Reason For Sarawak’s Slow Development

Miri, Sarawak’s second largest town was recently conferred the city status on the 20th May in a milestone event that definitely deserves a place in the history books.

Miri’s own Sith lord… Darth Seahorse!

Whilst many people probably couldn’t care less about the elevation of Miri from town to city, I reckon its an achievement that I as a Sarawakian can and should be proud of. Those who’ve played Simcity before would know how cool it is to watch the sleepy little farming town you built turn into a small city, a big city, then a metropolis and finally a megalopolis.
The addition of Miri city means that Sarawak now officially has three cities. That’s three times more than any other states in Malaysia. In other words, our balls are three times bigger than the rest of Malaysia.

That’s the reason why we export Sarawakian white pepper – to remind you how smalls your balls really are.

I’m just kidding of course. πŸ˜‰ Please activate your sense of humour lah. I admit we kinda cheated by splitting Kuching into North and South cities. Heh, but still.
I like the fact that Sarawak is always distinctively unique compared to the rest of Malaysia. Of course, every state in Malaysia is special in its own right, but from my experiences living in the Australian melting pot, the Sarawakians in general come across as being friendlier, thriftier, more hardworking, more independent and adaptive.
*cough* But I’m just blowing my own horn. πŸ˜‰

Satok Markets – Kuching’s version of Petaling Street.
Despite the apparent growth having three cities, Sarawak is still lacking severely in the facilities, infrastructure and research & development opportunities that the West Malaysians seem to enjoy. So why is Sarawak growing so slowly compared to KL, Johor or Penang?
I’m not alone in thinking that Sarawak is often ignored as Malaysia grows rapidly. To date, a lot of emphasis on development was placed on West Malaysia that the rest of Malaysia sometimes suffer as a result. There’s a lot of potential for Sarawak to grow, but it cannot grow if Federal insists on looking West and not East, which unfortunately is the case.
Anyway, I was thinking the reasons for Sarawak’s apparent slow growth, until yesterday while driving down the road, like a sign from above, I found my answer when I encountered this road sign.


“Ehh…. let’s…… go….. to….. work…… liaw……!”

Note to construction companies: Dammit, stop hiring bloody retards to build your buildings!

53 Replies to “Reason For Sarawak’s Slow Development”

  1. That signboard just had me roaring out loud, man…
    on city status upgrade, Alok Setak is still the same old drain-clogged, often too hot due to too few trees in town, and sometimes smelly place that I used to know… new status, old habits lah…

  2. LOL this is a typical funny signboard type that should be in forwarded emails:) maybe one day you’ll be made minister of Sarawak, Kenny, then you can nurture sarawak to be as ‘happening’ as west malaysia. πŸ™‚

  3. LOLz… The sign definitely cracked me up… I agree Kuching needs improvements and I’m sure it’s on the way… Though not as fast as Miri. We’ll see how the airport turns out… ^_^

  4. *laughs*
    Can’t believe they have signs like that in Malaysia. Like you said, no wonder Miri’s growing up abit slow. We should all go and straighten them all up abit. I wonder what would happen if the sign said, “Fast Men At Work” instead of slow. >_>

  5. coconut-balls-kenny,
    i noticed that in ur recent entries, they always seem to include your balls. why ar? are u afraid no one knows that u have extremely huge balls or do u wan nata-de-coco-balls kenie to envy you? *LOL!* its okay kenny. we love you no matter how big or small your balls are!

  6. Hi again Kenny.
    Hope everything is well, even with the ‘slow’ness of development in Sarawak.
    Da*n it. I LOVE Sarawak. My short stay in Kuching did prove what you said, ‘the Sarawakians in general come across as being friendlier, thriftier more hardworking, more independent and adaptive’.
    But the best part of it all, Sarawak-ian are the most universal racially, very tolerant!
    On development, I do sincerely hope that the development in Sarawak would not follow the trend in peninsular, that is without the interest of the main citizen at heart. Please do develop for the purpose of the people of Sarawak and not for the sake of development per se.
    Go Sarawak. Maybe, I’ll be a migrant there, one day. Hope they will accept my with open arms, especially Kenny, πŸ™‚

  7. development come at a cost also. to develope mean your cost of living will be higher. no I’m not condeming development in sarawak.
    SLOW MEN AT WORK. just really funny la kenny.never realize it before.

