Malays (ethnic group)

Malays (ethnic group)

Infobox Ethnic group
group = Malay

poptime = c. 22 million
region1 = Majority populations
region6 = Malaysia
pop6 = 12.3 million (2006 estimate)
ref6 = lower| [ [ CIA - The World Factbook - Malaysia ] ]
region7 = Brunei
pop7 = 0.25 million (2006 estimate)
ref7 = lower| [ [ CIA - The World Factbook - Brunei ] ]
region8 = Minority populations
pop8 =
ref8 =
region9 = Indonesia
pop9 = 6.9 million (2000 census)
ref9 = lower|PDF| [ Indonesia: Population and Administrative Names] |460 KiB]
region10 = Thailand
pop10 = 1.9 million (2006 estimate)
ref10 = lower| []
region11 = Singapore
pop11 = 0.45 million (2000 census)
ref11 = lower|PDF| [ Singapore: Population Size and Growth] |23.8 KiB]
languages = Malay, Indonesian, Yawi, Thai
religions = Islam (approx. 99.9%PDF| [ The Singapore Census of Population (2000): Advance Data Release 2] |21.8 KiB] cite web
last =
first =
authorlink =
coauthors =
title = The Malay of Malaysia
work =
publisher = Bethany World Prayer Center
year = 1997
url =
format =
doi =
accessdate = 2008-07-28
] cite web
last =
first =
authorlink =
coauthors =
title = The Diaspora Malay
work =
publisher = Bethany World Prayer Center
year = 1997
url =
format =
doi =
accessdate = 2008-07-28
] )
related-c = Malaysian Malays, Malay Singaporean, Overseas Malays.

Malays ( _ms. Melayu) are an ethnic group of Austronesian peoples predominantly inhabiting the Malay Peninsula, the east coast of Sumatra, the coast of Borneo, and the smaller islands between these locations. The Malay ethnic group is distinct from the concept of a Malay race, which encompasses a wider group of people, including most of Indonesia and the Philippines. The Malay language is a member of the Austronesian family of languages.


The Encyclopedia of Malaysia, volume: Early History, has pointed out a total of 3 theories of the origin of Malay:

# The Yunnan theory, Mekong river migration (published 1889)
# The New Guinea theory (published 1965)
# The Taiwan theory (published 1997)

The ancestor of Malays are believed to be seafarers who are well knowledged in Oceanography, they move around from island to island in great distances between New Zealand and Madagascar, and they served as navigation guide, crew and labour to Indian, Persian and Chinese traders for nearly 2000 years, and over the years they settled at various places and adopted various cultures and religions. Notable Malay seafarers of today are Moken and Orang laut.

Some historians suggested they were descendants of Austronesian-speakers who migrated from the Philippines and originally from Taiwan. Malay culture reached its golden age during Srivijayan times and they practiced Buddhism, Hinduism, and their native Animism before converting to Islam in the 15th century.


In the History of Jambi, the word Melayu originated from a river with name Melayu River near to Batang Hari River of today's Muara Jambi, Jambi province of Sumatra, Indonesia and even a Melayu Kingdom existed from the record of Yi Jing (a Tang Dynasty Buddhist monk) and archaeological research of Jambi, large numbers of ancient artifacts and ancient architectures of the Melayu Kingdom have been found with photo evidence. However further tracing the root of the word, a small town in Tamil district appeared called "Malai Yur" which means "Land of Mountains" ("malai" means mountain and "yur" means land), a reference to the hilly nature of the Malay Archipelago. Other ancient Indian sources , the Purana text, claimed "Malayadvipa" on Sumatra with the meaning 'dvipa' land surrounded by water, while the ancient Sanskrit word Himalaya means 'snow mountain'. "Maleu-kolon" was used by Ptolemy which was also derived from Sanskrit 'malayakom' or 'malaikurram', according to G. E. Gerini that was to refer to Tanjung Kuantan while Roland Bradell claimed it on Tanjung Penyabung, both in the peninsula. (see Tamil place names in Malaysia)

The word Melayu began in use during the time of Sultanate of Melaka, founded by the fleeing prince Parameswara, from the declining Melayu Kingdom of Srivijaya in Palembang. And the word was in popular use in 17th century onwards.

