Jaffna Tamil in Malaysia

The Tamil, Jaffna have only been reported in Malaysia
Main Language
Largest Religion
Progress Gauge

Introduction / History

As early as 6th century B.C, South Indian Tamils migrated to Jaffna and other northern provinces of Ceylon (now Sri Lanka). In the late 19th century, Jaffna Tamil migrated to Malaysia in order to assist the colonial bureaucracy in clerical work. They previously served under British officers, who were posted to Ceylon prior to Malaysia. Jaffna Tamil excelled in mathematics, accounting, and English due to strong missionary schooling. They worked in almost every branch of public administration and in plantation and industrial sectors. Many rose to command senior positions in government services. Many friends and family members from Jaffna soon followed by migrating to Malaysia to find work. They found careers in the railway, postal service, and civil service to name a few.

What Are Their Lives Like?

Today, there are approximately twenty-five thousand Jaffna Tamil living in Malaysia. They continue to thrive in Malaysia as professionals in medicine, law, accounting, engineering, computer science, and many other fields. Thriftiness and education has been the key to their success. However, in their pursuit of advanced education to maintaining a high social and cultural status in Malaysia, Jaffna Tamil have neglected to maintain their Tamil Language. They prefer to use English at home and social gatherings. Today's younger generation of professionals are losing some of their cultural identity in Malaysia.

Jaffna Tamil refuse to identify themselves with the wider Tamil community. In attempt to express their own identity in Malaysia, Jaffna Tamil have sought to distance themselves from Malaysia's Indian Tamil community (one and a half million Tamil Indians from Southern India) along class lines. The Indians detest the Jaffna Tamil's onetime close association with the British colonizers.

Jaffna Tamil traditionally gave away dowry with their daughters at marriage. The moment a girl is born families will naturally begin saving for her dowry. Though not as prevalent as in previous generations, dowry is still prevalent among some conservatives. The caste system is dying out with each new generation of Malaysian Jaffna Tamil.

What Are Their Beliefs?

Traditionally, Jaffna Tamil have always been considered devout Hindus. However, there is a small minority of Christians who converted after the arrival of Portuguese, Dutch and British in Ceylon. Religion has always played a crucial role in the Jaffna Tamil identity. They have built Hindu temples and institutions in Malaysia. The Jaffna Tamil are very strict and ritualistic in their Hindu practices, which can be observed in their complex burial and marriage ceremonies.

What Are Their Needs?

Despite the fact Jaffna Tamil played an important role in development of modern Malaysia, they are frequently overlooked as a people group in Malaysia. They are often viewed as part of the larger Tamil community, whose values and cultures are similar. The Jaffna Tamil's culture and beliefs are beginning to transform with the influence of new ideals on each generation through intermarriages and seeking higher education from other countries. Pray for believers who can relate to the needs of the Jaffna Tamil and minister to them in a way to show them the path to the Prince of Peace.

Prayer Points

* Scripture Prayers for the Tamil, Jaffna in Malaysia.

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

People Name General Tamil, Jaffna
People Name in Country Tamil, Jaffna
Natural Name Jaffna Tamil
Population this Country 33,000
Population all Countries 33,000
Total Countries 1
Indigenous No
Progress Scale 1
Unreached Yes
Frontier People Group Yes
Pioneer Workers Needed 1
Alternate Names
People ID 19200
ROP3 Code 115528
Country Malaysia
Region Asia, Southeast
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
Persecution Rank 46  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Country Malaysia
Region Asia, Southeast
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
Persecution Rank 46  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Primary Language Tamil (33,000 speakers)
Language Code tam   Ethnologue Listing
Language Written Yes   ScriptSource Listing
Total Languages 1
Primary Language Tamil (33,000 speakers)
Language Code tam   Ethnologue Listing
Total Languages 1
People Groups Speaking Tamil

Primary Language:  Tamil

Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Bible-Portions Yes  (1714-1956)
Bible-New Testament Yes  (1715-1998)
Bible-Complete Yes  (1727-2016)
Bible-NT Audio Online
Bible-NT Text Online
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)
Audio Recordings Father's Love Letter
Audio Recordings General Ministry Resources
Audio Recordings Online New Testament (FCBH)
Audio Recordings Online Scripture (Talking Bibles)
Audio Recordings Oral Bible
Audio Recordings Story of Jesus audio (Jesus Film Project)
Film / Video Finding Peace
Film / Video Following Jesus (India, JF Project)
Film / Video God's Story Video
Film / Video Indigitube.tv Video / Animation
Film / Video Jesus Film: view in Tamil
Film / Video LUMO film of Gospels
Film / Video Magdalena (Jesus Film Project)
Film / Video My Last Day (Jesus Film Project Anime)
Film / Video Story of Jesus for Children (JF Project)
Film / Video The Prophets' Story
General Comprehensive list of Tamil Resources
General Gospel website in this language
General Got Questions Ministry
Primary Religion: Hinduism
Major Religion Percent
0.00 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 0.00 %)
0.00 %
Ethnic Religions
0.00 %
100.00 %
0.00 %
0.00 %
Other / Small
0.00 %
0.00 %
Christian Segments Percent
Other Christian
Roman Catholic
Photo Source Copyrighted © 2021  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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