Miri

Miri
—  City  —

Seal
Nickname(s): "Resort City"
Motto: Progress with the society
(Malay: Maju bersama masyarakat)
Miri is located in Borneo
Miri
Location in Borneo
Miri is located in Malaysia
Miri
Location in Malaysia
Coordinates: 4°24′10″N 113°59′36″E / 4.40278°N 113.99333°E / 4.40278; 113.99333Coordinates: 4°24′10″N 113°59′36″E / 4.40278°N 113.99333°E / 4.40278; 113.99333
Country Malaysia
State Sarawak
Division Miri Division
District Miri District
Incorporation (Municipality) 1933
Incorporation (City) 20 May 2005
Government
 - Type Mayor–council government
 - Mayor Lawrence Lai Yew Son
Area
 - City of Miri 4,707.1 km2 (1,817.4 sq mi)
Elevation 21.95 m (72 ft)
Population [1]
 - Estimate (2010) 280,518
Demonym Mirian
Time zone MST (UTC+8)
 - Summer (DST) Not observed (UTC+8)
Postal code 98xxx
International dialling code prefix +6085 (landline only)
Vehicle registration plate prefix QM (for all vehicles except taxis)
HQ (for taxis only)
Website www.miricouncil.gov.my

Miri (play /ˈmɪər/) is a city in northern Sarawak, Malaysia, on the island of Borneo. It is the second largest city in Sarawak, with a population of about 300,000,[2] and the government administrative centre of Miri District in Miri Division.

Miri is the birthplace of Malaysia's petroleum industry, which remains the major industry of the city. The first oil well (the Grand Old Lady) was drilled by Shell in 1910, and is now a state monument and one of Miri's tourist attractions. Shell also built Malaysia's first oil refinery in Lutong, a suburb of Miri, in 1914. Recently, vast oil reserves were discovered just offshore northeast of the city[citation needed]. Miri has grown phenomenally since oil was first discovered in the early 1900s, burgeoning into the business, commercial and educational centre it is today.[3]

The city's other major industries include processed timber, oil palm production, and tourism. The world famous Gunung Mulu National Park with its Sarawak Chamber, a half an hour flight from the city, is one of the favourite eco-tourism destinations. Miri is also the main tourist gateway for Loagan Bunut National Park, Lambir National Park, and the Niah Caves. Miri has lately become known for its exotic coral reefs.[citation needed]

Contents

History

The earliest evidence of human population in the area dates back to 35,000 BC from the nearby Niah Caves.[4]

Miri City seen from satellite

In 1989, a proposal for Miri to become a city received the blessing of Sarawak state government in 1993. A public forum was held in 1994 and a grand signature-collecting campaign was organised in 2004. More than one-third of the residents of Miri signed in support. City blueprints[clarification needed] were drawn up in the early 2000s, while the government and private sector managed to fulfill the federal government's ten main criteria for obtaining city status.[citation needed]

The Sarawak state government approved the then Miri Municipal Council's application for Miri to be elevated to a city and concurrently the Council to be upgraded as the Miri City Council on 20 May 2004. The federal government approved its application on 16 March 2005. The Yang di-Pertua Negeri (ceremonial head of state) of Sarawak issued an order on 12 May 2005 for the establishment of the Miri City Council.[citation needed] The King of Malaysia, Seri Paduka Baginda Yang Di-Pertuan Agong XII issued the instrument for conferment of city status of name Miri City Council on Miri Municipal Council, with full jurisdiction on Miri City on 13 May 2005. The appointments of the mayor, deputy mayor and city councillors of the Miri City Council was published in the Sarawak Government Gazette on 19 May 2005. On 20 May 2005, the official proclamation of Miri City and appointment of Cr. Dato Wee Han Wen as first Mayor of Miri City Council were made at Miri and this was then followed by a celebration. 20 May is now celebrated each year as Miri City Day.