  8. *quote*
    Those who’ve played Simcity before would know how cool it is to watch the sleepy little farming town you built turn into a small city, a big city, then a metropolis and finally a megalopolis.
    *end quote*
    Yeah, the feeling is tremendous. Especially when your town has 5 main bustling city centres.
    Btw, the sign at the end of the post cracked me up :P. Negeri Sembilan too has been developing very slowly. Considering it’s so near to KL and all, the develpoment could have been more rapid. But the recent change in management has seen things speed up a bit. Let’s hope things stay that way πŸ™‚

  9. I’ve never been to East Malaysia before but I’ll most probably be making a trip there with my family either July or August.
    But I must agree with u..East Malaysians are very much friendlier than West Malaysians. (I’m from JB). I’ve never had any Sabah or Sarawak friends until I went to college, and really..they are very very friendly. Even the ones studying here in UK with me too are friendly.
    Is it the Sarawak pepper that they eat or the time? Or is the Kinabalu Mountain air that make them so nice?
    BTW…the sign really made me laugh out loud! πŸ™‚

  10. SARAWAK kick ars lah…….u think driving frm JB to Peneng is something…try Kuching to Kapit..and uv already had enought …..

  11. I’m in one way, really glad that miri turns into a city. It’s a place i live in and can be proud of. It definitely sounds better when I say I live in a city…
    Ideally, that would be all to it to my feelings. But really, how deserving is it for miri to become a city?
    We lack the population for one thing. We lack the infrastructure too and many other things people can judge for themselves.
    There are rumours that the government is making Miri a city for higher taxes, higher prices in shopping and convenience goods. It is really not all that grand to me.
    Each to his own, I guess.

  12. Yea…Miri to the Resort City status! I’m proud to be part of Mirian! HAHA! The event on 19 & 20 May 2005 was really great!!

  13. Sarawak is the best place to live!! Free from pollutions… lolx at least Sarawak looks more greener than other states in Malaysia. Which is good for our eyes too.

  14. Haha, how about driving from Miri to Kuching during the 90s? Yeah, I tried that before, man, those are some bitter sweet experiences I had. Damn…

  15. A rather wealthy Wall Street trader by the name of Karl who made his fortune over the past twenty years out of the stock market. Still single at the age of 42, an area he really hasnÒ€ℒt got time to invest in, being extremely busy in the stressful dog-eat-dog financial world. He lives on the 3rd floor of an apartment building, half an hour walk from Central park, the only place he could jog, the only place with decent amount of green and mostly to get some fresh air, however little still remains here. He would rather own an apartment right in the Trump Tower, directly across the park, but with his millions, he still has way to go. In one of the rare occasion in the middle of freezing winter, he decided to spend some time in Bahamas. Why not? He has been slogging away all this while and certainly has earned a vacation if nothing else.
    The island is breathtaking, not only the air is fresh and clean, there is more tree and vegetation he had ever seen and experienced for his entire 42 years of existence combined. The water is so blue and so transparent, you can literally touch those fish below. One morning while taking an early morning walk along the beach, he met this old man with sun-baked brown skin, a local fisherman who has never heard of New York, much less Central Park. Below is their little conversation:
    Karl: *Thinking for himself since a long while ago*
    Ò€œEverything is so fresh, so clean and so unpolluted here, this is heaven on earth and
    is without a doubt, the place to be in retirement. What about you, my friend?Ò€
    Fisherman: I am already here.
    Karl: Ò€œThat would be the end of being trapped in a jungle of concrete and when I feel like
    it, I take the little boat like yours and catch some fish for dinner.
    Fisherman: I am already doing this for the past 60 years.
    I personally prefer Sarawak to remain green and clean, qualities we still have today. It is still an agricultural place where the Sarawakian gold is the little ball Kenny allured to. If you donÒ€ℒt think agriculture and being organically clean havenÒ€ℒt got the potential while everywhere else is moving towards “development”, just think about how much you paid for that bottle of water the last time. China can have and will have all the factories and Thailand can have all the bed-sheet folding industries and all those vices that go with it. There will still be some hotels so that my Singaporean relatives can drop by once in a while. Sarawak does produce a lot of LNG towards heating the stove around Asia and what is needed is to ask for fairness and just; the revenue we generated, legitimately ours, be our keep in Sarawak. We are happy to be able to help out development in other parts of the country but much of it has to stay for the benefits and interests of Sarawakian. Now, does Taib has the balls for it?

