Malay people

Malay people

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Malays are an ethnic group
Ethnic group
An ethnic group is a group of people whose members identify with each other, through a common heritage, often consisting of a common language, a common culture and/or an ideology that stresses common ancestry or endogamy...

 of Austronesian people
Austronesian people
The Austronesian-speaking peoples are various populations in Oceania and Southeast Asia that speak languages of the Austronesian family. They include Taiwanese aborigines; the majority ethnic groups of East Timor, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Brunei, Madagascar, Micronesia, and Polynesia,...

 predominantly inhabiting the Malay Peninsula
Malay Peninsula
The Malay Peninsula or Thai-Malay Peninsula is a peninsula in Southeast Asia. The land mass runs approximately north-south and, at its terminus, is the southern-most point of the Asian mainland...

, including the southernmost parts of Thailand, the east coast of Sumatra
Sumatra
Sumatra is an island in western Indonesia, westernmost of the Sunda Islands. It is the largest island entirely in Indonesia , and the sixth largest island in the world at 473,481 km2 with a population of 50,365,538...

, the coast of Borneo
Borneo
Borneo is the third largest island in the world and is located north of Java Island, Indonesia, at the geographic centre of Maritime Southeast Asia....

, and the smaller islands which lie between these locations. The Malay ethnic group is distinct from the concept of a Malay race
Malay race
The concept of a Malay race was proposed by the German scientist Johann Friedrich Blumenbach , and classified as the brown race. Since Blumenbach, many anthropologists have rejected his theory of five races, citing the enormous complexity of classifying races...

, which encompasses a wider group of people, including most of Indonesia
Indonesia
Indonesia , officially the Republic of Indonesia , is a country in Southeast Asia and Oceania. Indonesia is an archipelago comprising approximately 13,000 islands. It has 33 provinces with over 238 million people, and is the world's fourth most populous country. Indonesia is a republic, with an...

, Philippines, and Oceania. The Malay language
Malay language
Malay is a major language of the Austronesian family. It is the official language of Malaysia , Indonesia , Brunei and Singapore...

 is a member of the Austronesian
Austronesian languages
The Austronesian languages are a language family widely dispersed throughout the islands of Southeast Asia and the Pacific, with a few members spoken on continental Asia that are spoken by about 386 million people. It is on par with Indo-European, Niger-Congo, Afroasiatic and Uralic as one of the...

 family of languages.

Proto Malays



Also known as Melayu asli (aboriginal Malay) or Melayu purba (ancient Malay), the Proto Malays are of Austronesian
Austronesian people
The Austronesian-speaking peoples are various populations in Oceania and Southeast Asia that speak languages of the Austronesian family. They include Taiwanese aborigines; the majority ethnic groups of East Timor, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Brunei, Madagascar, Micronesia, and Polynesia,...

 origin are thought to have migrated to the Malay archipelago
Malay Archipelago
The Malay Archipelago refers to the archipelago between mainland Southeastern Asia and Australia. The name was derived from the anachronistic concept of a Malay race....

 in a long series of migration between 2500 and 1500 BC. The Encyclopedia of Malaysia: Early History, has pointed out a total of three theories of the origin of Malay:
  • The Yunnan
    Yunnan
    Yunnan is a province of the People's Republic of China, located in the far southwest of the country spanning approximately and with a population of 45.7 million . The capital of the province is Kunming. The province borders Burma, Laos, and Vietnam.Yunnan is situated in a mountainous area, with...

     theory, Mekong
    Mekong
    The Mekong is a river that runs through China, Burma, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. It is the world's 10th-longest river and the 7th-longest in Asia. Its estimated length is , and it drains an area of , discharging of water annually....

     river migration (published 1889)
The theory of Proto Malay originating from Yunnan is supported by R.H Geldern, J.H.C Kern, J.R Foster, J.R Logen, Slametmuljana and Asmah Haji Omar. Other evidences that support this theory include:
  1. Stone tools found at Malay Archipelago which are analogous to Central Asian tools;
  2. Similarity of Malay customs and Assam
    Assam
    Assam , also, rarely, Assam Valley and formerly the Assam Province , is a northeastern state of India and is one of the most culturally and geographically distinct regions of the country...

     customs; and
  3. the fact that the Malay language & Cambodian language are kindred languages because the ancestral home of Cambodians originated at the source of Mekong River.

  • The New Guinea
    New Guinea
    New Guinea is the world's second largest island, after Greenland, covering a land area of 786,000 km2. Located in the southwest Pacific Ocean, it lies geographically to the east of the Malay Archipelago, with which it is sometimes included as part of a greater Indo-Australian Archipelago...

     theory (published 1965).
  • The Taiwan
    Taiwan
    Taiwan , also known, especially in the past, as Formosa , is the largest island of the same-named island group of East Asia in the western Pacific Ocean and located off the southeastern coast of mainland China. The island forms over 99% of the current territory of the Republic of China following...

     theory (published 1997).


The book "Contesting Malayness – Malay Identity Across Boundaries" edited by Timothy P. Barnard reflects the views of anthropologists that there is no such race as the "Malays" to begin with, even if one has since developed in Malaysia. If one follow the original migration of a certain group of southern Chinese of 6,000 years ago, some moved to Taiwan (today's Taiwanese aborigines are their descendents), then to the Philippines and later to Borneo (roughly 4,500 years ago) (today's Dayak and other groups). These ancient people also split with some heading to Sulawesi and others progressing into Java, and Sumatra. The final migration was to the Malayan Peninsula roughly 3,000 years ago. A sub-group from Borneo moved to Champa in Vietnam roughly 4,500 years ago. Interestingly, the Champa group eventually moved to present day Kelantan in Malaysia. There are also traces of the Dong Song and HoaBinh migration from Vietnam and Cambodia. There was also the Southern Thai migration, from what we know as Pattani today. All these groups share DNA and linguistic origins traceable to the island that is today Taiwan, and the ancestors of these ancient people are traceable to southern China.

However, a recent genetic studies carried out by HUGO (Human Genome Organization) involving almost 2000 people across Asia, points to another theory of Asian migration pattern. The HUGO found genetic similarities between populations throughout Asia and an increase in genetic diversity from northern to southern latitudes. These findings support the hypothesis that Asia was populated primarily through a single migration event from the south, and the South East Asian civilizations including the Malays are possibly much older civilizations compared to East Asian civilizations

The proto Malays are believed to be seafarers
Seafarers
Seafarers can refer to ethnic groups living by the sea in Southeast Asia, and also other sea-living ethnic groups in the world. The ethnic group name refers to a large distribution area, reaching from the islands of Indonesia to Burma...

 knowledgeable in oceanography
Oceanography
Oceanography , also called oceanology or marine science, is the branch of Earth science that studies the ocean...

 and possessing agricultural skills. They moved around from island to island in great distances between New Zealand and Madagascar
Madagascar
The Republic of Madagascar is an island country located in the Indian Ocean off the southeastern coast of Africa...

, and they served as navigation guides, crew and labour to Indian, Arab, Persian and Chinese traders for nearly 2000 years. Over the years they settled at various places and adopted various cultures and religions.

Deutero Malays


The earlier Proto Malay groups were later pushed inland by the Deutero Malay settlers in the second wave of migration around 300 BC. The Deutero Malays are Iron Age
Iron Age
The Iron Age is the archaeological period generally occurring after the Bronze Age, marked by the prevalent use of iron. The early period of the age is characterized by the widespread use of iron or steel. The adoption of such material coincided with other changes in society, including differing...

 people descended partly from the Chams of Mainland Southeast Asia who came equipped with more advanced farming techniques and new knowledge of metals. They are kindred but more Mongolized and greatly distinguished from the Proto Malays which have shorter stature, darker skin, slightly higher frequency of wavy hair, much higher percentage of dolichocephaly and a markedly lower frequency of the epicanthic fold. The Deutero Malay settlers were not nomadic compared to their predecessors, instead they settled and established kampungs which serve as the main units in the society. These kampungs were normally situated on the riverbanks or coastal areas and generally self-sufficient in food and other necessities. By the end of the last century B.C, these kampungs beginning to engage in some trade with the outside world .

The Deutero Malays are considered as the direct ancestors of present day's Malay people. Their series of migration had indirectly forced some groups of Proto Malays and aboriginal people to retreat into the hill areas of the interior further upriver. Notable Proto Malays of today are Moken
Moken
The Moken , are an Austronesian ethnic group with about 2,000 to 3,000 members who maintain a nomadic, sea-based culture. They speak their own language which belongs to the Austronesian language family.-Nomenclature:They refer to themselves as Moken...

, Jakun, Orang Kuala
Orang Kuala
The Orang Kuala or Duano' are one of the indigenous peoples of Malaysia. They are considered to be Proto-Malay. Orang Kuala means "people of the rivermouth".The Orang Kuala numbered about 2,000 people in 2000. They speak an Para-Malay language.-Sources:...

, Temuan
Temuan
The Temuans are one of indigenous peoples of Malaysia.They speak Temuan, an Austronesian language. Like other indigenous tribes in Malaysia, most Temuans live in poverty.-Flood Legend:...

 and Orang Kanaq
Orang Kanaq language
Orang Kanaq language is one of the Aboriginal Malay languages and it is grouped under the Austonesian Language family. It is spoken by the Orang Kanaq, which is one of the 19 Orang Asli groups living in Peninsular Malaysia...

.

Indian influence


There is no definite evidence which dates the first India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

n voyages across the Bay of Bengal
Bay of Bengal
The Bay of Bengal , the largest bay in the world, forms the northeastern part of the Indian Ocean. It resembles a triangle in shape, and is bordered mostly by the Eastern Coast of India, southern coast of Bangladesh and Sri Lanka to the west and Burma and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands to the...

 but conservative estimates place the earliest arrivals on Malay shores at least 2,000 years ago. The discovery of jetty remains, iron smelting sites, and a clay brick monument dating back to 110 A.D in Bujang Valley
Bujang Valley
The Bujang Valley or Lembah Bujang is a sprawling historical complex and has an area of approximately 224 square km. Situated near Merbok, Kedah, between Gunung Jerai in the north and Muda River in the south, it is the richest archaeological area in Malaysia.These archaeological remains show that...