World War II

Realizing that war was imminent, the Brooke government, under Sir Charles Vyner Brooke, conducted preliminary work to establish airstrips at selected locations throughout the country. These airstrips would be located at Kuching, Oya, Mukah, Bintulu, and Miri.[5]

With no air or sea forces stationed in or around Sarawak, the British government encouraged the Brooke regime to adopt a "scorched earth policy" in the event of a Japanese attack. Later, schemes were developed to destroy the oil installations at Miri and Lutong.[6] The Brooke government learned of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor (on 7 December 1941) and quickly ordered the total destruction of the oil fields and airfields at Miri and Seria. Orders for the demolition of the refinery at Lutong and the oil wells reached the officer commanding at Miri on the morning of 8 December, and by that evening, the task was completed. The garrison, a company of the 2/15 Punjab Regiment, then left for Kuching by sea on 14 December.[5] The Japanese captured the city on 17 December.[7]

On 19 December 1941, a Dutch flying boat from Tarakan Island attacked the Japanese destroyer Shinonome, (Cdr. Hiroshi Sasagawa) of 1,950 tons off Miri; the ship was sunk along with her entire crew of 228.[8] Another flying boat damaged a transport ship.

Recent history

Miri was elevated to city status on 20 May 2005 and is the ninth city[clarification needed], and its local authority the tenth city council in Malaysia.

Demographics

Miri's population consists of Iban, Chinese, Malay, Berawan, Lunbawang, Melanau, Indian, Kayan, Kenyah, Kelabit, Bidayuh, Penan, a handful of Eurasians and other indigenous groups.[9] Many religions are also represented in Miri, including tribal religions, Islam, Hinduism,[10] and Christianity.

Climate

Miri has a tropical rainforest climate. There are two monsoon seasons: the southwest monsoon, which is the dry season from April to September and the northeast monsoon, which is the wet season from October to March. The annual rainfall is around 250 to 380 cm (100 to 150 inches). The air temperature is between 23 to 32 °C (74 to 90 °F) the whole year round. But in rare occasion, temperature can reached down to 18 °C to 16 °C especially in the month of November, December and January. Lowest ever recorded is in December 2010 where temperature dropped down to 11 °C. [11]

Climate data for Miri
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 30
(86)
30
(86)
31
(88)
31
(88)
31
(88)
31
(88)
31
(88)
31
(88)
31
(88)
30
(86)
30
(86)
30
(86)
31
(87.0)
Average low °C (°F) 22
(72)
22
(72)
23
(73)
23
(73)
23
(73)
24
(75)
24
(75)
24
(75)
23
(73)
23
(73)
22
(72)
22
(72)
22.9
(73.3)
Record low °C (°F) 16
(61)
18
(64)
20
(68)
21
(70)
22
(72)
22
(72)
22
(72)
22
(72)
21
(70)
20
(68)
18
(64)
11
(52)
11
(52)
Precipitation cm (inches) 15.3
(6.02)
10.25
(4.035)
11.66
(4.591)
12.34
(4.858)
15.22
(5.992)
14.66
(5.772)
12.72
(5.008)
15.72
(6.189)
19.45
(7.657)
24.18
(9.52)
20.54
(8.087)
24.74
(9.74)
196.78
(77.47)
Source: MSN Weather[12]

Economy

Miri mainly thrives on its vibrant oil and gas industry, which contributes significantly to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Sarawak. Sarawak Shell Berhad and Petronas Carigali have their headquarters based in Miri. The city is also home to numerous local and multinational oil and gas companies, including Nippon Oil, Schlumberger, Baker Hughes, Halliburton and Petra Resources and many others. The oil and gas industry not only infuses money into the economy, but also brings in expatriates from various countries. Businesses, big & small, in Miri are constantly on the increase[13] as businessmen look to venture and investing in the growing city.

Tourism is another important focus of the economy. Miri has a diverse ecology and a myriad of flora and fauna species. Four national parks and a marine national park are all located near Miri. Thus, it is often seen as a hub for ecotourism and a draw for nature enthusiasts.

Miri is also a shopping destination for the neighbouring country of Brunei Darussalam,[14] as well as nearby smaller towns like Bintulu and Limbang.

