 1839, when Sarawak was rebelling against the Brunei Sultanate, the Sultan of Brunei had to enlist the help of Pangeran Muda Hashim who in turn sought the assistance of an English adventurer named James Brooke.

Following James Brooke's success in thwarting the insurgency, he was appointed the Governor of Sarawak on 24th September 1841. He became Sarawak's first "White Rajah" from 1846 to 1868 when Sarawak gained independence from Brunei. A British-style administration was introduced and local chieftains were appointed as his advisers.

Charles Brooke, who succeeded James Brooke in 1868 divided Sarawak into five divisions. Sarawak came under British rule and a British adviser was appointed in 1888.

In 1917, Charles Vyner Brooke succeeded Charles Brooke. The implementation of a written constitution drawn up in 1941 was precluded by the Japanese invasion in the same year.

With the Japanese surrender at the end of World War II, Sarawak was placed under the British Military Administration till 1946 when it became a British Crown Colony. Sir Charles Arden was appointed as the first British Governor.

The formation of the Federation of Malaysia comprising the Malay Federated States, Singapore, Sabah, Sarawak and Brunei was proposed in 1961. Initially, this was met with resistance from the political leaders of Sarawak. Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra al-haj led missions to Sabah and Sarawak to detail the proposal and assure the leaders as well as the people. The leaders of Sarawak were also invited to join the Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference in Singapore. Subsequent to this, The Cobbold Commission was set up to seek the views of the people regarding the proposal.

The findings revealed that 70% favoured the formation of Malaysia. This prompted Britain to announce the formation of Malaysia on 31st August 1963 in spite of strong opposition from Indonesia and the Philippines. Due to the opposition, another inquiry was commissioned. The second inquiry also reported that the people generally favoured the formation of Malaysia. This led to the official declaration of the formation of Malaysia on 16th September 1963. Sarawak has been a part of Malaysia ever since.



Red symbolises the courage, confidence and sacrifices of the people in their efforts to achieve and maintain progress in the state. Yellow represents the supremacy of the law and the unity found amongst Sarawak's diverse races. Black denotes the abundant natural resources of Sarawak: petroleum and timber. The yellow nine-pointed star represents the nine divisions and the aspirations of the people to improve their quality of life.

A Kenyalang (Hornbill) represents the State emblem. The 13 secondary feathers on its wings and tail represent the 13 states of Malaysia. The hibiscus, which is the national flower, is found below the wings and the State motto is 'Bersatu, Berusaha, Berbakti' (United, Industrious, Loyalty). On the bird's chest is a shield with the state colours: black, red and yellow.



Kuching, the capital of Sarawak, has warm and friendly people. Kuching has not lost its old-world charm; nestled among its modern multi-storey buildings are colonial structures and buildings as well as colourful Malay and Chinese traditional shophouses.


Fort Margherita

Fort Margherita is situated within walking distance from the Astana in Kuching and is now the Sarawak Police Museum. Built in 1878, it was named after Rajah Charles Brooke's wife and is regarded as a symbol of love.

Mulu National Park

Situated at Gunung Mulu in the heart of the Miri district, the limestone caves in Mulu National Park are among the largest in the world. Deer Cave, home to thousands of bats, is the world's largest cave passage; it has a height of 120 meteres and spans over 1 kilometre in length. The Sarawak Chamber, which has a length of 600 metres and a height of 100 metres, is regarded as the largest cave chamber in the world.

Sarawak Cultural Village, Santubong

Situated about 32 km from Kuching, the Sarawak Cultural Village is located at the foot of Mount Santubong. Visitors will see a display of replicas of houses belonging to the various ethnic groups found in Sarawak.

Sarawak Museum

Built in 1891, the Sarawak Museum is regarded as one of the finest museums in Southeast Asia. It houses extensive collections of Borneo's archaeological finds and artifacts.


Area : 124,449 square km
State Capital : Kuching
Administrative Divisions : 28
Namely:- Bau, Belaga, Betong, Bintulu, Dalat, Daro,
Julau, Kanowit, Kapit, Kuching, Lawas, Limbang,
Lubok Antu, Lundu, Maradong, Marudi, Matu, Miri,
Mukah, Samarahan, Saratok, Sarikei, Serian, Sibu,
Simunjan, Song, Sri Aman, Tatau


: 2,012,616 (2000)

Breakdown of Races (1997)

Other Bumiputeras


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