During the European colonization, the word "Malay" was adopted into English via the Dutch word "Malayo", itself from Portuguese "Malaio", which originates from the Malay word "Melayu". According to one popular theory, the word Melayu means "migrating" or "fleeing", which might refer to the high mobility of these people across the region (cf. Javanese verb 'mlayu' means "to run", cognate with Malay verb 'melaju', means "to accelerate") or perhaps the original meaning is "distant, far away" (cf. Tagalog 'malayo') with the root word 'layo', which means 'distance' or 'far' in Tagalog and some Malayo-Polynesian languages.

Alternate uses of the term

The name "Malay" is sometimes used to describe the concept of a Malay race, which includes all the ethnic groups inhabiting the Malay Archipelago and which are not of older aboriginal stock.

The term "Melayu" (Malay person in the Malay Language), in the Federal Constitution of Malaysia, refers to a person who professes Islam, habitually speaks the Malay language, conforms to Malay custom and who has at least one ancestor from the Malay Peninsula or Singapore. [Federal Constitution, Malaysia (Article 160)]

Chinese sources

Early Chinese text "Ma-la-yu" (Chinese: 末羅瑜) written by monk Yi Jing was an independent kingdom. In the later Mongol Yuan dynasty and Ming dynasty, the word "Ma-La-Yu" was mentioned often (in the history of China) to refer to a nation from southern sea with different spelling due to the change of dynasty.

* (Chinese: 木剌由) - Bok-la-yu, Mok-la-yu
* (Chinese: 麻里予兒) - Ma-li-yu-er
* (Chinese: 巫来由) - Oo-lai-yu (traced from the written source of monk Xuan Zang)
* (Chinese: 無来由) - Wu-lai-yu

Kedah and Melaka literature

According to Kedah Annals, Kadaram (Kedah Kingdom 630-1136) was founded by Maharaja Derbar Raja of Gemeron, Persia around 630 CE, and also alleged that the bloodline of Kedah royalties coming from Alexander The Great. The other Malay literature, Sejarah Melayu too alleged that they were the descendants of Alexander The Great.

Deutero Malays

Combination of the colonial Kambujas of Hindu-Buddhism faith, the Indo-Persian royalties and traders as well as traders from southern China and elsewhere along the ancient trade routes, these peoples together with the aborigine Negrito Orang Asli and native seafarers and Proto Malays intermarried each others and thus a new group of peoples was formed and became to be known as the Deutero Malays, today they are commonly known as the Malays.

Ethnic group vs. cultural sphere

The term "Malay" can refer to the ethnic group who live in the Malay peninsula (which include the southernmost part of Thailand called Patani and Satun) and east Sumatra as well as the cultural sphere that encompass a large part of the archipelago.

The Malay ethnic group is the majority in Malaysia and Brunei and a sizable minority in Singapore and Indonesia, and they form the majority in the five southernmost provinces of Thailand which historically made up the old Malay kingdom of Patani. This people speak various dialects of Malay language. The peninsular dialect as spoken in the Malaysian states of Pahang, Selangor and Johor is the standard speech among Malays in Malaysia and Singapore. In the Malay peninsula, the Kelantanese dialect in its purest form is the most difficult to understand. Other peninsula dialects include the Kedah-Perlis dialect, the Melakan dialect, the Minangkabau dialect of Negri Sembilan, the Perak dialect and the Trengganu dialect. In Thailand, Malays of Satun speak the Kedah-Perlis dialect while those in the Patani provinces speak the Kelantanese lingo. Meanwhile, the Riau dialect of eastern Sumatra has been adopted as a national tongue, Indonesian ("Bahasa Indonesia"), for the whole Indonesian population.The ethnic Malay have had a Muslim culture since the 15th century. [ [] ]

In Malaysia, the majority of the population is made up of ethnic Malays while the minorities consist of southern Chinese (e.g. Hokkien and Cantonese), southern Indians (mainly Tamils), non-ethnic Malay indigenous peoples (e.g. Iban and Kadazan), as well as Eurasians.