, shows that a maritime trading route with south Indian Tamil kingdoms was already established since the 2nd century A.D. The growth of trade with India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

 brought coastal people in much of the Malay world into contact with the major religions of Hinduism
Hinduism
Hinduism is the predominant and indigenous religious tradition of the Indian Subcontinent. Hinduism is known to its followers as , amongst many other expressions...

 and Buddhism
Buddhism
Buddhism is a religion and philosophy encompassing a variety of traditions, beliefs and practices, largely based on teachings attributed to Siddhartha Gautama, commonly known as the Buddha . The Buddha lived and taught in the northeastern Indian subcontinent some time between the 6th and 4th...

. Thus, Indian religions, cultural traditions and the Sanskrit
Sanskrit
Sanskrit , is a historical Indo-Aryan language and the primary liturgical language of Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism.Buddhism: besides Pali, see Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit Today, it is listed as one of the 22 scheduled languages of India and is an official language of the state of Uttarakhand...

 language began to spread across the land. Temples were built in the Indian style, local kings began referring to themselves as Raja
Raja
Raja is an Indian term for a monarch, or princely ruler of the Kshatriya varna...

and more desirable aspects of Indian government were adopted.
Subsequently, small Malay states started to appear in the coastal areas of Malay peninsular, notably the Red Earth Kingdom (1st century), Gangga Negara
Gangga Negara
Gangga Negara is believed to be a lost semi-legendary Hindu kingdom mentioned in the Malay Annals that covered present day Beruas, Dinding and Manjung in the state of Perak, Malaysia with Raja Gangga Shah Johan as one of its kings...

 (2nd century), Langkasuka
Langkasuka
Langkasuka was an ancient Hindu Malay kingdom located in the Malay Peninsula...

 (2nd century), and Kedah
Bujang Valley
The Bujang Valley or Lembah Bujang is a sprawling historical complex and has an area of approximately 224 square km. Situated near Merbok, Kedah, between Gunung Jerai in the north and Muda River in the south, it is the richest archaeological area in Malaysia.These archaeological remains show that...

 (2nd century). Between the 7th and 13th centuries, many of these small, often prosperous peninsular maritime trading states became part of the Srivijaya empire, a great Malay kingdom centered in Palembang
Palembang
Palembang is the capital city of the South Sumatra province in Indonesia. Palembang is one of the oldest cities in Indonesia, and has a history of being a capital of a maritime empire. Located on the Musi River banks on the east coast of southern Sumatra island, it has an area of 400.61 square...

 and Kadaram
Kedah
Kedah is a state of Malaysia, located in the northwestern part of Peninsular Malaysia. The state covers a total area of over 9,000 km², and it consists of the mainland and Langkawi. The mainland has a relatively flat terrain, which is used to grow rice...

.
Srivijaya’s influence spread over all the coastal areas of Sumatra and the Malay peninsula, western Java
Java
Java is an island of Indonesia. With a population of 135 million , it is the world's most populous island, and one of the most densely populated regions in the world. It is home to 60% of Indonesia's population. The Indonesian capital city, Jakarta, is in west Java...

 and western Borneo
Borneo
Borneo is the third largest island in the world and is located north of Java Island, Indonesia, at the geographic centre of Maritime Southeast Asia....

, as well as the rest of the Malay Archipelago
Malay Archipelago
The Malay Archipelago refers to the archipelago between mainland Southeastern Asia and Australia. The name was derived from the anachronistic concept of a Malay race....

. Enjoying both Indian and Chinese patronage, its wealth was gained mostly through trade. At its height, the Old Malay language was used as its official language and became the lingua franca
Lingua franca
A lingua franca is a language systematically used to make communication possible between people not sharing a mother tongue, in particular when it is a third language, distinct from both mother tongues.-Characteristics:"Lingua franca" is a functionally defined term, independent of the linguistic...

 of the region, replacing Sanskrit, the language of Hinduism and Buddhism. The Srivijayan era is considered the golden age of Malay culture.

The glory of Srivijaya however began to wane after the series of raids by Indian Chola Empire in 11th century. By the end of 13th century, the remnants of the Malay empire in Sumatra
Sumatra
Sumatra is an island in western Indonesia, westernmost of the Sunda Islands. It is the largest island entirely in Indonesia , and the sixth largest island in the world at 473,481 km2 with a population of 50,365,538...

 was finally destroyed by the Javanese invaders during the Pamalayu expedition
Pamalayu expedition
The Pamalayu expedition was a military expeditionary force sent by King Kertanegara of Singhasari to conquer the Sumatran Melayu Kingdom. It was decreed in 1275, though perhaps not undertaken until later.Little is known about the results of the expedition...

 (Pamalayu literally means: war against the Malayu).

The destruction of Srivijaya led to the diaspora of the Srivijayan court and several attempts were made by the fleeing Malay princes to revive the empire. In 1324, with the support of the loyal servants of the empire, the Orang laut
Orang Laut
The Orang Laut, or Bajau Laut are a group of Malay people living in the Riau Islands of Indonesia. It also may refer to any Malay origin people living on coastal islands, including those of Andaman Sea islands in Thailand and Burma, commonly known as Moken.-Etymology:The Malay term orang laut...

s, a Malay prince of Srivijaya origin, Sang Nila Utama
Sang Nila Utama
Sang Nila Utama was a Srivijayan prince from Palembang who founded the kingdom of Singapura in 1324. He was officially styled as Sri Maharaja Sang Utama Parameswara Batara Sri Tri Buana...

 established the kingdom of Singapore
Singapore
Singapore , officially the Republic of Singapore, is a Southeast Asian city-state off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, north of the equator. An island country made up of 63 islands, it is separated from Malaysia by the Straits of Johor to its north and from Indonesia's Riau Islands by the...

 in Temasek
Temasek
Temasek was the name of an early city on the site of modern Singapore. From the 14th century, the island has also been known as Singapura, which is derived from Sanskrit and means "Lion City"...

. His dynasty ruled the island until the end of 14th century, when the Malay polity once again faced the wrath of Javanese invaders. In 1401, his great grandson, Paduka Sri Maharaja Parameswara
Parameswara (sultan)
Parameswara , also called Iskandar Shah or Sri Majara, was a Malay-Hindu prince from Temasek who founded the Malacca Sultanate around 1402.-Etymology:...

 headed north and established the Malacca Sultanate
Malacca Sultanate
Established by the Malay ruler Parameswara, the Sultanate of Malacca was first a Hindu kingdom in 1402 and later became Muslim following the marriage of the princess of Pasai in 1409. Centered in the modern town of Malacca, the sultanate bordered the Ayutthaya Kingdom of Siam in the north to...

. The Malacca sultanate succeeded Srivijaya and inherited much of the Malay royal and cultural traditions, including most of the territories of its predecessor.

Islamization


The period of the 13th and 15th centuries saw the arrival of Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

 and the rise of the great port-city of Malacca
Malacca Sultanate
Established by the Malay ruler Parameswara, the Sultanate of Malacca was first a Hindu kingdom in 1402 and later became Muslim following the marriage of the princess of Pasai in 1409. Centered in the modern town of Malacca, the sultanate bordered the Ayutthaya Kingdom of Siam in the north to...

 on the southwestern coast of the Malay peninsular — two major developments that altered the course of Malay history.

The Islamic faith arrived on the shores of what are now the states of Kedah
Kedah
Kedah is a state of Malaysia, located in the northwestern part of Peninsular Malaysia. The state covers a total area of over 9,000 km², and it consists of the mainland and Langkawi. The mainland has a relatively flat terrain, which is used to grow rice...

, Perak
Perak
Perak , one of the 13 states of Malaysia, is the second largest state in the Peninsular Malaysia bordering Kedah and Yala Province of Thailand to the north, Penang to the northwest, Kelantan and Pahang to the east, Selangor the Strait of Malacca to the south and west.Perak means silver in Malay...

, Kelantan
Kelantan
Kelantan is a state of Malaysia. The capital and royal seat is Kota Bharu. The Arabic honorific of the state is Darul Naim, ....

 and Terengganu
Terengganu
Terengganu is a sultanate and constitutive state of federal Malaysia. The state is also known by its Arabic honorific, Darul Iman...

, from around the 12th century. The earliest archaeological evidence of Islam from the Malay peninsula is an inscribed stone dating from the 14th century found in Terengganu
Terengganu
Terengganu is a sultanate and constitutive state of federal Malaysia. The state is also known by its Arabic honorific, Darul Iman...

 state, Malaysia.

By 15th century, the Malacca Sultanate
Malacca Sultanate
Established by the Malay ruler Parameswara, the Sultanate of Malacca was first a Hindu kingdom in 1402 and later became Muslim following the marriage of the princess of Pasai in 1409. Centered in the modern town of Malacca, the sultanate bordered the Ayutthaya Kingdom of Siam in the north to...

, whose hegemony reached over much of the western Malay archipelago, had become the centre of Islamization
Islamization
Islamization or Islamification has been used to describe the process of a society's conversion to the religion of Islam...

 in the east. The Malaccan tradition was transmitted onwards and fostered a vigorous ethos of Malay identity. During this era, the Islamic faith became closely identified with Malay society and played a significant role in defining the Malay identity.

In 1511, the city of Malacca fell into the hands of Portuguese
Portuguese people
The Portuguese are a nation and ethnic group native to the country of Portugal, in the west of the Iberian peninsula of south-west Europe. Their language is Portuguese, and Roman Catholicism is the predominant religion....

 conquistadors. However, Malacca remained an institutional prototype: a paradigm of statecraft and a point of cultural reference for successor states such as Johor Sultanate
Johor Sultanate
The Sultanate of Johor was founded by Malaccan Sultan Mahmud Shah's son, Sultan Alauddin Riayat Shah II in 1528. Johor was part of the Malaccan Sultanate before the Portuguese conquered Malacca's capital in 1511...

 (1528–present), Perak Sultanate
Perak
Perak , one of the 13 states of Malaysia, is the second largest state in the Peninsular Malaysia bordering Kedah and Yala Province of Thailand to the north, Penang to the northwest, Kelantan and Pahang to the east, Selangor the Strait of Malacca to the south and west.Perak means silver in Malay...

 (1528–present) and Pahang Sultanate
Pahang
Pahang is the third largest state in Malaysia, after Sarawak and Sabah, occupying the huge Pahang River river basin. It is bordered to the north by Kelantan, to the west by Perak, Selangor, Negeri Sembilan, to the south by Johor and to the east by Terengganu and the South China Sea.Its state...

