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The Malays make up 21% of the population in Sarawak. Traditionally fishermen, these seafaring people chose to form settlements on the banks of the many rivers of Sarawak. Today, many Malays have migrated to the cities where they are heavily involved in the public and private sectors and taken up various professions. Malay villages (kampungs) - 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 Malays textile weaving with silver and gold thread (kain songket).
Malays are Muslim by religion, having brought the faith to Asia some 1000 years ago. Their religion is reflected in their culture and art and Islamic symbolism is evident in local architecture - from homes to government buildings.