Han Chinese, Hokkien in Malaysia





Largest Religion

Main Language


Introduction / History

Hokkien is the largest Chinese dialect spoken among Chinese groups in Malaysia. Originally, the Hokkien people were the descendants of the earliest Chinese settlers on the Peninsula who originated mainly from Fujian (also called Min) Province in China. Presently, the majority of Chinese in Malaysia, no matter their ethnic background, use Hokkien as a trade language to converse with other Chinese in particular regions.

However, most Chinese in these particular regions no longer speak a pure form of the various Fujian dialects. Today they speak a Hokkien which contains a number of loanwords from Malay and other Chinese dialect groups.

The Hokkien dialect is the lingua franca for the Chinese in Johor, Malacca, Penang, Kedah, Perlis, Terengganu, Kelantan, and Sarawak. As such, the Hokkien as a trade language is the majority Chinese language in these states.

What Are Their Lives Like?

In the past the main occupations of the Hokkien were as traders and merchants in the import-export industry and wholesale dealers and grocers. Presently, in the rural or semi-rural areas, Hokkien are tin-miners, rubber and oil palm estate laborers, fishermen, livestock breeders, and vegetable farmers. Within the urban centers they are factory workers, clerks and professionals, small-time shopkeepers, and businessmen.

As with the other Chinese groups, the Hokkien regard surnames (for them this is the first part of the name) within the family as important in retaining kinship and family identity. Sons take on the first name of the father to perpetuate the family line. In the family the supreme head is the father, or if the family has several generations living under one roof, the supreme head could also be the grandfather or great grandfather. On the death of the family head the wife takes over as a supreme head and she is respected like her departed husband.

What Are Their Beliefs?

Most of these peoples grow up in an environment of idol worship, ancestral worship, and strong teachings of filial piety. Their religion, no different from the other Chinese groups, has a multitude of stories, performances, rituals, customs, beliefs, sacred objects and places, deities, festivals, and folk practices.

The main deity in a Hokkien temple is Fazhugong or Zhanggong shengju. This deity, with unkempt long hair and carrying a sword, originally came from the Yongchun district (of Fujian province, China). A notable sight in Hokkien households is the display of three or more generations of ancestral tablets at the family altar, besides other deities. For the typical Hokkien family, a distinct ritual follows when a death occurs: holes are made in the deceased's pockets to prevent him or her from taking away the family's wealth.

A small percentage of the Hokkien are Christians.

What Are Their Needs?

The Hokkien people believe that good education is the stepping-stone on the path to success. Yet, not many have received formal education beyond secondary level. Formal education and vocational training in a wide variety of skills would be helpful. Pray that these needs will be met and also that He would awaken believers to the needs around them.

Profile Source:   Southeast Asia Link - SEALINK   Copyrighted ©   Used with permission  

People Name General Han Chinese, Min Nan (Min-Nahn)
People Name in Country Han Chinese, Hokkien
Population in Malaysia 1,905,000
World Population 56,700,000
Countries 17
Progress Scale 3.2
Least-Reached No
Indigenous Yes
Alternate Names Amoy, Chaozhou, Fukien, Fukienese, Hainanese, Hokkien, Hoklo, Holo, Min Nan, Shanghainese, Southern Min, Taiwanese, Teochew, Totok
Affinity Bloc East Asian Peoples
People Cluster Chinese
People Name General Han Chinese, Min Nan (Min-Nahn)
Ethnic Code MSY42a
People ID 11344
Country Malaysia
Region Southeast Asia
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
Persecution Rank 37  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Languages & Dialects on file:  1  (up to 20 largest shown)
Chinese, Min Nan: Hokkien (1,905,000)
Languages & Dialects (speakers if known) - up to 20 shown
Chinese, Min Nan: Hokkien 1,905,000
For Primary Language: Chinese, Min Nan

Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Bible Portions Yes   (1875-1916)
New Testament Yes   (1896-1974)
Complete Bible Yes   (1884-1933)
Audio Bible Online
Resource Format
Amoy Bible Audio Recordings
Audio Bible teaching (GRN) Audio Recordings
Bible-in-Your-Language Text / Printed Matter
Bible: Chinese Union Version, Shangti Edition, Simplified Text / Printed Matter
Bible: Chinese Union Version, Shangti Edition, Simplified Text / Printed Matter
Bible: Chinese Union Version, Shen Edition, Simplified Text / Printed Matter
Bible: Chinese Union Version, Shen Edition, Simplified Text / Printed Matter
Bible: Revised Chinese Union Version, Traditional Text / Printed Matter
Bible: 新譯本(繁體字版) Text / Printed Matter
Four Spiritual Laws General
God's Story Video Film / Video
Jesus Film: view in Chinese, Min Nan Film / Video
My Last Day (Jesus Film Project Anime) Film / Video
Online New Testament (FCBH) Audio Recordings
Story of Jesus audio (Jesus Film Project) Audio Recordings
Primary Religion: Ethnic Religions

Major Religion Percent
26.00 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 7.50 %)
10.00 %
Ethnic Religions
42.00 %
0.00 %
2.00 %
20.00 %
Other / Small
0.00 %
0.00 %

Christian Segments Percent
0.0 %
52.0 %
0.0 %
Other Christian
0.0 %
28.0 %
Roman Catholic
20.0 %
Photo Source: Operation China, Paul Hattaway   Copyrighted ©   Used with permission
Map Source: Southeast Asia Link - SEALINK   Copyrighted ©   Used with permission
Profile Source: Southeast Asia Link - SEALINK   Copyrighted ©   Used with permission  
Data Sources: Data is compiled from various sources. Read more

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