 (1470–present).

Across the South China Sea
South China Sea
The South China Sea is a marginal sea that is part of the Pacific Ocean, encompassing an area from the Singapore and Malacca Straits to the Strait of Taiwan of around...

 in 14th century, another Malay realm, the Brunei Sultanate was on the rise to become the most powerful polity in Borneo
Borneo
Borneo is the third largest island in the world and is located north of Java Island, Indonesia, at the geographic centre of Maritime Southeast Asia....

. By the middle of 15th century, Brunei entered into a close relationship with Malacca Sultanate. The sultan married a Malaccan princess, adopted Islam as the court religion, and introduced an efficient administration modelled on Malacca. Brunei profited from trade with Malacca but gained even greater prosperity after the great Malay port was conquered by the Portuguese in 1511. It reached its golden age in the mid 16th century when it controlled land as far south as present day Kuching
Kuching
Kuching , officially the City of Kuching, and formerly the City of Sarawak, is the capital and most populous city of the East Malaysian state of Sarawak. It is the largest city on the island of Borneo, and the fourth largest city in Malaysia....

 in Sarawak
Sarawak
Sarawak is one of two Malaysian states on the island of Borneo. Known as Bumi Kenyalang , Sarawak is situated on the north-west of the island. It is the largest state in Malaysia followed by Sabah, the second largest state located to the North- East.The administrative capital is Kuching, which...

 and north towards the islands of the Philippines
Philippines
The Philippines , officially known as the Republic of the Philippines , is a country in Southeast Asia in the western Pacific Ocean. To its north across the Luzon Strait lies Taiwan. West across the South China Sea sits Vietnam...

. Brunei's fairly loose river based governmental presence in Borneo projected the process of acculturation known as "Malayization". Fine Malay Muslim cultures, including the language, dress and single family dwelling were introduced to the natives primarily from ethnic Dayaks
Dayak people
The Dayak or Dyak are the native people of Borneo. It is a loose term for over 200 riverine and hill-dwelling ethnic subgroups, located principally in the interior of Borneo, each with its own dialect, customs, laws, territory and culture, although common distinguishing traits are readily...

, drawing them into the Sultanate. Dayak chiefs were incorporated into the Malay hierarchy, being given the official titles of Datuk, Temenggong and Orang Kaya. In West Kalimantan
West Kalimantan
West Kalimantan is a province of Indonesia. It is one of four Indonesian provinces in Kalimantan, the Indonesian part of the island of Borneo. Its capital city Pontianak is located right on the Equator....

, the development of such sultanates of Sambas
Sultanate of Sambas
Sambas was a traditional state in Indonesia in modern Borneo.-History:At first governed by governors, Sambas became kingdom in 1609 with the descendant of Sepudak. She married one of her daughters to a descendant of the Sultan of Brunei...

, Sukadana
Sukadana
Sukadana is the capital city of North Kayong regency , on the island of Borneo. North Kayong regency is one of the regencies of West Kalimantan province in Indonesia...

 and Landak
Landak Regency
Landak Regency is a regency of West Kalimantan, Indonesia. The principal town lies at Ngabang....

 tells a similar tale of recruitment among Dayak people.

Other significant Malay sultanates were the Kedah Sultanate
Kedah Sultanate
The Sultanate of Kedah was the earliest sultanate on the Malay Peninsula and one of the oldest Sultanates in the world, founded in year 1136.-Kedah Kingdom:...

 (1136–present) and Patani Sultanate
Pattani kingdom
Pattani or Sultanate of Pattani was a Malay sultanate that covered approximately the area of the modern Thai provinces of Pattani, Yala, Narathiwat and much of the northern part of modern Malaysia. The King of Patani is believed to have converted to Islam some time during the 11th century...

 (1516–1771) that dominated the northern part of the Malay peninsula.

Colonization


Between 1511 and 1984, numerous Malay kingdoms and sultanates fell under direct colonization or became the protectorate
Protectorate
In history, the term protectorate has two different meanings. In its earliest inception, which has been adopted by modern international law, it is an autonomous territory that is protected diplomatically or militarily against third parties by a stronger state or entity...

s of different foreign powers, from European colonial powers like Portuguese
Portugal
Portugal , officially the Portuguese Republic is a country situated in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula. Portugal is the westernmost country of Europe, and is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the West and South and by Spain to the North and East. The Atlantic archipelagos of the...

, Dutch
Netherlands
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

 and British
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

, to regional powers like Siam and Japan
Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

.

In 1511, the Portuguese Empire
Portuguese Empire
The Portuguese Empire , also known as the Portuguese Overseas Empire or the Portuguese Colonial Empire , was the first global empire in history...

 captured
Capture of Malacca (1511)
The Capture of Malacca in 1511 occurred when the Portuguese admiral Afonso de Albuquerque subdued the city of Malacca in 1511.The port city of Malacca controlled the narrow strategic strait of Malacca, through which all sea-going trade between China and India was concentrated...

 the capital city of Malacca Sultanate
Malacca Sultanate
Established by the Malay ruler Parameswara, the Sultanate of Malacca was first a Hindu kingdom in 1402 and later became Muslim following the marriage of the princess of Pasai in 1409. Centered in the modern town of Malacca, the sultanate bordered the Ayutthaya Kingdom of Siam in the north to...

. The victorious Portuguese however, were unable to extend their political influence beyond the fort of Malacca
A Famosa
A Famosa is a Portuguese fortress located in Malacca, Malaysia. It is among the oldest surviving European architectural remains in Asia. The Porta de Santiago, a small gate house, is the only remaining part of the fortress still standing....

. The Sultan maintained his overlordship on the lands outside Malacca and established the Johor Sultanate
Johor Sultanate
The Sultanate of Johor was founded by Malaccan Sultan Mahmud Shah's son, Sultan Alauddin Riayat Shah II in 1528. Johor was part of the Malaccan Sultanate before the Portuguese conquered Malacca's capital in 1511...

 in 1528 to succeed Malacca. The Portuguese Malacca
Portuguese Malacca
Portuguese Malacca was the territory of Malacca that, for 130 years , was a Portuguese colony.- History :From the writing of the Portuguese historian Emanuel Godinho de Erédia in the middle of the 16th century, the site of the old city of Malacca was named after the Myrobalans, fruit-bearing trees...

 faced several unsuccessful retaliation attacks by Johor until 1614, when the combined forces of Johor and the Dutch Empire
Dutch Empire
The Dutch Empire consisted of the overseas territories controlled by the Dutch Republic and later, the modern Netherlands from the 17th to the 20th century. The Dutch followed Portugal and Spain in establishing an overseas colonial empire, but based on military conquest of already-existing...

, ousted
Battle of Malacca (1641)
In the early 17th century, the Dutch East India Company began the campaign to destroy Portuguese power in the East. At that time, the Portuguese had transformed Malacca into an impregnable fortress , controlling access to the sea lanes of the Straits of Malacca and the spice trade there...

 the Portuguese from the peninsular forever. As per agreement with Johor in 1606, the Dutch later took control of Malacca.

Historically, Malay states of the peninsular had a hostile relation with the Siamese
Siamese
Siamese most commonly refer to:*The Thai language*The Thai people*Someone or something from Thailand: see Siam *Siamese *Siamese twinsAmongst animals:*Siamese Crocodile*Siamese mud carp...

. Malacca sultanate herself fought two wars with the Siamese while northern Malay states came intermittently under Siamese dominance for centuries. In 1771, the Kingdom of Siam under the new Chakri Dynasty abolished the Pattani Sultanate
Pattani kingdom
Pattani or Sultanate of Pattani was a Malay sultanate that covered approximately the area of the modern Thai provinces of Pattani, Yala, Narathiwat and much of the northern part of modern Malaysia. The King of Patani is believed to have converted to Islam some time during the 11th century...

 and later annexed a large part of Kedah Sultanate
Kedah Sultanate
The Sultanate of Kedah was the earliest sultanate on the Malay Peninsula and one of the oldest Sultanates in the world, founded in year 1136.-Kedah Kingdom:...

. The Siamese imposed a new administrative structure and created the provinces of Satun
Satun
Satun is a town in southern Thailand, capital of the Satun Province. It covers the whole tambon Phiman of Mueang Satun district. As of 2005 it has a population of 21,498....

, Songkhla
Songkhla
Songkhla is a city in the Songkhla Province of southern Thailand, near the border with Malaysia. As of 2006 it had a population of 75,048...

, Phuket
Phuket Province
Phuket , formerly known as Thalang and, in Western sources, Junk Ceylon , is one of the southern provinces of Thailand...

, Trang
Trang
Trang is the capital of Trang Province, Thailand. The city has a population of 59,637 and covers the whole tambon Thap Thiang of Mueang Trang district....

, Narathiwat
Narathiwat
Narathiwat is a town in southern Thailand, capital of the Narathiwat Province. The town covers the whole subdistrict Bang Nak of Mueang Narathiwat district. The town was established in 1936.-External links:...

, Yala
Yala Province
Yala is the southernmost province of Thailand. Neighboring provinces are Songkhla, Pattani and Narathiwat. Yala is the only land-locked province in the south of Thailand...

 and Pattani
Pattani
Pattani may refer to* Pattani Province, in southern Thailand* Pattani , in southern Thailand* Pattani , which includes the above province** Pattani Kingdom, a former semi-independent kingdom...

 out of the former sultanates.