  16. “SARAWAK kick ars lah…….u think driving frm JB to Peneng is something…try Kuching to Kapit..and uv already had enought …..”
    Gambs, I agree with you… roads in the East are in very bad condition… (I’m from Sabah) Try driving on the “so-called’ highways linking Kota Kinabalu with towns like Kudat, Sandakan, Tawau, and Lahad Datu. Dont ever try driving on that road if you dont have a 4WD.
    I’m kindda sick of the government for the imbalanced developments in m’sia… WTH… they chop all the trees in Sabah… n take all the profit… but what do the Sabahans get? some stupid benefit that they r going to take away bit by bit?

  17. Hey dude, Sarawak White pepper is sold at US$16 per 10 Oz bottle in the Gourmet cookware store ,William Sonoma. Wait a sec, they are not only slow, they don’t even show up….should they be working within close proximity of the sign ?

  18. all our logging and agriculture money flows to West Msia. hmm.. sometimes i think without us they would not survive =)
    ppl owis make fun of that sign!

  19. Digressing…
    (But for that matter… I miss Petaling Street a lil’ more… no offense meant… but I did spend like almost all my life in PJ/KL… 8-P)
    Every now and then when I view your blog, Kenny, there’s bound to be a picture of Kuching or its surrounding areas that tugs at my heart strings…

  20. Maybe one reason for Sarawak to be “behind” the West in development is Sarawak’s immigration policy. Not allowing other Malaysians to reside and work in Sarawak would be a constraint on Sarawak’s human capital. I don’t see any plan by Sarawak’s Govt on how to bring Sarawak to be on par with say Selangor etc (within a stated timeframe).
    On the other hand, if Sarawak gets developed like Selangor, then a lot of the beauty of Sarawak would be lost…

  21. Kenny… come u get to find these funny signs wan? Maybe you can send it to Rove Live for the What the..segment. That’s if it’s not limited to just Aussies la..

