Malaysian Malay

Malaysian Malay
Malaysian Malays
Total population
14.8 million (2010 census)
Languages

Malay, with English, Arabic as secondary language.

Religion

Sunni Islam
(Shafi'i school, with few other schools)

Related ethnic groups

Singaporean Malay, Overseas Indonesian, Overseas Malays, etc.

In Malaysia, the Malay population is defined by Article 160 of the Malaysian Constitution as someone born to a Malaysian citizen who professes to be a Muslim, habitually speaks the Malay language, adheres to Malay customs and is domiciled in Malaysia or Singapore. This definition is loose enough to include people of a variety of ethnic backgrounds, and it therefore differs from the anthropological understanding of what constitutes an ethnic Malay.[1]

This understanding of the meaning of "Malay" in Malaysia has led to the creation of an ethnoreligious identity,[1] where it has been suggested that a Malay cannot convert out of Islam as illustrated in the Federal Court decision in the case of Lina Joy.[2] As of 2010 census, Malays made up 51% of the population of Malaysia. It is predicted that this proportion will rise due to birth rates higher than other ethnic groups under several encouragement programs by the federal government.

Contents

Definition of a Malay

The article defines a Malay as a Malaysian citizen born to a Malaysian citizen who professes to be a Muslim, habitually speaks the Malay language, adheres to Malay customs, and is domiciled in Malaysia or Singapore. As a result, Malay citizens who convert out of Islam are no longer considered Malay under the law. Likewise, a non-Malay Malaysian who converts to Islam can claim to be a Malay, provided they meet the other conditions. An example of this is Jeanne Abdullah the wife of former Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, who is ethnically Portuguese-Eurasian.

A higher education textbook conforming to the government Malaysian studies syllabus states: "The non-Malay thought that is when a non-Malay embraces Islam, he is said to masuk Melayu, or become a Malay, due to the ethnoreligious identity of the Malay-Muslim[citation needed]. That person is automatically assumed to be fluent in the Malay language and to be living like a Malay as a result of his close association with the Malays."[3] Hari Singh similarly observes that "[to] convert to Islam" means "assuming [a] Malay identity (masuk Melayu). In essence, it requires the non-Malay to renounce his cultural heritage and adopt Malay ways and customs."[4]\

Malay Culture

Some of the Malay Malaysians are able to speak the Tamil or Chinese language due their surroundings, and/or being taught in Chinese or Tamil language medium schools. There is also a small proportion of elite Malays who prefer speaking Tamil or Chinese as a first language having come from the respective ethnic roots.

See also

References

  1. ^ a b Frith, T. (September 1, 2000). "Ethno-Religious Identity and Urban Malays in Malaysia" (fee required). Asian Ethnicity (Routledge) 1 (2): 117–129. doi:10.1080/713611705. http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/routledg/caet/2000/00000001/00000002/art00004#aff_1. Retrieved 2008-02-23. 
  2. ^ "Federal Court rejects Lina's appeal in a majority decision". The Star. May 31, 2007. http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2007/5/31/nation/17889176&sec=nation&focus=1. Retrieved 2008-02-23. 
  3. ^ Shuid, Mahdi & Yunus, Mohd. Fauzi (2001). Malaysian Studies, p. 55. Longman. ISBN 983-74-2024-3.
  4. ^ Singh, H.(2001) 'Ethnic Conflict in Malaysia Revisited', Commonwealth & Comparative Politics, 39: 1, 42 — 65.

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