In 1786, the island of Penang
Penang
Penang is a state in Malaysia and the name of its constituent island, located on the northwest coast of Peninsular Malaysia by the Strait of Malacca. It is bordered by Kedah in the north and east, and Perak in the south. Penang is the second smallest Malaysian state in area after Perlis, and the...

 was leased to East India Company
East India Company
The East India Company was an early English joint-stock company that was formed initially for pursuing trade with the East Indies, but that ended up trading mainly with the Indian subcontinent and China...

 by Kedah Sultanate
Kedah Sultanate
The Sultanate of Kedah was the earliest sultanate on the Malay Peninsula and one of the oldest Sultanates in the world, founded in year 1136.-Kedah Kingdom:...

 in exchange of military assistance against the Siamese. In 1819, the company also acquired Singapore
Singapore
Singapore , officially the Republic of Singapore, is a Southeast Asian city-state off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, north of the equator. An island country made up of 63 islands, it is separated from Malaysia by the Straits of Johor to its north and from Indonesia's Riau Islands by the...

 from Johor Empire, and later in 1824, Malacca
Dutch Malacca
Dutch Malacca was the longest period of Malacca under foreign control. The Dutch ruled for almost 183 years with intermittent British occupation during the Napoleonic Wars . This era saw relative peace with little serious interruption from the Malay kingdoms due to the understanding earlier on...

 from the Dutch. All these trading posts officially known as Straits Settlements
Straits Settlements
The Straits Settlements were a group of British territories located in Southeast Asia.Originally established in 1826 as part of the territories controlled by the British East India Company, the Straits Settlements came under direct British control as a crown colony on 1 April 1867...

 in 1826 and became the crown colony of British Empire
British Empire
The British Empire comprised the dominions, colonies, protectorates, mandates and other territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom. It originated with the overseas colonies and trading posts established by England in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. At its height, it was the...

 in 1867. British intervention in the affairs of Malay states was formalized in 1895, when Malay rulers accepted British Residents in administration, and the Federated Malay States
Federated Malay States
The Federated Malay States was a federation of four protected states in the Malay Peninsula—Selangor, Perak, Negeri Sembilan and Pahang—established by the British government in 1895, which lasted until 1946, when they, together with the Straits Settlements and the Unfederated Malay...

 was formed. In 1909, Kedah
Kedah
Kedah is a state of Malaysia, located in the northwestern part of Peninsular Malaysia. The state covers a total area of over 9,000 km², and it consists of the mainland and Langkawi. The mainland has a relatively flat terrain, which is used to grow rice...

, Kelantan
Kelantan
Kelantan is a state of Malaysia. The capital and royal seat is Kota Bharu. The Arabic honorific of the state is Darul Naim, ....

, Terengganu
Terengganu
Terengganu is a sultanate and constitutive state of federal Malaysia. The state is also known by its Arabic honorific, Darul Iman...

 and Perlis
Perlis
Perlis is the smallest state in Malaysia. It lies at the northern part of the west coast of Peninsular Malaysia and has Satun and Songkhla Provinces of Thailand on its northern border. It is bordered by the state of Kedah to the south...

 were handed over
Anglo-Siamese Treaty of 1909
The Anglo-Siamese Treaty of 1909 or Bangkok Treaty of 1909 was a treaty between the United Kingdom and the Kingdom of Siam signed on March 10, 1909, in Bangkok. Ratifications were exchanged in London on July 9, 1909....

 by Siam to the British. These states along with Johor
Johor
Johor is a Malaysian state, located in the southern portion of Peninsular Malaysia. It is one of the most developed states in Malaysia. The state capital city and royal city of Johor is Johor Bahru, formerly known as Tanjung Puteri...

, later became known as Unfederated Malay States
Unfederated Malay States
The term Unfederated Malay States was the collective name given to five British protected states in the Malay peninsula in the first half of the twentieth century. These states were Johor, Kedah, Kelantan, Perlis, and Terengganu...

. During the World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, all these British possessions collectively known as British Malaya
British Malaya
British Malaya loosely described a set of states on the Malay Peninsula and the Island of Singapore that were brought under British control between the 18th and the 20th centuries...

 were occupied by the Empire of Japan
Empire of Japan
The Empire of Japan is the name of the state of Japan that existed from the Meiji Restoration on 3 January 1868 to the enactment of the post-World War II Constitution of...

.

The decline of the Bruneian Empire culminated in the 19th century, when Brunei lost much of its territory to the White Rajahs of Sarawak
Sarawak
Sarawak is one of two Malaysian states on the island of Borneo. Known as Bumi Kenyalang , Sarawak is situated on the north-west of the island. It is the largest state in Malaysia followed by Sabah, the second largest state located to the North- East.The administrative capital is Kuching, which...

. Brunei was a British protectorate from 1888 to 1984.

Following the Anglo-Dutch Treaty of 1824
Anglo-Dutch Treaty of 1824
The Anglo-Dutch Treaty of 1824, also known as the Treaty of London, was a treaty signed between the United Kingdom and the Netherlands in London on 17 March 1824. The treaty was to resolve disputes arising from the execution of the Anglo-Dutch Treaty of 1814...

 which divided the Malay Archipelago
Malay Archipelago
The Malay Archipelago refers to the archipelago between mainland Southeastern Asia and Australia. The name was derived from the anachronistic concept of a Malay race....

 into British zone in the north and a Dutch zone in the south, all Malay sultanates in Sumatra and Southern Borneo became part of Dutch East Indies
Dutch East Indies
The Dutch East Indies was a Dutch colony that became modern Indonesia following World War II. It was formed from the nationalised colonies of the Dutch East India Company, which came under the administration of the Netherlands government in 1800....

. Though some of Malay sultans maintain their power under Dutch control, some were abolished by the Dutch colonial government, like the case of Riau Sultanate in 1911. Since the establishment of Republic of Indonesia as a unitary state
Unitary state
A unitary state is a state governed as one single unit in which the central government is supreme and any administrative divisions exercise only powers that their central government chooses to delegate...

 in 1950, all traditional Malay monarchies were abolished, and the Sultans positions reduced to titular head
Titular head
A titular ruler, or titular head, is a person in an official position of leadership who possesses few, if any, actual powers. Sometimes a person may inhabit a position of titular leadership and yet exercise more power than would normally be expected, as a result of their personality or experience...

s or pretender
Pretender
A pretender is one who claims entitlement to an unavailable position of honour or rank. Most often it refers to a former monarch, or descendant thereof, whose throne is occupied or claimed by a rival, or has been abolished....

s.

Malay nationalism



The earliest and most influential instruments of Malay national awakening were the periodicals which politicized the position of the Malays in the face of colonialism and alien immigration of non-Malays. In spite of repressions imposed by the British colonial government, there were no less than 147 journals and newspapers published in Malaya
British Malaya
British Malaya loosely described a set of states on the Malay Peninsula and the Island of Singapore that were brought under British control between the 18th and the 20th centuries...

 between 1876 and 1941. Among notable periodicals were Al-Imam (1906), Pengasuh (1920), Majlis (1935) and Utusan Melayu (1939). The rise of Malay nationalism was largely mobilized by three nationalist factions – the radicals distinguishable into the Malay left and the Islamic group which were both opposed to the conservative elites.

The Malay leftists were represented by Kesatuan Melayu Muda
Kesatuan Melayu Muda
Kesatuan Melayu Muda was the first national political establishment in British Malaya. Ibrahim Yaacob played a huge role in founding the union in 1938 in Kuala Lumpur, then the capital of the Federated Malay States. The main goal of the union was to unite all Malays regardless of origin and fight...

, formed in 1938 by a group of Malay intelligentsia primarily educated in Sultan Idris Training College, with an ideal of Greater Indonesia
Greater Indonesia
Greater Indonesia or in the Malay language, Indonesia Raya or Melayu Raya was a political concept that sought to bring the so-called Malay race together by uniting the British territories on the Malay Peninsula and North Borneo that formed Malaysia with the Dutch East Indies...

. In 1945, they reorganized themselves into a political party known as Partai Kebangsaan Melayu Malaya (PKMM). The Islamists were originally represented by Kaum Muda consisted of Middle east –educated scholars with Pan-Islamic
Pan-Islamism
Pan-Islamism is a political movement advocating the unity of Muslims under one Islamic state — often a Caliphate. As a form of religious nationalism, Pan-Islamism differentiates itself from other pan-nationalistic ideologies, for example Pan-Arabism, by excluding culture and ethnicity as primary...

 sentiment. The first Islamic political party was Partai Orang Muslimin Malaya (Hizbul Muslimin) formed in March 1948, later succeeded by Pan-Malayan Islamic Party in 1951. The third group was the conservatives consisted of the westernized elites who were bureaucrats and members of royal families that shared a common English education mostly at the exclusive Malay College Kuala Kangsar
Malay College Kuala Kangsar
The Malay College Kuala Kangsar is a residential school in Malaysia. It is an all-boys and all-Malay school located in the royal town of Kuala Kangsar, Perak...

. They formed voluntary organizations known as Malay Associations in various parts of the country and their primary goals were to advance the interests of Malays as well as requesting British protection on Malay positions. In March 1946, 41 of these Malay associations formed United Malays National Organisation
United Malays National Organisation
The United Malays National Organisation, is Malaysia's largest political party; a founding member of the National Front coalition, which has played a dominant role in Malaysian politics since independence....

 (UMNO), to assert Malay dominance over Malaya.

The Malay and Malayness has been a fundamental basis for Malay ideology and Malay nationalism in Malaysia. All three Malay nationalist factions believed in the idea of a "Malay Nation" (Bangsa Melayu) and the position of Malay language, but disagreed over the role of Islam and Malay rulers. The conservatives supported Malay language
Malay language
Malay is a major language of the Austronesian family. It is the official language of Malaysia , Indonesia , Brunei and Singapore...

, Islam
Malay Islamic identity
Approximately 99.9% of modern Malays are adherents of Sunni Islam.- History :Malays were originally animists who believed that everything possessed a semangat...

 and Malay monarchy as constituting the key pillars of Malayness, but within a secular state that restricted the political role of Islam. The leftists concurred with the secular state
Secular state
A secular state is a concept of secularism, whereby a state or country purports to be officially neutral in matters of religion, supporting neither religion nor irreligion. A secular state also claims to treat all its citizens equally regardless of religion, and claims to avoid preferential...

 but wanted to end feudalism
Feudalism
Feudalism was a set of legal and military customs in medieval Europe that flourished between the 9th and 15th centuries, which, broadly defined, was a system for ordering society around relationships derived from the holding of land in exchange for service or labour.Although derived from the...

, whereas the Islamic group favoured ending royalty but sought a much larger role of Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

.

The demise of the Malay sultanates in East Sumatra during the "Social revolution" of 1946, drastically influenced their Malayan counterparts and politically motivating them against the PKMM's ideal of Greater Indonesia
Greater Indonesia
Greater Indonesia or in the Malay language, Indonesia Raya or Melayu Raya was a political concept that sought to bring the so-called Malay race together by uniting the British territories on the Malay Peninsula and North Borneo that formed Malaysia with the Dutch East Indies...

 and the Islamists' vision of Islamic Republic
Islamic republic
Islamic republic is the name given to several states in the Muslim world including the Islamic Republics of Pakistan, Iran, Afghanistan, and Mauritania. Pakistan adopted the title under the constitution of 1956. Mauritania adopted it on 28 November 1958. Iran adopted it after the 1979 Iranian...