The regional airline, MASwings, has its head office at Jalan Airport in Miri.[15]

Transportation

Miri Airport is the fifth busiest airport in Malaysia[citation needed], and the busiest domestic airport[citation needed]. The airport receives flights from Kuala Lumpur, Johor Bahru, Kuching, Singapore, Kota Kinabalu, Labuan, Sibu, Bintulu and many other smaller towns throughout Sarawak. The airport is also an important hub for MASwings's fleets to provide connecting flights to isolated communities in the interior. It serves as the essential airway to national parks such as Mulu Caves, Niah Caves, and Lambir Hills. MASwings is headquartered at Miri Airport.[clarification needed] Malaysia Airlines and AirAsia operate flights to Miri.

Miri is accessible by road from Bandar Seri Begawan (Brunei) and all major towns in Sarawak, and is connected to major towns in Sarawak and to Brunei and Sabah by the Pan Borneo Highway.

Tourism

Miri is often called the northern gateway to Sarawak and is one of the state's most important tourist attractions. It is surrounded by four world-class national parks: Mount Mulu, Niah, Lambir Hills, and Loagan Bunut.

Parks

The Gunung Mulu National Park is a certified UNESCO World Heritage Site and boasts the world's largest natural cave chamber, the Sarawak Chamber.

Niah Caves in Niah National Park is an important archaeological and historical site, as one of the oldest human remains in Southeast Asia was found here.

Lambir Hills National Park contains very diverse species of flora and fauna and is ranked as the 12th mega-biodiverse site in the world. The park has Sarawak's largest natural lake. There is also the recently gazetted Miri-Sibuti Marine National Park, which has coral reefs and diverse marine life.[16]

The city has 14 public parks and recreational grounds. Miri Bulatan Park (a lake garden), Luak Bay Esplanade (a park at the sea front), Taman Selera (family picnic spot), Taman Awam Miri (a theme park) and Miri City Fan are the more popular parks with both residents and visitors. Miri City Fan, a 10.4-hectare (26-acre) park in the heart of the city.

Shopping

Shopping complexes include the Bintang Plaza (now refurnished and renamed "Bintang Megamall" or Parkson as most of the locals call it); Boulevard Shopping Complex, Imperial Shopping Mall (currently undergoing expansion of Imperial City Mall next to the current building), Servay Supermarket (at Mosjaya Commercial Centre), Servay Superstore (at Taman Tunku), Soon Hup Shopping Complex (most known as Mega Hotel's Shopping Mall), E-Mart, Miri Plaza (or Servay Hypermarket) , Wisma Pelita Mall, Merdeka Mall, Permy Mall (Opened), MYY Mall (under construction) and so on.

In addition, Miri is also well known for its fine handicrafts, especially bead products. Handicraft shops along Jalan Bendahara and Brooke Road are favourite destinations for tourists and locals.[citation needed]

The entertainment outlets, restaurants and road-side cafes along South Yu Seng and North Yu Seng Roads are popular night streets.

Lotus Hill (Lian Hua San) Taoist Temple

This grand Taoist Temple located in the Krokop suburbs of Miri is South East Asia's largest Taoist temple. [17]

Beaches

Sunset from the Luak Esplanade Beach

Miri, being close to the sea, boasts some spectacular beaches. Some of the popular ones are Tanjong Lobang Beach, formerly known as Brighton Beach (Taman Selera), Luak Esplanade, Hawaii Beach, Bekenu-Sibuti Beach, Marina Bay (owned by Marina Mahathir), and Lutong Beach.

Coral reefs

The Miri Reef off Miri is one of Malaysia’s most recently discovered diving locations. In this patch of reefs is a variety of coral and marine life, at depths from 7 to 30 metres (23 to 98 ft), that rivals the best anywhere in Borneo.

