KUCHING: The Malays have overtaken the Chinese as the second largest ethnic group in Sarawak.
According to the latest statistics from the state’s statistics department, the population of the Malays as at the third quarter of last year was 599,600, whereas the figure for the Chinese stood at 596,100.
The Malays’ population actually surpassed that of the Chinese for the first time in the first quarter of last year by 5,000 individuals.
In the first quarter of 2012, the Chinese population was 590,500 compared to the Malays at 585,200, but by the end of that year the difference narrowed to only 1,000 individuals.
Overall, the scenario remained status quo for the other races in the state, with the Ibans remaining as the biggest ethnic group with a population of 745,400.
The Bidayuhs remain on fourth place with 205,900, followed by the Melanaus with 132,600, the Orang Ulus (164,700), Indians (7,800) and others (8,200).
The state’s population has also recorded an increase from 2,538,400 in the first quarter of 2012 to 2,583,000 as at the third quarter of last year, an increase of 44,600 or 1.76 per cent.
In comparison, there are more males in Sarawak compared to females, with a difference of 89,400.
In terms of distribution of population throughout the state, Kuching City remained the most populous city with 598,617 people, followed by Miri City with 234,541 people.
The third largest town is Bintulu with a population of 183,402, followed closely by Sibu with 162,676.
But if Sibu’s population were to include its suburban area, then it would be in third position as it has an overall population of some 240,165 people.
Other major towns are Serian with a population of 89,078 people; followed by Kota Samarahan (85,495), Sri Aman (64,500), Marudi (62,8830), Betong (60,728), Sarikei (56,228), Subis (55,733) and Mukah/Dalat (41,481).
The smallest town or council is Pakan, with a population of only 15,139, followed by Matu/Daro with 16,952 people.