Batu Punan in Malaysia

The Batu Punan have only been reported in Malaysia
Population
Main Language
Largest Religion
Christian
Evangelical
Progress
Progress Gauge

Introduction / History

The Punan may have been the original inhabitants of the Niah area and may have descended from the people who used the Niah Caves in Sarawak. They live a more settled life than the Penan.

Some people assume that the Punan and Penan (another people group in Sarawak) are the same since they have similar lifestyles. They are distinguished by language variances and some physical characteristics. The Punan have a darker complexion, wear their hair in a different style, have natural body hair, and don't put tattoos on their bodies. The Penan, on the other hand, pluck their facial hair, eyebrows, and eyelashes, and tattoo their bodies.

There are several main Punan dialects, though their populations are relatively small. The Punan Bah-Biau are found in central Sarawak around Merit on the Rajang River. The Punan Batu 1 (linguistically very different from Punan Bah-Biau) have settled west of Long Geng, southeast of Belaga.


What Are Their Lives Like?

The Punan are mostly agriculturists and skilled laborers. Some work in oil palm plantations and in the logging industry. In farming, they use the slash and burn method, clearing and burning their fields. The soil is then fertilized by the ashes to make it suitable for planting rice. They practice the art of making the parang 'long knife', which they may have adopted from the Kayan and Kenyah people groups in Sarawak.

They are well known for their singing and chanting. They sing even late at night. Some songs are sung to the spirit world, while other songs are for pleasure and storytelling. The mouth harp, which is made from a sliver of palm wood and is stored in a small bamboo case, is the most common traditional instrument of the Punan. The harp is played by holding it in the mouth and plucking it with the index finger. Young and old, men and women, enjoy playing the instrument for entertainment. It is also a way for the young to communicate their desire and interest in one another.


What Are Their Beliefs?

Some Punan have practiced Islam since the Malays, who arrived in the Niah area from Brunei, converted some of them, probably in the 18th century. Still, the Punan are predominantly animists. For instance, when the Punan find something from the forest while they are hunting or gathering materials, they will chant a prayer to a deity called Bungan Malan. In respect to the spirits, they have to humble themselves, and ask forgiveness and blessing from Bungan Malan. Originally, Bungan Malan was a Kenyah deity, and the Punan have adopted this belief.

The manang 'medicine man' holds great influence among the Punan. They believe that the manang can help them cure their illnesses.


What Are Their Needs?

The Punan cannot escape the era of globalization. They need education and skills to help them adapt to the quickly changing world around them. Pray for teachers and educational materials to help educate the Punan. They also need assistance to improve their farming techniques in order to improve their basic livelihood. Pray that motivated believers will help them gain access to the good news in their own language.


Prayer Points

* Scripture Prayers for the Batu Punan in Malaysia.


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

People Name General Batu Punan
People Name in Country Batu Punan
World Population 1,200
Total Countries 1
Indigenous Yes
Progress Scale 2
Unreached No
Frontier People Group No
GSEC 4  (per PeopleGroups.org)
Pioneer Workers Needed
Alternate Names
People ID 10730
ROP3 Code 101143
Country Malaysia
Region Southeast Asia
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
Persecution Rank 42  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Location in Country Central Sarawak, Marudi district, west of Long Geng, southeast of Belaga.   Source:  Ethnologue 2016
Country Malaysia
Region Southeast Asia
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
Persecution Rank 42  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Location in Country Central Sarawak, Marudi district, west of Long Geng, southeast of Belaga..   Source:  Ethnologue 2016
Primary Language Malay
Language Code zlm   Ethnologue Listing
Language Written Yes   ScriptSource Listing
Total Languages 2
Secondary Languages
Punan Batu
Primary Language Malay
Language Code zlm   Ethnologue Listing
Total Languages 2
Secondary Languages
  Punan Batu
People Groups Speaking Malay

Primary Language:  Malay

Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Bible-Portions Yes  (1629-1932)
Bible-New Testament Yes  (1668-1974)
Bible-Complete Yes  (1733-2016)
Bible-NT Audio Online
Bible-NT Text Online
Possible Print Bibles
Amazon
Forum Bible Agencies
National Bible Societies
World Bible Finder
World Bibles
Resource Type Resource Name
Audio Recordings Audio Bible teaching (GRN)
Audio Recordings Father's Love Letter
Audio Recordings Online New Testament (FCBH)
Audio Recordings Story of Jesus audio (Jesus Film Project)
Film / Video Jesus Film: view in Malay
Film / Video My Last Day (Jesus Film Project Anime)
Film / Video Story of Jesus for Children (JF Project)
General Four Spiritual Laws
General Got Questions Ministry
Text / Printed Matter Bible: Bahasa Melayu - Malay
Text / Printed Matter EasyBibles
Text / Printed Matter EasyBibles
Text / Printed Matter Jesus Messiah comic book
Text / Printed Matter World Missionary Press Booklets
Primary Religion: Ethnic Religions
Major Religion Percent
Buddhism
0.00 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 1.00 %)
6.00 %
Ethnic Religions
61.00 %
Hinduism
0.00 %
Islam
33.00 %
Non-Religious
0.00 %
Other / Small
0.00 %
Unknown
0.00 %
Christian Segments Percent
Anglican
0.0 %
Independent
0.0 %
Orthodox
0.0 %
Other Christian
10.0 %
Protestant
60.0 %
Roman Catholic
30.0 %
Photo Source Copyrighted © 2019  Southeast Asia Link - SEALINK  All rights reserved.  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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