  22. Lrong, no offence but I read that when Alor Setar was conferred city status by the Agong, other states were not happy because they felt that it has not yet deserve it. I guess being named a city is one thing, but what to do with it is another thing.
    Jayelle, I know. I was laughing to myself in the car when I saw that sign. πŸ™‚
    annabella, yea Miri kinda benefited considering both the Chief and Deputy Chief ministers are Mirians.
    Lyon, I can’t believe they made that sign without realising their mistake! Heh heh.
    Cicak, waddya mean ‘in my recent entries’, I’ve been boasting my balls since the dawn of time! Actually no I’m not boasting. Merely stating the fact. πŸ˜‰
    NSDS3, heh. I might just do that. The sign is on or around Jalan Song coming from the airport.
    mamatd, Sarawakians are not without its racial issues in the past, especially during the White Rajah (Brooke) era where the indigenous dayaks are often warring against the gold-mining Chinese immigrants. I’m lucky that growing up in my era, racism never was a major issue. Cross marriage between the Chinese and Dayaks is very common. I guess we all live under the same philoshopy that if you’re nice to me then I’ll be nice to you.
    Annie, unfortunately, yes. πŸ™‚
    fred + banana, I don’t mind development. Considering Sarawak’s large land area, it is possible for cities like Kuching and Miri to grow whilst preserving still its greenery. Perth is a perfect example of that. The air is clean yet there are plenty of opportunities for technology graduates to work there and bring income to city. A higher cost of living is one thing, but it could also mean higher income, better jobs, better opportunities, stronger purchasing power and a better lifestyle overall. Nearby towns like Serian, Bau or even *cough* Damai can be moulded into country towns catering for the city folks escape from the hustling bustling city life. With good planning, Kuching can achieve that without losing all its charm and turn into a traffic-jam-infested city with nothing but pollution. Like you, I would hate for Kuching to turn into a KL-clone.
    curious george, Sarawakian pepper is hot like the Sarawakian men. πŸ˜‰
    BawangMerah, I know. Its like KL has got all the nice things and Malaysians from all corners of the countries would have to move to KL if they want to enjoy the quality of living and the lifestyle there. To give credit where credit is due, Kuala Lumpur isn’t doing so bad for a place named after a puddle of mud.
    Cherry, its people like Kenny that made them so nice. πŸ™‚
    Gambs, I had enough just driving from Kuching to Bau. Or even ‘Green Mountain’ (Chay Suah) for that matter.
    IngHui! I actually thought Miri deserves to be a city. Its starting to sound like a better place to live compared to Kuching. Miri might not have Kuching’s population but Mirians benefit financially from the Bruneians close by, just as JB people benefits from the Singaporeans. I thought Mirians in general are richer than Kuchingnites and are more capable of spending more on quality goods compared to Kuchingnites. But that could also means Mirians don’t know how to budget lah. Its one of those things lah. Heh.
    coey, glad you enjoyed it. I can’t flip through the newspaper that day WITHOUT SEEING TAIB’S FACE ON EVERY SINGLE PAGE!
    Elizabeth, the air in Sarawak is better than KL but its not entirely without air pollution. There’s nothing I hate more than lousy old cars that farts out thick black smoke. In other countries, that’s illegal. In Malaysia, the police just couldn’t care less.
    CED, I cannot imagine. Thank god for AirAsia. πŸ™‚
    SER, some onus have to be placed on East Malaysians too I reckon. The fact that we import a lot from the West and don’t export much to the West means that we’re not helping ourselves.
    sushi, *yum!*
    e, hahaha! Good eyesight! They probably think sleeping is part of working too! heh heh.
    Chrissie, I wouldn’t make fun of it if it reads ‘SLOW. Men at Work.’ I tell you its THEIR fault!
    maggie, awwww… that’s entirely my intention. πŸ˜‰ heh heh.
    Kher Ying, I find a lot of these funny signs because there’s a lot of funny little people in Kuching. πŸ™‚ Man, we’re weird ppl.
    Dear moon, travelling to Singapore for holidays is almost a yearly exercise for me. There’s no reason other than the fact I like Singapore a lot.

  23. oh my, you’re getting better and better with each post. haha, i will always remember this. that i saw this on first. haha

  24. oh but i had seen this sign before… some roads but forgot which. think it had also appear in the star paper under that english section.

  25. hi kenny
    have been reading your entries for awhile – your jokes never fail to crack me up! hope you and your family are well.
    this entry rocks – i was brought up in penang n s’pore, but my parents are born/bred in miri (we go back every couple of years, the most recent was last year for my sister’s wedding), n i must confess that i only started to really appreciate the city in the last 5-10 years.
    i reckon that getting city status is a good thing – i just hope that miri remains miri n not try to be “uniquely” something else, if you catch my drift.
    shin in singapore

  26. you know why matang road is taking so damn long? i promise, the sign says: MAN AT WORK.
    no wonder la.

  27. I study in KL. But my hometown is Kuching.i’ve the best of both worlds then. I absolutely do not want Kuching to become KL but seriously, a little bit more life in Kuching would be much appreciated!

  28. I study in KL. But my hometown is Kuching.i’ve the best of both worlds then. I absolutely do not want Kuching to become KL but seriously, a little bit more life in Kuching would be much appreciated!