Malay cultural influences filtered out throughout the archipelago, such as the monarchical state, religion (Hinduism/Buddhism in the first millennium AD, Islam in the second millennium), and the Malay language. The influential Srivijaya kingdom had unified the various ethnic groups in southeast Asia into a convergent cultural sphere for almost a millennium. It was during that time that vast borrowing of Sanskrit words and concepts facilitated the advanced linguistic development of Malay as a language. Malay was the regional lingua franca, and Malay-based creole languages existed in most trading ports in Indonesia.

See also

* Malay World
*Malays in Singapore
* Ketuanan Melayu
* Anti-Malay racism, racial prejudice against ethnic Malays.
* Malay wedding, a wedding ceremony in accordance with Malay customs.

External links

* [ Dayak Parang] - Find out more about one of the Malay's most used swords
* [ Queens of Pattani]


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Игры ⚽ Поможем написать реферат

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Moro (ethnic group) — Infobox Ethnic group group = Moro caption = Abdulwahid Bidin population = 5 million (2006 estimate; 5.25% of the Philippine population) regions = flagcountry|PHI smaller|(Bangsamoro, Manila, Cebu) flagicon|MalaysiaMalaysia smaller|(Sabah, Kuala… …   Wikipedia

  • Malays in Egypt — Regions with significant populations Cairo Languages English, Malay, Egyptian Arabic Religion Islam Related ethnic groups M …   Wikipedia

  • Malays in Spain — infobox ethnic group group = Malay Spaniards flagicon|Spain pop= popplace = Madrid, Barcelona langs = Spanish, Malay, Indonesian, English, Dutch rels = Buddhism (chiefly Theravada), Islam related c= Malays (ethnic group), Cocos Malays, Malays of… …   Wikipedia

  • Malays in Singapore — Total population 650,000 (year 2010 census) Languages Malay, English, some Arabic speakers. Relig …   Wikipedia

  • Malays — may refer to: Ethnic Malays, the ethnic group located primarily in the Malay peninsula, and parts of Sumatra and Borneo. Malay race, a racial category encompassing peoples of South East Asia and sometimes the Pacific Islands. Cape Malays, an… …   Wikipedia

  • Ethnic democracy — is a political system that combines a structured ethnic dominance with democratic, political and civil rights for all. Both the dominant ethnic group and the minority ethnic group have citizenship and are able to fully participate in the… …   Wikipedia

  • Ethnic Malays — This article is about the Malay ethnic group. For the Malay race, see Malay race. For other uses, see Malay (disambiguation). Malay Melayu ملايو …   Wikipedia

  • British Malays — infobox ethnic group group = Malay Britons flagicon|United Kingdom poptime = Between 100,000 and 200,000Fact|date=July 2008 popplace = London langs = English, Malay, Afrikaans rels = Islam related c= Malays (ethnic group), Malaysian British, East …   Wikipedia

  • Cape Malays — infobox ethnic group group = flagicon|South Africa Cape Malay poptime = 200,000 popplace = Western Cape, Gauteng langs = Afrikaans, South African English rels = Islam related c = Malays (ethnic group), Malay raceThe Cape Malay community is an… …   Wikipedia

  • Cocos Malays — are a community that form the predominant group of the Cocos (Keeling) Islands, which is now part of Australia. The Cocos Malays are originated from the descendants of Malay settlers from the British colonies of British Malaya, Singapore, Brunei… …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”