Sarawak Malay

The Malays make up 21% of the population in Sarawak. More than half of Sarawak Malays live in the Kuching division, though they can be found in all the major townships in Sarawak. In fact, many who regard themselves as Malay are people of other ethnic groups who got into contact with the Malay settlers and eventually adopted their culture and religion. The ethnic Malay of Sarawak is pretty much similar to its counterpart in the Peninsula of Malaysia with the exception of some local dialects commonly associated in Sarawak. They are commonly known to be politicians and businessmen with strategic influences all over the state. Malay villages, known as Kampungs, are a cluster of wooden houses on stilts, many of which are still located by rivers on the outskirts of major towns and cities, play home to traditional cottage industries. The Malays are famed for their wood carvings, silver and brass crafting as well as traditional Malay textile weaving with silver and gold thread (kain songket).Malays are Muslim by religion, having been converted to the faith some 600 years ago with the Islamification of the native region. Their religion is reflected in their culture and art and Islamic symbolism is evident in local architecture from homes to government buildings. The Malay house is a beautiful structure well suited for the tropical climate. The traditional village house is built entirely of wood and roofed with wood shingles. The Malay house is emblazoned with carvings and fretwork above the windows, on banisters and railings. The basic construction is accomplished through community labour, called gotong royong, while skilled craftsmen are employed to do the embellishments