Museums

Miri opened a petroleum museum to preserve the city's roots as an oil and gas city. The museum is situated on a hill with a view of Miri and the coast. The museum has been criticised as being poorly maintained and underpatronised.[18] In 2010, Tourism and Heritage Minister Tan Sri Dr George Chan said he was trying to get help from Shell and Petronas to provide funds for the management of the museum.[19] The museum was built at the site of "The Grand Old Lady", Miri's first producing rig.[20]

Higher education

Curtin University, Sarawak Campus, Malaysia is the first offshore campus of Curtin University, Western Australia, and the first foreign university campus in East Malaysia. Opened in 1999 in partnership with the Sarawak government, it serves the educational needs of local and foreign students.

Other higher institutions of education in Miri City include Institut Pendidikan Guru Malaysia Kampus Sarawak, Jalan Bakam (Teacher Education Institute), Institut Kemahiran Belia Negara, Permyjaya (National Youth Skill Institute), Institut Latihan Perindustrian Miri, Permyjaya (Industrial Training Institute), Riam Institute of Technology, IBS College, Fajar International College, Tenby International School and so on.

Sister cities

References

  1. ^ "Malaysia: largest cities and towns and statistics of their population". World Gazetteer. http://www.world-gazetteer.com/wg.php?x=&men=gcis&lng=en&des=gamelan&geo=-152&srt=pnan&col=dhoq&msz=1500. Retrieved 2010-10-29. 
  2. ^ "Welcome to Miri Resort City". http://www.miriresortcity.com/miri. Retrieved 2011-07-14. 
  3. ^ "A Brief History On Miri". Miri City Official Website. http://www.miricity.com.my/index.php?/2008021417/About-Miri. Retrieved 2008-11-16. 
  4. ^ "Ancient Malaysia: 35,000 BC - 100 BC". Malaysia Tourism Promotion Board. http://www.geographia.com/malaysia/malaysiahistory.htm. Retrieved 2008-07-18. 
  5. ^ a b L, Klemen (1999-2000). "The Invasion of British Borneo in 1942". Forgotten Campaign: The Dutch East Indies Campaign 1941-1942. http://www.dutcheastindies.webs.com/sarawak.html. 
  6. ^ "Miri Resort Decline and War". http://www.miriresortcity.com/declineandwar. Retrieved 2008-07-18. 
  7. ^ "Miri History". miricity.com.my (official city community site). http://www.miricity.com.my/index.php?/2008021413/Miri-History. Retrieved 2011-09-11. 
  8. ^ Visser, Jan (1999-2000). "Who sank IJN destroyer Shinonome, December 1941?". Forgotten Campaign: The Dutch East Indies Campaign 1941-1942. http://www.dutcheastindies.webs.com/shinonome.html. 
  9. ^ "Introduction to Miri City". Miri City Council official website. http://www.miricouncil.gov.my/web/introduction_miri.html. 
  10. ^ Miri Hindus to celebrate Navarathri with prayers The Borneo Post - September 17, 2011
  11. ^ ...http://www.myweather2.com/City-Town/Malaysia/Miri/climate-profile.aspx?month=12
  12. ^ "Weather Information for Miri, MYS". MSN Weather Information Service. July 2011. http://weather.msn.com/monthly_averages.aspx?wealocations=wc:MYXX0026&q=Miri,+MYS&setunit=C. Retrieved November 7 2011. 
  13. ^ MiriBiz - Miri Company Directory Listing
  14. ^ Miri remains as top draw for Bruneians
  15. ^ "Contact Us." MASwings. Retrieved on 21 December 2010. "MASwings Sdn. Berhad, Lot 10635, Ground Floor, Jalan Airport, 98000, Miri, Sarawak."
  16. ^ "First Coral Reef National Park". http://malaysiadivingcommunity.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=2465. 
  17. ^ "Taoist Temple". Miri Council. http://www.miricouncil.gov.my/web/places.html. Retrieved 2008-11-16. 
  18. ^ Miri Petroleum Museum gives poor taste to visitors
  19. ^ Chan hopes Shell, Petronas will provide funds to upkeep museum
  20. ^ Miri’s first oil well stands stately at museum
  21. ^ "Beihai to adopt Miri as its sister city."

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