Temuan, Benua in Malaysia

Joshua Project has identified the Temuan only in Malaysia





Largest Religion

Main Language


Introduction / History

The Temuan are the third largest tribe of the nineteen Orang Asli people groups living in Peninsular Malaysia. The government categorizes them under the Aboriginal Malay (officially called Proto-Malay) subgroup.

The Temuan villages (between 50 to 500 people) are found on the lowland valleys of districts in the states of Malacca, Negeri Sembilan, Pahang, Selangor, and Johor.

What Are Their Lives Like?

The Temuan are physically indistinguishable from Malays. They are very much influenced by the culture of the Malay people with whom they frequently come into contact. In the past, they were basically rural peasants. They grew some subsistence crops, hunted and gathered in nearby forests, and fished in rivers. To get cash for food, cigarettes, clothing, and tools, they tapped rubber, collected forest produce, sold fruit, and did occasional wage labor.

In the past, their main economic activity was cultivating irrigated rice. The Temuan villagers were skillful rice planters, experienced in engineering skills needed to regulate the flow of water to the fields. Too much or too little water will adversely affect the growth of rice plants. Shortly before harvest time, the people will drain the water from the fields. Throughout the rice growing process, people had to continuously guard the rice from ricebirds, field rats, and insects. Every family member was involved in guarding the ripening rice in some way. It was common to see young children armed with slingshots shooting at the ricebirds. During the rice harvest, groups wielding sticks hunted rats in the field. Today, only a few Temuan are involved in planting seedlings in compact nursery plots, hoeing the main fields, and constructing dikes and canals. Increasing contact with the "outside world" has caused many Temuan villages, like some other Orang Asli groups, to turn from being sedentary rice farmers to become nomads living in uncertainty. To expand their rice fields, Malays from neighboring villages gradually took over the best Temuan rice land by obtaining legal titles to it. To avoid confrontation and further harassment as the Malay population increased, they have moved to other locations.

What Are Their Beliefs?

While the Temuan speak of a high god called Tuhan, they are basically animists. They believe that spirits, known as hantu, inhabit large boulders, rivers, tall trees, and mountains. Raja Mountain, which sits on the Selangor-Negeri Sembilan border, is considered sacred. An ancient legend states that it was on this mountain that their ancestors took refuge during the Great Flood which wiped out mankind.

What Are Their Needs?

Development and modernization have adversely affected the Temuan. Their land to grow crops, their forest to collect produce or to hunt for food, and their streams to fish are diminishing. Pray that local believers will relate and respond to all the needs of the Temuan.

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

People Name General Temuan
People Name in Country Temuan, Benua
Population in Malaysia 29,000
World Population 29,000
Countries 1
Progress Scale 3.2
Least-Reached No
Indigenous Yes
Alternate Names Belanda, Benua, Niap
Affinity Bloc Malay Peoples
People Cluster West Malaysia Indigenous
People Name General Temuan
Ethnic Code AUG05
People ID 15336
Country Malaysia
Region Southeast Asia
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
Persecution Rank 37  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Location in Country Southern extension of the main range, south half of the peninsula, Selangor, Pahang, Johore, Negri Sembilan, Kuala Langat, scattered settlements.   Source:  Ethnologue 2010
Languages & Dialects on file:  1  (up to 20 largest shown)
Languages & Dialects (speakers if known) - up to 20 shown
For Primary Language: Temuan

Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Bible Portions No
New Testament No
Complete Bible No
Resource Format
None reported  
Primary Religion: Ethnic Religions

Major Religion Percent
0.00 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 5.20 %)
5.80 %
Ethnic Religions
64.20 %
0.00 %
30.00 %
0.00 %
Other / Small
0.00 %
0.00 %

Christian Segments Percent
0.0 %
10.0 %
0.0 %
Other Christian
10.0 %
60.0 %
Roman Catholic
20.0 %
Photo Source: Southeast Asia Link - SEALINK   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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