Indonesian in Malaysia

Main Language
Largest Religion
Progress Gauge

Introduction / History

Indonesians have historically represented a large portion of the Malaysian foreign workforce due to the close proximity of some of the large (and highly populated) Indonesian islands with Malaysia. Indonesians predominantly reside in the urban areas of Peninsular Malaysia. The large island of Sumatra is just a ferry ride across the narrow Straits of Malacca and the Indonesian province of Kalimantan borders the Malaysian states of Sabah and Sarawak on the island of Borneo. Partly as a security measure related to terrorism dangers, the Malaysian government determined early in 2002 that recruitment of foreign workers would be carried out on a Government-to-Government basis. At that time the foreign workforce was officially listed at around 800,000 with close to 600,000 of those being from Indonesia. In reality, the number of Indonesians working in Malaysia at that time may have substantially exceeded the numbers above. The Malaysian government took proactive steps to remove Indonesians working illegally and actively manage the number of Indonesian workers as well as those from other countries. The current estimate for the number of Indonesians is 750,000. These workers are predominantly in non skilled or semi-skilled occupations such as domestic help, agriculture, grounds keepers, street cleaners, and construction.

What Are Their Lives Like?

For many of these workers, their living conditions are dependent on their employers. Large employers in all sectors provide housing and transportation in fulfillment of some of the requirements of the government agreements. Even so, housing is often crowded and without sufficient basic necessities. Working conditions can include long hours and be physically demanding. Isolation in their job site or living quarters sometimes occurs. Separation from families back in their home country is another hardship. Abuse of domestic help is quite common.

What Are Their Beliefs?

The religious beliefs of Indonesian migrant workers reflect the local culture from the parts of Indonesia that they come from. Practically all are Muslim but many come from backgrounds that include remnants of ancient tribal beliefs with animistic or spiritistic practices. Many of these people working as live-in domestic helpers situations in Malaysia will get exposure to the religions the households they work in. This includes Buddhism, Hinduism, Catholicism, and Evangelical Christianity.

What Are Their Needs?

The Indonesian migrant workers need good access to all the social services plus some specialized services related to their separation from families and their isolation in a foreign culture. In addition, some need protection from unfair exploitation by unscrupulous employers. In recognition of this, a special agency called the Foreign Workers Service and Counseling Centre (PPKPA) has been established and is opening offices in all 13 Malaysian states. Foreign workers who register with the Centre will be entitled to insurance coverage, legal advice, social services and, most importantly, a place to go to when they have been abused or exploited. However, probably only a small fraction of the Indonesian migrant workers actually are registered in the program.

Their greatest need is for the Good News. Pray that these workers will hear and respond to the Truth while they are in Malaysia.

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

People Name General Indonesian
People Name in Country Indonesian
Population in Malaysia 807,000
World Population 9,677,500
Total Countries 17
Indigenous No
Unreached No
Progress Scale 4
GSEC 4  (per
Alternate Names Javanese Indonesian, Madurese Indonesian, Malay Indonesian, Minangkabau Indonesian, Oran Toraja, Sundanese Indonesian
People ID 18503
ROP3 Code 114115
Country Malaysia
Region Southeast Asia
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
Persecution Rank 23  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Country Malaysia
Region Southeast Asia
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
Persecution Rank 23  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Primary Language Indonesian (807,000 speakers)
Language Code ind   Ethnologue Listing
Language Written Yes   ScriptSource Listing
Total Languages 1
Other People Groups Speaking Indonesian
Primary Language Indonesian (807,000 speakers)
Language Code ind   Ethnologue Listing
Total Languages 1
People Groups Speaking Indonesian

Primary Language:  Indonesian

Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Bible-Portions Yes  (1955-1968)
Bible-New Testament Yes  (1968-2000)
Bible-Complete Yes  (1974-2000)
Bible-NT Audio Online
Bible-NT Text Online
Possible Print Bibles
Amazon National Bible Societies
Forum of Bible Agencies World Bible Finder
Gospel Go World Bibles
Resource Type Resource Name
Audio Recordings Audio Bible teaching (GRN)
Audio Recordings Online New Testament (FCBH)
Audio Recordings Online New Testament - New Translation (FCBH)
Audio Recordings Online New Testament - Shellabear (FCBH)
Audio Recordings Story of Jesus audio (Jesus Film Project)
Film / Video Ali - Indonesian (
Film / Video Creation to Christ (
Film / Video Fathers Love Letter
Film / Video Gathering of the Followers of Isa (
Film / Video God's Story Video
Film / Video Jesus Film: view in Indonesian
Film / Video Magdalena (Jesus Film Project)
Film / Video More Than Dreams-Dini (
Film / Video My Last Day (Jesus Film Project Anime)
Film / Video Reflection - Refleksi (
Film / Video Story of Jesus for Children (JF Project)
Film / Video The Final Night (
General Bible Visuals
General Four Spiritual Laws
General Got Questions Ministry
Primary Religion: Islam
Major Religion Percent
0.00 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 5.60 %)
15.00 %
Ethnic Religions
2.00 %
1.00 %
81.50 %
0.00 %
Other / Small
0.50 %
0.00 %
Christian Segments Percent
10.0 %
4.0 %
0.0 %
Other Christian
2.0 %
64.0 %
Roman Catholic
20.0 %
Photo Source Copyrighted © 2018  Operation China, Paul Hattaway  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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