  29. Good to find a dedicated blog site from S’wak.Pple from Pen Malaysia and Singapore should pay Kuching (with Airasia and Silkair)and Miri or renowned Mulu cave a visit.Definitely Swak can be your eye-opener esp the people, colour,lifestlye and multi ethnic culture of the native pple.I thou’ the WORLD RAINFOREST MUSIC FESTIVAL is going to be held in July.maybe kenny should report some happening for the event.
    BTW few years back Kuching was voted top ten city to live in in Asia by ASIAWEEK.But need to keep the pace and not to be complacent as Miri is catching up fast .

  30. hey,i said to delete the second copy of the same post la. not EVERYTHG! jesus. and u said u understand english. πŸ˜›

  31. If anyone had been to most part of Malaysia, you would find Sarawak as one of the most developed state. Why is it so?
    Apart from KL, Penang, JB, you could realize that most of the state capitals in Western Malaysia are incomparable to Miri / Sibu. Thus, Sarawak will never be ranked the least developed state, majorly with logging, natural gas, oil industry constituting one of the country’s greatest state GDP.
    To most shallow-minded western malaysians who thought Sarawak as an ulu place but have never been there before, please look at your own state’s development as an overall (excluding Selangor). Not mentioning other smaller towns, is your state capital presentable enough?

  32. Heee….
    Funny entry man…
    I’m proud to be a true to the soil Sarawakian, moreover proud to be a Mirian since the last 25 years. I love Sarawak!!
    Haa… Coming back to Sarawak at last…

  33. damn, swak got so much resources, den get pump by mahathir to sell via petronas n etc, and how much we get? HOW MUCH WE GET???
    GPD contribute so much also no use lar, d oil ah, should pump a bit xport ourself…
    So much oil n gas also no use, y stil diesel crisis… sia soi nia

  34. Miri, a city; great. but has anyone really noticed how much the crime rate has gone up? cafe talk,” most of the ‘gangs’ from sibu n kuching(not the only places though) have just added to Miri’s own ‘gangs’. More ppl getting robbed n assaulted with parangs n sh*t. While d population is encouraged to rise as well as businesses, Miri’s police force hasnt increased much. Squatters moved to tiny boxes all centralised and without considering their ‘sekampong’ character. Soon, it’ll be like ‘Kerinchi’!! I love Miri but if one development is expected, it should also include social dvlpment n never forgetting what makes Miri, Miri.

  35. i like Kuching as it is….no heavy traffic, no SIAL punya driver…who only know how to use the horn and not the signal…, the greenery, the people…i do wish Sarawak would someday developed like West Msia, but then again,after being in KL nearly 7 years now…i don’t want Sarawak especially Kuching to be like any state in WM. i just hate it when i came back to Kch for semester break, i found out the traffic conditions there is quite like in KL.
    Development is ok, but if it is well planed…and give good impacts to all Sarawakian ppl. But if it gonna turn up like in WM or like KL….don’t la….I like Sarawak the way it is. If Dunedine in NZ is like a retirement place for the NZ…to me…Swak is also like that…a place where u can relax, breath fresh air, not to bother installing filter to the pipes (to get clear and rusted free water), less worry bout crime rates and accidents during festive or non-festive seasons, etc.

  36. I guess you can say that Sarawak’s developement rate is rather slow considering that 80% of Sarawak’s income is sent over to the West. Wonder what happened to Dr. M’s dasar pandang ke Timur…

  37. Hah…Ha..that’s is so true. But I guess…with the recent push by the state government to venture into oil palm…hopefully we will see growth in the economy. But I have to say…the traffic in Kuching and Miri is slowly getting worst.

  38. im not quite sure so pls correct me if im wrong.
    sarawak has a capital city – kuching;
    and also the 2nd city (recently declared) – miri;
    where got 3???

  39. its Taik Mahmud i say… blood-sucking leech of a prick. if you do meet him, ask him how much money has he sucked out of Sarawak into his own pockets.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *