Sarawak is Malaysia's largest state both in size - representing a third of the country's land mass - and in political importance as it sends 31 MPs to the 222-member Parliament. Of these, 25 are from the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition.
Native Ibans make up more than 30 per cent of the giant state's population and, along with other indigenous tribes, form the majority. About 28 per cent of Sarawakians are Chinese and 20 per cent Malay.
Christianity is the main religion, with more than 40 per cent embracing the faith. Less than a third of the population are Muslims.
Because of its small population but substantial oil and gas output, as of 2014, Sarawak had the highest GDP per capita of Malaysia's states - not including the federal territories of Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya and Labuan - at RM44,437 (S$14,840) per annum. But it has the second- highest poverty rate of the 13 states.
The Sarawak state assembly has 71 seats. Eleven more will be added for the April state election.
Currently, it lines up this way:
• BN, led by Chief Minister Adenan Satem's Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu, has 45 seats.
• BN-friendly parties - Teras, six, and United People's Party, four.
• Opposition Democratic Action Party (DAP), 11.
• Opposition Parti Keadilan Rakyat, three.
• Opposition-friendly Sarawak Workers Party, one.
• Vacant, one (a DAP assemblyman died in 2014).