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Because of its natural resources, Sarawak specialises in the export of oil and gas, timber and oil palms, but also possesses strong manufacturing, energy and tourism sectors.
It is ethnically, culturally, and linguistically diverse; major ethnic groups including Iban, Malay, Chinese, Melanau, Bidayuh and Orang Ulu.
The Brooke family generally practised a paternalistic form of government with minimal bureaucracy, but were pressured to establish some form of legal framework.
Since they were unfamiliar with local customs, the Brooke government created an advisory Supreme Council, mostly consisting of Malay chiefs, to provide guidance.
The largest among the 13 states, with an area almost equal to that of Peninsular Malaysia, Sarawak is located in northwest Borneo Island, and is bordered by the Malaysian state of Sabah to the northeast, Kalimantan (the Indonesian portion of Borneo) to the south, and Brunei in the north.
The capital city, Kuching, is the largest city in Sarawak, the economic centre of the state, and the seat of the Sarawak state government.
The discovery of antimony ore in the Kuching region led Pangeran Indera Mahkota, a representative of the Sultan of Brunei, to increase development in the territory between 18.