. In March 1946, UMNO emerged with the full support of the Malay sultans. The new movement forged a close political link between rulers and subjects never before achieved. It generated an excited Malay public opinion which, together with the surprising political apathy of the non-Malays, led to Britain’s abandonment of the radical Malayan Union
Malayan Union
The Malayan Union was a federation of the Malay states and the Straits Settlements of Penang and Malacca. It was the successor to British Malaya and was conceived to unify the Malay Peninsula under a single government so as to simplify administration. The Malayan Union later became the independent...

 plan. By July, UMNO succeeded in obtaining an agreement with the British to begin negotiations for a new constitution. Negotiations continued from August to November, between British officials on the one hand, and the Sultans' representatives and UMNO and the other.

Two years later the semi independent Federation of Malaya
Federation of Malaya
The Federation of Malaya is the name given to a federation of 11 states that existed from 31 January 1948 until 16 September 1963. The Federation became independent on 31 August 1957...

 was born, which reflected a clear victory for Malay interests. The new constitutional arrangement largely reverted to the basic pattern of pre-war colonial rule and built on the supremacy of the individual Malay states. Malay rights and privileges were safeguarded. The traditional Malay rulers thus retained their prerogatives, while their English-educated descendants came to occupy positions of authority at the centre, which was being progressively decolonized. In August 1957, the Federation of Malaya
Federation of Malaya
The Federation of Malaya is the name given to a federation of 11 states that existed from 31 January 1948 until 16 September 1963. The Federation became independent on 31 August 1957...

, the West’s last major dependency in Southeast Asia, attained independence in a peaceful transfer of power. The federation was reconstituted as Malaysia with the addition in 1963 of Singapore
Singapore
Singapore , officially the Republic of Singapore, is a Southeast Asian city-state off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, north of the equator. An island country made up of 63 islands, it is separated from Malaysia by the Straits of Johor to its north and from Indonesia's Riau Islands by the...

 (separated in 1965), Sabah
Sabah
Sabah is one of 13 member states of Malaysia. It is located on the northern portion of the island of Borneo. It is the second largest state in the country after Sarawak, which it borders on its southwest. It also shares a border with the province of East Kalimantan of Indonesia in the south...

 and Sarawak
Sarawak
Sarawak is one of two Malaysian states on the island of Borneo. Known as Bumi Kenyalang , Sarawak is situated on the north-west of the island. It is the largest state in Malaysia followed by Sabah, the second largest state located to the North- East.The administrative capital is Kuching, which...

.

Language


The Malay language is one of the major languages of the world and of the Austronesian family. Variants and dialects of Malay are used as an official language in Brunei
Brunei
Brunei , officially the State of Brunei Darussalam or the Nation of Brunei, the Abode of Peace , is a sovereign state located on the north coast of the island of Borneo, in Southeast Asia...

, Malaysia, Indonesia
Indonesia
Indonesia , officially the Republic of Indonesia , is a country in Southeast Asia and Oceania. Indonesia is an archipelago comprising approximately 13,000 islands. It has 33 provinces with over 238 million people, and is the world's fourth most populous country. Indonesia is a republic, with an...

 and Singapore
Singapore
Singapore , officially the Republic of Singapore, is a Southeast Asian city-state off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, north of the equator. An island country made up of 63 islands, it is separated from Malaysia by the Straits of Johor to its north and from Indonesia's Riau Islands by the...

. The language is also spoken in Thailand
Thailand
Thailand , officially the Kingdom of Thailand , formerly known as Siam , is a country located at the centre of the Indochina peninsula and Southeast Asia. It is bordered to the north by Burma and Laos, to the east by Laos and Cambodia, to the south by the Gulf of Thailand and Malaysia, and to the...

, Cocos Island
Cocos Island
Cocos Island is an uninhabited island located off the shore of Costa Rica . It constitutes the 11th district of Puntarenas Canton of the province of Puntarenas. It is one of the National Parks of Costa Rica...

, Christmas Island
Christmas Island
The Territory of Christmas Island is a territory of Australia in the Indian Ocean. It is located northwest of the Western Australian city of Perth, south of the Indonesian capital, Jakarta, and ENE of the Cocos Islands....

, Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka, officially the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka is a country off the southern coast of the Indian subcontinent. Known until 1972 as Ceylon , Sri Lanka is an island surrounded by the Indian Ocean, the Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Strait, and lies in the vicinity of India and the...

. It is spoken natively by approximately 33 million people throughout the Malay Archipelago
Malay Archipelago
The Malay Archipelago refers to the archipelago between mainland Southeastern Asia and Australia. The name was derived from the anachronistic concept of a Malay race....

 and is used as a second language by an estimated 220 million.

The spread of the Malay language began with the suzerainty of the Srivijaya empire and accelerated under Malacca sultanate. At the height of Malacca’s power in the 15th century, it spread eastward to areas far beyond Malacca’s control, such as Ternate
Ternate
Ternate is an island in the Maluku Islands of eastern Indonesia. It is located off the west coast of the larger island of Halmahera, the center of the powerful former Sultanate of Ternate....

 and Tidore
Tidore
Tidore is a city, island, and archipelago in the Maluku Islands of eastern Indonesia, west of the larger island of Halmahera. In the pre-colonial era, the kingdom of Tidore was a major regional political and economic power, and a fierce rival of nearby Ternate, just to the north.-Geography:Tidor...

 in the northern Moluccas. Malay became the language of court and literature in kingdoms outside traditional Malay speaking areas. Under the Sultanate of Malacca, the language evolved into a form recognizable to speakers of modern Malay.

In the age of learned languages, Malay was one of the three major learned languages of Islamic scholarship. European writers of the 17th and 18th centuries, such as Tavernier
Jean-Baptiste Tavernier
Jean-Baptiste Tavernier was a French traveller and pioneer of trade with India, and travels through Persia , most known for works in two quarto volumes, Les Six Voyages de Jean-Baptiste Tavernier and diamond merchant for some important diamonds of the century...

, Thomassin
Louis Thomassin
Louis Thomassin was a French theologian and Oratorian.-Life:At the age of thirteen he entered the Oratory and for some years was professor of literature in various colleges of the congregation, of theology at Saumur, and finally in the seminary of Saint Magloire, in Paris, where he remained until...

 and Werndly describe Malay as "language of the learned in all the Indies, like Latin in Europe". It is also the most widely used during British and Dutch colonial era in the Malay Archipelago.

The dialect of Johor Sultanate
Johor Sultanate
The Sultanate of Johor was founded by Malaccan Sultan Mahmud Shah's son, Sultan Alauddin Riayat Shah II in 1528. Johor was part of the Malaccan Sultanate before the Portuguese conquered Malacca's capital in 1511...

 or Johor-Riau is the standard speech among Malays in Singapore
Singapore
Singapore , officially the Republic of Singapore, is a Southeast Asian city-state off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, north of the equator. An island country made up of 63 islands, it is separated from Malaysia by the Straits of Johor to its north and from Indonesia's Riau Islands by the...

 and Malaysia, and it formed the original basis for the standardized Indonesian language
Indonesian language
Indonesian is the official language of Indonesia. Indonesian is a normative form of the Riau Islands dialect of Malay, an Austronesian language which has been used as a lingua franca in the Indonesian archipelago for centuries....

. In the Malay Peninsula, the Kelantanese dialect in its purest form is the most difficult to understand. Other peninsular dialects include the Kedahan
Kedah Malay
Kedah Malay is a form of Malay spoken in the Malaysian states of Kedah, Penang, Perak, and Perlis. It is also spoken in Thailand's southern province of Satun, where it is called "Satun Malay"....

 dialect, the Melakan dialect, the Negeri Sembilan
Negeri Sembilan Malay language
The Negeri Sembilan Malay is an Austronesian language, spoken by the people of Negeri Sembilan in Malaysia. It is closely related to the Minangkabau language of Sumatra, Indonesia....

 dialect, the Perak dialect, the Pahangite dialect and the Terengganu dialect. In Thailand
Thailand
Thailand , officially the Kingdom of Thailand , formerly known as Siam , is a country located at the centre of the Indochina peninsula and Southeast Asia. It is bordered to the north by Burma and Laos, to the east by Laos and Cambodia, to the south by the Gulf of Thailand and Malaysia, and to the...

, Malays of Satun
Satun
Satun is a town in southern Thailand, capital of the Satun Province. It covers the whole tambon Phiman of Mueang Satun district. As of 2005 it has a population of 21,498....

 speak the Kedahan dialect while those in the Patani provinces speak the Kelantanese lingo. In Brunei
Brunei
Brunei , officially the State of Brunei Darussalam or the Nation of Brunei, the Abode of Peace , is a sovereign state located on the north coast of the island of Borneo, in Southeast Asia...

, there are varieties of Malay dialects in use; Royal Malay, Kedayan, Kampong Ayer, Bazaar Malay and Brunei Malay.

The Malay language was historically written in Pallava, Kawi and Rencong
Rencong script
]Rencong script is a writing system used to write Malay in Sumatra . The script lasted until the 18th century which was before the Dutch colonised Indonesia. It was gradually replaced by the Jawi script, a slightly modified Arabic script.The Malay used Rencong or Rencang script, Kawi script and...

. After the arrival of Islam, Arabic-based Jawi script was adopted and is still in use today as a co-official script in Malaysia and Brunei
Brunei
Brunei , officially the State of Brunei Darussalam or the Nation of Brunei, the Abode of Peace , is a sovereign state located on the north coast of the island of Borneo, in Southeast Asia...

. Starting from 17th century, as a result of British and Dutch colonization, Jawi was gradually replaced by Rumi script and eventually became the official modern script for Malay language in Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia (co-official in Brunei).

Literature


The rich oral literature and classical literature of the Malays contain a great number of portraits of the people, from the servant to the minister, from the judge to the Raja
Raja
Raja is an Indian term for a monarch, or princely ruler of the Kshatriya varna...

s, from the ancient to the very contemporary periods, which together form the amorphous identity of the Malays.

