Western Cham in Malaysia

Main Language
Largest Religion
Progress Gauge

Expanded PDF Profile

Introduction / History

The precise origin of the Cham is unknown, but they are the survivors of the Champa Kingdom, which flourished from A.D. 2 until A.D. 1471. When the Vietnamese invaded their kingdom, most aristocrats fled to Cambodia; whereas, the poor peasants remained in Vietnam. Evidence still remains of this once flourishing civilization; grandiose temples and sanctuaries, irrigation systems, woven cloth, sculpture, and jewelry.

The Western Cham are a mixture of Cham and Malay, with whom they traded during the time of their powerful kingdom.

Where Are they Located?

The Cham people live mainly in Cambodia and Vietnam, but smaller numbers have strayed to Thailand and Malaysia.

What Are Their Lives Like?

Some Western Cham people who live in Malaysia were sent there in an agreement between the governments of Vietnam and Malaysia. Others use a tourist visa to enter Malaysia, then they find work. The Cham are cheap laborers for the duration of their labor contracts. They are expected to return to Vietnam after their contracts are up, but it doesn't always work this way. These Cham employees would often go to Thailand to work when their contacts are up in Malaysia, then return to Malaysia to work again later. This pattern is not unique to the Cham. Other peoples from Vietnam do this as well.

What Are Their Beliefs?

Hundreds of years ago the Cham were Hindu. The date that Islam was introduced is undetermined, but Malay influence is responsible for restoring and strengthening the Muslim practices of the Cham. Today the Western Cham people in Malaysia are solidly Sunni Muslim.

What Are Their Needs?

The Cham people have faced rejection and isolation. They need to experience the acceptance and love of the Savior.

Prayer Points

* Scripture Prayers for the Cham, Western in Malaysia.

* Ask the Lord of the harvest to send forth laborers to the Western Cham in Malaysia.
* Pray for agencies to send missionaries to gossip the gospel to the Western Cham people in Malaysia.
* Ask the Lord to raise up an army of faithful intercessors who will pray for the Western Cham until they have a vibrant church.
* Ask the Lord to bring forth a triumphant Western Cham church to the glory of His name!



Profile Source:   Keith Carey  
Expanded PDF Profile

People Name General Cham, Western
People Name in Country Cham, Western
Natural Name Western Cham
Population this Country 13,000
Population all Countries 326,000
Total Countries 7
Indigenous No
Progress Scale 1
Unreached Yes
Frontier People Group Yes
Pioneer Workers Needed 1
Alternate Names Cambodian; Cambodian Cham; Chăm (Chàm); Chiem; Chiem Thanh; Hoi; Thanh; Tjam; West Cham; Western Cham
People ID 15361
ROP3 Code 110776
Country Malaysia
Region Asia, Southeast
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
Persecution Rank 46  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Location in Country Scattered in Peninsular Malaysia and Sabah.   Source:  Ethnologue 2020
Country Malaysia
Region Asia, Southeast
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
Persecution Rank 46  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Location in Country Scattered in Peninsular Malaysia and Sabah..   Source:  Ethnologue 2020

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Primary Language Cham, Western (13,000 speakers)
Language Code cja   Ethnologue Listing
Language Written Yes   ScriptSource Listing
Total Languages 1
Primary Language Cham, Western (13,000 speakers)
Language Code cja   Ethnologue Listing
Total Languages 1
People Groups Speaking Cham, Western

Primary Language:  Cham, Western

Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Bible-Portions Yes  (1968-2015)
Bible-New Testament Yes  (2021)
Bible-Complete No
Possible Print Bibles
World Bibles
Forum Bible Agencies
National Bible Societies
World Bible Finder
Virtual Storehouse
Resource Type Resource Name
Audio Recordings Audio Bible teaching (GRN)
Film / Video Jesus Film: view in Cham, Western
Film / Video LUMO film of Gospels
Text / Printed Matter Online Bible text (Scripture Earth)
Primary Religion: Islam
Major Religion Percent
0.00 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 0.01 %)
0.01 %
Ethnic Religions
0.00 %
10.00 %
88.00 %
1.99 %
Other / Small
0.00 %
0.00 %
Christian Segments Percent
Other Christian
Roman Catholic
Photo Source Copyrighted © 2021  Cambodia Research Network  All rights reserved.  Used with permission
Profile Source Keith Carey  
Data Sources Data is compiled from various sources. Read more


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