Malay, East Malaysia in Malaysia

Joshua Project has identified the Malay, East Malaysia only in Malaysia






Largest Religion

Main Language


Introduction / History

Sarawak and Sabah, Malaysia's 12th and 13th states, are home to many different people groups including the East Malaysia Malay. They number a substantial minority in Sarawak and a smaller minority in Sabah. Like other Malay peoples, this people group brings its own distinct cultural practices that are different from other people groups of Sabah and Sarawak. Bahasa Malaysia is the language spoken.

What Are Their Lives Like?

Traditionally, the East Malaysia Malay worked as fishermen and traders. Today, many of them are employed in logging industries, palm-oil plantations, and civil industries. In addition, many work as government servants.

Intermarriage with other people groups is common for the East Malaysia Malay as long as the prospective partner is a Muslim. A non-Muslim spouse is expected to embrace Islam. Hence, the value of being a part of a family is significant.

For the most part, they dwell in villages consisting of Malay communities with shops, surau (small prayer hall), and other facilities. Some live alongside other East Malaysia people groups like the Bajau in waterfront homes. Due to years of fishing and using the ocean as a major source of transportation, homes are built on stilts right at the ocean's edge. Sleeping in one of these homes is quite an experience, as the water will gently rock the house with the movement of the waves. They also reside on land in different villages.

Good manners and respect is very important especially shown to the elders by the younger people. Elders are much respected by the community especially when they hold positions of Penghulus (village head), Pemajasa (someone who takes care of the law in the village ), or Temenggong (similar to a policeman in the village), in their respective communities. Hence, as is the case with most other Malaysian people groups, social networks function with a hierarchical system.

The value of saving face, observed in the community and workplace, is also deemed significant. It is unbecoming to cause another person to lose face. As a result, it is common to use members of another people group to convey a message which would be uncomfortable for the recipient.

What Are Their Beliefs?

As followers of Islam, the East Malaysia Malay participates in the five pillars of Islam, and mosques are common landmark across the landscape of the state.

But as with their wedding traditions, traces of animistic and Hindu beliefs are still evident and openly discussed. The legend of the Penanggal (either a male or a female who is looking for the blood of a baby or a virgin girl) is a classic example. The Penanggal comes out at night and his head detaches from the body and flies around searching for a victim. Since those bitten by a Penanggal will die, people are careful to stay away from anyone who is suspected of being such a creature.

Funerals are consistent with Islamic practice as is male and female circumcision.

What Are Their Needs?

There is a need for improvement in the basic standards of living among coastal Malay peoples. Working conditions because the Malay are a minority can be difficult in the logging and other export industries. Pray that believers in the main coastal cities would be eager to love and encourage their fellow East Malaysia Malay.

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

Video Links:
Ahmad's Dream
People Name General Malay, East Malaysia
People Name in Country Malay, East Malaysia
Population in Malaysia 280,000
World Population 280,000
Countries 1
Progress Scale 1.1
Least-Reached Yes
Indigenous Yes
Alternate Names
Affinity Bloc Malay Peoples
People Cluster Malay
People Name General Malay, East Malaysia
Ethnic Code MSY44k
People ID 19202
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 Widespread in Peninsular Malaysia, parts of Sarawak.   Source:  Ethnologue 2010
Languages & Dialects on file:  1  (up to 20 largest shown)
Malay (280,000)
Languages & Dialects (speakers if known) - up to 20 shown
Malay 280,000
For Primary Language: Malay

Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Translation Need Questionable
Resource Format
Audio Bible teaching (GRN) Audio Recordings
Bible-in-Your-Language Text / Printed Matter
EasyBibles Text / Printed Matter
EasyBibles Text / Printed Matter
Fathers Love Letter Audio Recordings
Four Spiritual Laws General
General Ministry Resources Film / Video
Got Questions Ministry General
Jesus Film: view in Malay Film / Video
Malay Language Film 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
Story of Jesus for Children (JF Project) Film / Video
World Missionary Press Booklets Text / Printed Matter
Primary Religion: Islam

Major Religion Percent
0.00 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 0.00 %)
0.00 %
Ethnic Religions
0.00 %
0.00 %
100.00 %
0.00 %
Other / Small
0.00 %
0.00 %

Christian Segments Percent
0.0 %
0.0 %
0.0 %
Other Christian
0.0 %
0.0 %
Roman Catholic
0.0 %
Photo Source: Create International   Copyrighted ©   Used with permission
Map Source: Southeast Asia Link - SEALINK   Copyrighted ©   Used with permission
Video Source: Create International
Profile Source: Southeast Asia Link - SEALINK   Copyrighted ©   Used with permission  
Data Sources: Data is compiled from various sources. Read more

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