Considering the softness and mellifluence of the Malay language, which lends itself easily to the requirements of rhyme and rhythm, the originality and beauty in Malay literature can be assessed in its poetical elements. Among the forms of poetry in Malay literature are – the Pantun
Pantun
The pantun is a Malay poetic form. The pantun originated as a traditional oral form of expression. The first examples to be recorded appear in the 15th century in the Malay Annals and the Hikayat Hang Tuah. The most common theme is love....

, Syair
Syair
Syair is a form of traditional Malay poetry that made up of four-line stanzas or quatrains. The syair can be a narrative poem, a didactic poem, or a poem used to convey ideas on religion or philosophy, or even one to describe historical event....

 and Gurindam
Gurindam
Gurindam is a type of irregular verse forms of traditional Malay poetry. It is a combination of two clauses where the relative clause forms a line and is thus linked to the second line, or the main clause. Each pair of lines provides complete ideas within the pair and has the same rhyme in its end...

.

The earliest form of Malay literature was the oral literature
Oral literature
Oral literature corresponds in the sphere of the spoken word to literature as literature operates in the domain of the written word. It thus forms a generally more fundamental component of culture, but operates in many ways as one might expect literature to do...

 and its central subjects are traditional folklore
Folklore
Folklore consists of legends, music, oral history, proverbs, jokes, popular beliefs, fairy tales and customs that are the traditions of a culture, subculture, or group. It is also the set of practices through which those expressive genres are shared. The study of folklore is sometimes called...

 relating to nature
Nature
Nature, in the broadest sense, is equivalent to the natural world, physical world, or material world. "Nature" refers to the phenomena of the physical world, and also to life in general...

, animals and people. The folklore were memorized and passed from one generation of storytellers to the next. Many of these tales were also written down by penglipur lara (storytellers) for example: Hikayat Malim Dewa, Hikayat Malim Deman, Hikayat Raja Donan, Hikayat Anggun Cik Tunggal, and Hikayat Awang Sulung Merah Muda.

When Indian influences made their way to the Malay Archipelago around 1700 years ago, Malay literature began incorporating Indian elements. Literature of this time is mostly translations of Sanskrit literature
Sanskrit literature
Literature in Sanskrit begins with the Vedas, and continues with the Sanskrit Epics of Iron Age India; the golden age of Classical Sanskrit literature dates to late Antiquity . Literary production saw a late bloom in the 11th century before declining after 1100 AD...

 and romances, or at least some productions inspired by such, and is full of allusions to Hindu mythology
Hindu mythology
Hindu religious literature is the large body of traditional narratives related to Hinduism, notably as contained in Sanskrit literature, such as the Sanskrit epics and the Puranas. As such, it is a subset of Nepali and Indian culture...

. Probably to this early time may be traced such works as Hikayat Seri Rama
Hikayat Seri Rama
Hikayat Seri Rama is the Malay literary adaptation of the Hindu Ramayana epic. The main story remains the same as the original Sanskrit version but some aspects of it were slightly modified to a local context such as the spelling and pronunciation of names...

(a free translation of the Ramayana
Ramayana
The Ramayana is an ancient Sanskrit epic. It is ascribed to the Hindu sage Valmiki and forms an important part of the Hindu canon , considered to be itihāsa. The Ramayana is one of the two great epics of India and Nepal, the other being the Mahabharata...

), Hikayat Bayan Budiman
Hikayat Bayan Budiman
Hikayat Bayan Budiman is the Malay version of a tradition that begins with the Sanskrit Śukasaptati, The Parrot's Seventy Tales, an Indian work, in which a parrot tells 70 stories in order to prevent a woman from going on the wrong path. These chain stories, like the Arabian Nights, form the crux...

(an adaptation of Śukasaptati) and Hikayat Panca Tanderan
Hikayat Panca Tanderan
Hikayat Panca Tanderan is a hikayat in Malay language written by Abdullah bin Abdul Kadir. The hikayat was an adaptation of Panchatantra which was translated from Tamil language in 1835 with the help of a friend of Abdullah named Tambi Mutu Birapattar...

(an adaptation of Hitopadesha
Hitopadesha
Hitopadesha is a collection of Sanskrit fables in prose and verse written in the 12 century C.E. It is an independent treatment of the Panchatantra...

).

The era of classical Malay literature started after the arrival of Islam and the invention of Jawi script (Arabic based Malay script). Since then, Islamic beliefs and concepts began to make its mark on Malay literature. The Terengganu Inscription Stone
Terengganu Inscription Stone
Terengganu Inscription Stone is the oldest artifact with Jawi writing on it. The inscriptions, which are in Malay, believed to be written on 22 February 1303...

, which is dated to 1303, is the earliest known narrative Malay writing. The stone is inscribed with an account of history, law, and romance in Jawi script.

At its height, Malacca sultanate was not only the center of Islamization, but also the center of Malay cultural expressions including literature. During this era, notable Middle Eastern literary works
Islamic literature
Islamic literature is literature written with an Islamic perspective, in any language.The most well known fiction from the Islamic world was The Book of One Thousand and One Nights , which was a compilation of many earlier folk tales told by the Persian Queen Scheherazade...

 were translated and religious books were written in Malay language. Among famous translated works are Hikayat Muhammad Hanafiah
Hikayat Muhammad Hanafiah
Hikayat Muhammad Hanafiah is a Malay literary work that recounts the story of Muhammad ibn al-Hanafiyyah, half-brother of the martyrs of Shiism, Hasan and Husayn...

and Hikayat Amir Hamzah
Hikayat Amir Hamzah
Hikayat Amir Hamzah is a Malay literary work that chronicles the hero by the name Amir Hamzah. This book is one of the two Hikayat mentioned in Sejarah Melayu as one of the Hikayat used to encourage Malay warriors in their fight against invading Portuguese in Malacca in 1511.The manuscripts were...

.
The most important piece of Malay literary works is perhaps the famed Malay Annals or Sulalatus Salatin. It was called "the most famous, distinctive and best of all Malay literary works" by one of the most prominent scholars in Malay studies, Sir Richard O. Winstedt
Richard Olaf Winstedt
Sir Richard Olaf Winstedt , or more commonly R.O. Winstedt, was an English Orientalist and colonial administrator with expertise in British Malaya.-Early life and education:...

. The exact date of its composition and the identity of its original author are uncertain, but under the order of Sultan Alauddin Riaayat Shah III
Alauddin Riayat Shah III
Sultan Alauddin Riayat Shah III was the 6th Sultan of Johor who reigned from 1597 - 1615. He resided at the new capital of Johor at Batu Sawar, but later moved his administration to Pasir Raja around 1609...

 of Johor in 1612, Tun Sri Lanang
Tun Sri Lanang
Tun Muhammad bin Tun Ahmad, better known as Tun Sri Lanang, is the Bendahara of the royal Court of Johor Sultanate who lived between the 16th and 17th centuries...

 oversaw the editorial and compilation process of the Malay Annals.

In 19th century, the Malay literature received some notable additions through writings of Abdullah bin Abdul Kadir
Abdullah bin Abdul Kadir
Abdullah bin Abdul Kadir , also known as Munshi Abdullah, was a Malayan writer of Indian origin. He was a famous Malacca-born Indian munshi of Singapore and died in Jeddah, then part of the Ottoman Empire ....

, a famous Malacca
Malacca
Malacca , dubbed The Historic State or Negeri Bersejarah among locals) is the third smallest Malaysian state, after Perlis and Penang. It is located in the southern region of the Malay Peninsula, on the Straits of Malacca. It borders Negeri Sembilan to the north and the state of Johor to the south...

-born munshi
Munshi
Munshi was the Hindi-Urdu name of a contractor, writer or secretary, used in Mughal Empire and later British India of the native language teachers or secretaries employed by Europeans....

 of Singapore
Singapore
Singapore , officially the Republic of Singapore, is a Southeast Asian city-state off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, north of the equator. An island country made up of 63 islands, it is separated from Malaysia by the Straits of Johor to its north and from Indonesia's Riau Islands by the...

. Abdullah is regarded as the most cultured Malay who ever wrote, one of the greatest innovators in Malay letters and the father of modern Malay literature. His most important works are the Hikayat Abdullah
Hikayat Abdullah
Hikayat Abdullah was the major literary work of Abdullah bin Abdul Kadir, a Malacca-born Munshi of Singapore. It was completed in 1845 and first published in 1849, making it one of the first Malay literary texts being published commercially. Abdullah’s authorship was prominently displayed in this...

(an autobiography), Kisah Pelayaran Abdullah ke Kelantan
Kisah Pelayaran Abdullah ke Kelantan
Kisah Pelayaran Abdullah ke Kelantan was a Malay literary work of Abdullah bin Abdul Kadir...

(an account of his trip for the government to Kelantan
Kelantan
Kelantan is a state of Malaysia. The capital and royal seat is Kota Bharu. The Arabic honorific of the state is Darul Naim, ....

), and Kisah Pelayaran Abdullah ke Mekah
Kisah Pelayaran Abdullah ke Mekah
Kisah Pelayaran Abdullah ke Mekah was the last work of Abdullah bin Abdul Kadir. The work recounts Abdullah’s voyage from Singapore to Jeddah on his Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca...

(a narrative of his pilgrimage
Hajj
The Hajj is the pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia. It is one of the largest pilgrimages in the world, and is the fifth pillar of Islam, a religious duty that must be carried out at least once in their lifetime by every able-bodied Muslim who can afford to do so...

 to Mecca
Mecca
Mecca is a city in the Hijaz and the capital of Makkah province in Saudi Arabia. The city is located inland from Jeddah in a narrow valley at a height of above sea level...

 1854). His work was an inspiration to future generations of writers and marks an early stage in the transition from classical Malay literature to modern Malay literature.

Religion


In the beginning, Malays were animists
Animism
Animism refers to the belief that non-human entities are spiritual beings, or at least embody some kind of life-principle....

, believing in the existence of spirits
Ghost
In traditional belief and fiction, a ghost is the soul or spirit of a deceased person or animal that can appear, in visible form or other manifestation, to the living. Descriptions of the apparition of ghosts vary widely from an invisible presence to translucent or barely visible wispy shapes, to...

, known as semangat (spirit), in everything. Around the opening of the Christian era, Hinduism
Hinduism
Hinduism is the predominant and indigenous religious tradition of the Indian Subcontinent. Hinduism is known to its followers as , amongst many other expressions...

 and Mahayana Buddhism were introduced by Indian traders to the Malay Archipelago, where they flourished until the 13th century, just before the arrival of Islam brought by Arab, Indian and Chinese Muslim traders.

In the 15th century, Islam of the orthodox Sunni sect flourished in the Malay world under the Malacca Sultanate
Malacca Sultanate
Established by the Malay ruler Parameswara, the Sultanate of Malacca was first a Hindu kingdom in 1402 and later became Muslim following the marriage of the princess of Pasai in 1409. Centered in the modern town of Malacca, the sultanate bordered the Ayutthaya Kingdom of Siam in the north to...

. In contrast with Hinduism, which transformed early Malay society only superficially, Islam can be said to have really taken root in the hearts and minds of the Malays. Since this era, the Malays have traditionally had a close identification with Islam and they have not changed their religion since. This identity is so strong that it is said to become Muslim was to masuk Melayu (to become Malay).

Nevertheless, the earlier beliefs having deeper roots, they have maintained themselves against the anathemas of Islam – and indeed Sufism
Sufism
Sufism or ' is defined by its adherents as the inner, mystical dimension of Islam. A practitioner of this tradition is generally known as a '...

 or the mysticism
Mysticism
Mysticism is the knowledge of, and especially the personal experience of, states of consciousness, i.e. levels of being, beyond normal human perception, including experience and even communion with a supreme being.-Classical origins:...

 of Shia Islam have become intertwined among the Malays, with the spirits of the earlier animistic world and some elements of Hinduism.

Following the 1970s, Islamic revival
Islamic revival
Islamic revival refers to a revival of the Islamic religion throughout the Islamic world, that began roughly sometime in 1970s and is manifested in greater religious piety, and community feeling, and in a growing adoption of Islamic culture, dress, terminology, separation of the sexes, and values...

 (also referred as re-Islamization
Islamization
Islamization or Islamification has been used to describe the process of a society's conversion to the religion of Islam...

) throughout the Muslim world
Muslim world
The term Muslim world has several meanings. In a religious sense, it refers to those who adhere to the teachings of Islam, referred to as Muslims. In a cultural sense, it refers to Islamic civilization, inclusive of non-Muslims living in that civilization...

, many traditions that contravene the teaching of Islam and contain elements of shirk were abandoned by the Malays. Among these practices was the mandi
Mandi (bath)
Mandi refers to a traditional Indonesian or Malaysian way of bathing involving using a small container to scoop water out of a large container and pour water over the body, in such a way that this water does not go back into the large container....

 safar
festival (Safar
Safar
Safar is the second month in the Islamic calendar.The root of the name, صفر ṣafr, has three basic areas of meaning: 1) whistle, hiss, chirp; 2) be yellow, pale ; 3) to be empty, devoid, vacant...

 bath), a bathing festival to achieve spiritual purity, in which can be discerned features similar to some of those of the Durga Puja
Durga Puja
Durga puja ; দুর্গা পূজা,ଦୁର୍ଗା ପୂଜା,‘Worship of Durga’), also referred to as Durgotsava ; , is an annual Hindu festival in South Asia that celebrates worship of the Hindu goddess Durga. It refers to all the six days observed as Mahalaya, Shashthi, Maha Saptami, Maha Ashtami, Maha Navami and...

 of India.

Approximately 99.999% of modern Malays are the adherents of Sunni Islam and the most important Malay festivals are those of Islamic origin
Muslim holidays
There are two main holidays in Islam, Eid Al-Fitr and Eid Al-Adha. The way that holidays are recognized can vary across cultures, as well as across sects of Islam, Sunni and Shia. Muslim holidays generally follow the lunar calendar, and thus move each year relative to the solar calendar. The...

; Hari Raya Aidilfitri (Eid ul-Fitr
Eid ul-Fitr
Eid ul-Fitr, Eid al-Fitr, Id-ul-Fitr, or Id al-Fitr , often abbreviated to Eid, is a Muslim holiday that marks the end of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting . Eid is an Arabic word meaning "festivity," while Fiṭr means "breaking the fast"...

), Hari Raya Aidiladha (Eid al-Adha), Awal Muharram (Islamic New Year) and Maulidur Rasul (Mawlid
Mawlid
Mawlid or sometimes ميلاد , mīlād is a term used to refer to the observance of the birthday of the Islamic prophet Muhammad which occurs in Rabi' al-awwal,...

 – Birthday of the Prophet
Muhammad
Muhammad |ligature]] at U+FDF4 ;Arabic pronunciation varies regionally; the first vowel ranges from ~~; the second and the last vowel: ~~~. There are dialects which have no stress. In Egypt, it is pronounced not in religious contexts...

).

Architecture


Various cultural influences, notably Chinese
Culture of China
Chinese culture is one of the world's oldest and most complex. The area in which the culture is dominant covers a large geographical region in eastern Asia with customs and traditions varying greatly between towns, cities and provinces...

, Indian and Europeans, played a major role in forming Malay architecture. Until recent time, wood was the principal material used for all Malay traditional buildings. However, some remarkable stone structures
Stone structures
Stone structures, or "megaliths", have been erected by mankind for thousands of years. Many of these structures were built around the same time, the 3rd millennium BC.Some of the better-known ones:*Easter Island*Egyptian Pyramids*Medicine wheels...

 were also found and effectively restored particularly the religious complexes from the time of Srivijaya Empire and ancient isthmian
Kra Isthmus
The Kra Isthmus is the narrow land bridge which connects the Malay Peninsula with the mainland of Asia, and popularly named "The Devil's Neck".-Geography:...

 Malay kingdoms.

Candi Muara Takus
Candi Muara Takus
Muara Takus is a Buddhist temple complex, thought to belong to the Sriwijaya empire. It is situated in Kampar Regency in Riau province, Sumatra, Indonesia. Its surviving temples and other archaeological remains are thought to date to the eleventh and twelfth century AD...

 and Candi Muaro Jambi
Candi Muaro Jambi
Muaro Jambi is a Buddhist temple complex, in Jambi province, Sumatra, Indonesia. The temple complex was built by the Melayu Kingdom. It is situated 26 kilometers east from the city of Jambi. Its surviving temples and other archaeological remains are estimated to date from the eleventh to...

 in Sumatra
Sumatra
Sumatra is an island in western Indonesia, westernmost of the Sunda Islands. It is the largest island entirely in Indonesia , and the sixth largest island in the world at 473,481 km2 with a population of 50,365,538...

 are among the examples that associated with the architectural elements of Srivijaya Empire. However, the most of Srivijayan architecture was represented at Chaiya
Chaiya
Chaiya is a district and town in Surat Thani Province in southern Thailand. The town itself has a population of 13,133 , while the whole district has a population of 47,750.-Geography:...

 (now a province in Thailand
Thailand
Thailand , officially the Kingdom of Thailand , formerly known as Siam , is a country located at the centre of the Indochina peninsula and Southeast Asia. It is bordered to the north by Burma and Laos, to the east by Laos and Cambodia, to the south by the Gulf of Thailand and Malaysia, and to the...

) in Malay peninsular, which was without doubt a very important centre during the Srivijaya period. The type of structure consists of a cell-chamber to house the Buddha image and the summit of structure was erected in the form of stupa
Stupa
A stupa is a mound-like structure containing Buddhist relics, typically the remains of Buddha, used by Buddhists as a place of worship....

with successive, superimposed terraces which is the best example at Wat Pra Borom That of Chaiya.

There is also evidence of Hindu shrines or Candi
Candi
Candi may refer to:* Candi of Indonesia, an Indonesian word for stupa * Candi, Sidoarjo, a subdistrict of Sidoarjo, East Java, Indonesia* Candi & The Backbeat, a Canadian dance band, initially known as just Candi...

around south Kedah
Kedah
Kedah is a state of Malaysia, located in the northwestern part of Peninsular Malaysia. The state covers a total area of over 9,000 km², and it consists of the mainland and Langkawi. The mainland has a relatively flat terrain, which is used to grow rice...

 between the mount Jerai
Mount Jerai
Mount Jerai or formerly Kedah Peak is the highest mountain in the Malaysian state of Kedah with the height of . Within Kedah itself, the mountain stands at the border of Kuala Muda and Yan districts. The mountain is a massive limestone outcrop and is a lone feature from the surrounding geography...

 and the Muda River
Muda River
Muda River is the longest river in Kedah, Malaysia. The river provides water supply to Kedah and Penang....

 valley, an area known as Bujang Valley
Bujang Valley
The Bujang Valley or Lembah Bujang is a sprawling historical complex and has an area of approximately 224 square km. Situated near Merbok, Kedah, between Gunung Jerai in the north and Muda River in the south, it is the richest archaeological area in Malaysia.These archaeological remains show that...

. Within an area of about 350 square kilometers, 87 early historic religious sites have been reported and there are 12 candis located on mountain tops, a feature which suggests may derive from pre-historic Malay beliefs regarding sanctity of high places.

Early reference on Malay architecture in Malay peninsular can be found in several Chinese records. A 7th century Chinese account tells of Buddhist pilgrims calling at Langkasuka
Langkasuka
Langkasuka was an ancient Hindu Malay kingdom located in the Malay Peninsula...

 and mentioned the city as being surrounded by a wall on which towers had been built and was approached through double gates. Another 7th century account of a special Chinese envoy to Red Earth Kingdom in Malay peninsular, recorded that the capital city had three gates more than hundred paces apart, which were decorated with paintings of Buddhist themes and female spirits.

The first detailed description of Malay architecture was on the great wooden Istana
Istana
Istana is a Malay and Indonesian word meaning palace.-Notable Istanas:*Istana Besar, 19th and early 20th century residence of the Sultan of Johor*Istana Bogor, one of presidential palaces of Indonesia in Bogor, West Java...

(Palace
Palace
A palace is a grand residence, especially a royal residence or the home of a head of state or some other high-ranking dignitary, such as a bishop or archbishop. The word itself is derived from the Latin name Palātium, for Palatine Hill, one of the seven hills in Rome. In many parts of Europe, the...

) of Sultan Mansur Shah
Mansur Shah of Malacca
Sultan Mansur Shah was the sixth Sultan of Malacca. He ruled Malacca from 1459 to 1477. He ascended the throne after the death of his father, Muzaffar Shah.-Expansions of Malaccan Empire:Mansur Shah implemented a policy of expansionism during his rule...

 (reigned 1458–1477) of Malacca
Malacca Sultanate
Established by the Malay ruler Parameswara, the Sultanate of Malacca was first a Hindu kingdom in 1402 and later became Muslim following the marriage of the princess of Pasai in 1409. Centered in the modern town of Malacca, the sultanate bordered the Ayutthaya Kingdom of Siam in the north to...

. Based on the Sejarah Melayu
Sejarah Melayu
Sejarah Melayu or Malay Annals is a Malay literary work which covers a period of over 600 years that chronicles the, then and now, Genealogies of Rulers in the Malay Archipelago...

, the building had a raised seven bay structures on wooden pillars with a seven tiered roof in cooper shingles and decorated with gilded spires and Chinese glass mirrors.

The traditional Malay houses
Malay houses
Malay houses are traditional dwellings, originating before the arrival of foreign or modern influences, and constructed by the indigenous ethnic Malay and Orang Asli peoples of the Malay Peninsula and their related Bumiputra tribes of East Malaysia....

 are built using simple timber-frame
Timber framing
Timber framing , or half-timbering, also called in North America "post-and-beam" construction, is the method of creating structures using heavy squared off and carefully fitted and joined timbers with joints secured by large wooden pegs . It is commonplace in large barns...

 structure. It have pitched roofs, porch
Porch
A porch is external to the walls of the main building proper, but may be enclosed by screen, latticework, broad windows, or other light frame walls extending from the main structure.There are various styles of porches, all of which depend on the architectural tradition of its location...

es in the front, high ceilings, many openings on the walls for ventilation
Ventilation (architecture)
Ventilating is the process of "changing" or replacing air in any space to provide high indoor air quality...

, and are often embellished with elaborate wood carvings. The beauty and quality of Malay wood carvings were meant to serve as visual indicators of the social rank and status of the owners themselves.

Several design elements of traditional Malay architecture are adapted to modern structures to reflect the Malaysian identity. The stilt elevated undulating roof structure of the KLIA is supposed to imitate the traditional Malay-styled raised kampung houses. Wood, an important element in traditional Malay buildings, is also reinterpreted and readapted in modern landscape in the KLIA and Putrajaya
Putrajaya
Putrajaya is a planned city, located 25km south of Kuala Lumpur, that serves as the federal administrative centre of Malaysia. The seat of government was shifted in 1999 from Kuala Lumpur to Putrajaya, due to the overcrowding and congestion in the Kuala Lumpur areas...

. In Putrajaya, the Prime Minister
Prime Minister of Malaysia
The Prime Minister of Malaysia is the indirectly elected head of government of Malaysia. He is officially appointed by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, the head of state, who in HM's judgment is likely to command the confidence of the majority of the members of that House of Representatives , the...

’s office is lined with wood panels to achieve the design goal. The underside of the KLIA’s domed roof structure is similarly “clad in narrow strips of wood” which the architect suggests, “alludes to vernacular Malaysian timber structures, reinterpreting traditional building methods and strengthening sense of local identity”. Non-architectural elements of the Malay heritage are also employed. The entrance to the Petronas Twin Towers
Petronas Twin Towers
The Petronas Towers are skyscrapers and twin towers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia...

 is adorned with contemporary Malay motifs adapted from traditional handicrafts, including Songket
Songket
Songket is a fabric that belongs to the brocade family of textiles of Indonesia, Malaysia, and Brunei. It is hand-woven in silk or cotton, and intricately patterned with gold or silver threads. The metallic threads stand out against the background cloth to create a shimmering effect...

and timber carvings inspired by images of the tropical rainforests.

Visual art


Wood carving is a part of classical Malay visual arts
Visual arts
The visual arts are art forms that create works which are primarily visual in nature, such as ceramics, drawing, painting, sculpture, printmaking, design, crafts, and often modern visual arts and architecture...

. The Malays had traditionally adorned their monuments, boats, weapons, tombs, musical instrument, and utensils by motives of flora, calligraphy, geometry and cosmic feature. The art is done by partially removing the wood using sharp tools and following specific patterns, composition and orders. The art form is seen as an act of devotion of the craftsmen to the creator and a gift to his fellowmen.

The art form is mainly contributed due to the abundance of timber on the Malay Archipelago
Malay Archipelago
The Malay Archipelago refers to the archipelago between mainland Southeastern Asia and Australia. The name was derived from the anachronistic concept of a Malay race....

 and also by the skillfulness of the woodcarvers that have allowed the Malays to practice woodcarving as a craft. The natural tropical settings where flora and fauna and cosmic forces is abundant has inspired the motives to be depict in abstract or styled form into the timber board. With the coming of Islam, geometric and Islamic calligraphy
Islamic calligraphy
Islamic calligraphy, colloquially known as Perso-Arabic calligraphy, is the artistic practice of handwriting, or calligraphy, and by extension, of bookmaking, in the lands sharing a common Islamic cultural heritage. This art form is based on the Arabic script, which for a long time was used by all...

 form were introduced in the wood carving. The woods used are typically from tropical hardwood species which is known to be durable and can resist the attacks of the fungi, power-boots beetles and termites.

A typical Malay traditional houses or mosque would have been adorned with more than 20 carved components The carving on the walls and the panels allow the air breeze to circulate effectively in and out of the building and can let the sunlight to light the interior of the structure. At the same time, the shadow cast by the panels would also create a shadow based on the motives adding the beauty on the floor. Thus, the carved components performed in both functional and aesthetic purposes.

Cuisine



Different Malay regions are all known for their unique or signature dishes – Terengganu
Terengganu
Terengganu is a sultanate and constitutive state of federal Malaysia. The state is also known by its Arabic honorific, Darul Iman...

 and Kelantan
Kelantan
Kelantan is a state of Malaysia. The capital and royal seat is Kota Bharu. The Arabic honorific of the state is Darul Naim, ....

 for their Nasi dagang
Nasi Dagang
Nasi dagang is a Malaysian and Southern Thai dish consisting of rice steamed in coconut milk, fish curry and extra ingredients such as fried shaved coconut, hard-boiled eggs and vegetable pickles.Nasi Dagang literally means "Trading Rice"...

, Nasi kerabu and Keropok lekor, Negeri Sembilan
Negeri Sembilan
Negeri Sembilan, one of the 13 states that constitutes Malaysia, lies on the western coast of Peninsular Malaysia, just south of Kuala Lumpur and borders Selangor on the north, Pahang in the east, and Malacca and Johor to the south....

 for its lemak-based dishes, Pahang
Pahang
Pahang is the third largest state in Malaysia, after Sarawak and Sabah, occupying the huge Pahang River river basin. It is bordered to the north by Kelantan, to the west by Perak, Selangor, Negeri Sembilan, to the south by Johor and to the east by Terengganu and the South China Sea.Its state...

 for its gulai tempoyak, Kedah
Kedah
Kedah is a state of Malaysia, located in the northwestern part of Peninsular Malaysia. The state covers a total area of over 9,000 km², and it consists of the mainland and Langkawi. The mainland has a relatively flat terrain, which is used to grow rice...

 for its northern-style Asam laksa, Malacca
Malacca
Malacca , dubbed The Historic State or Negeri Bersejarah among locals) is the third smallest Malaysian state, after Perlis and Penang. It is located in the southern region of the Malay Peninsula, on the Straits of Malacca. It borders Negeri Sembilan to the north and the state of Johor to the south...

 for its spicy Asam Pedas, and Brunei
Brunei
Brunei , officially the State of Brunei Darussalam or the Nation of Brunei, the Abode of Peace , is a sovereign state located on the north coast of the island of Borneo, in Southeast Asia...

 for its unique Ambuyat
Ambuyat
Ambuyat is a Bruneian dish derived from the interior trunk of the sago palm. It is a starchy bland substance, similar to tapioca starch. The Ambuyat is also one of the famous delicacy for the indigenous people of Sabah and Sarawak....

dish.

The main characteristic in traditional Malay cuisine is undoubtedly the generous use of spices. The coconut milk
Coconut milk
Coconut milk is the water that comes from the grated meat of a coconut. The colour and rich taste of the milk can be attributed to the high oil content. In many parts of the world, the term coconut milk is also used to refer to coconut water, the naturally occurring liquid found inside the hollow...

 is also important in giving the Malay dishes their rich, creamy character. The other foundation is belacan (shrimp paste), which is used as a base for sambal, a rich sauce or condiment made from belacan, chillies, onions and garlic. Malay cooking also makes plentiful use of lemongrass and galangal
Galangal
Galangal is a rhizome of plants of the genus Alpinia or Kaempferia in the ginger family Zingiberaceae, with culinary and medicinal uses originated from Indonesia...

.

Nearly every Malay meal is served with rice, the staple food
Staple food
A staple food is one that is eaten regularly and in such quantities that it constitutes a dominant portion of a diet, and that supplies a high proportion of energy and nutrient needs. Most people live on a diet based on one or more staples...

 in many other East Asian cultures. Although there are various type of dishes in a Malay meal, all are served at once, not in courses. Food is eaten delicately with the fingers of right hand, never with the left which is used for personal ablutions, and Malays rarely use utensils. Because most of Malay people are Muslims, Malay cuisine follows Islamic halal
Halal
Halal is a term designating any object or an action which is permissible to use or engage in, according to Islamic law. The term is used to designate food seen as permissible according to Islamic law...

 dietary law rigorously. Protein intake are mostly taken from beef, water buffalo, goat, and lamb meat, and also includes poultry and fishes. Pork and any non-halal meats, also alcohol is prohibited and absent from Malay daily diet.

Nasi Lemak
Nasi lemak
Nasi lemak is a dish sold in Malaysia, Brunei, Singapore, Riau Islands and Southern Thailand. The dish is considered the national dish and a national heritage of Malaysia. It is not to be confused with Nasi Dagang sold on the east coast of Malaysia or Terengganu and Kelantan although both dishes...

, rice cooked in rich coconut milk
Coconut milk
Coconut milk is the water that comes from the grated meat of a coconut. The colour and rich taste of the milk can be attributed to the high oil content. In many parts of the world, the term coconut milk is also used to refer to coconut water, the naturally occurring liquid found inside the hollow...

 probably is the most popular dish ubiquitous in Malay town and villages. Nasi lemak is considered as Malaysia's national dish
National dish
A national dish is a dish, food or a drink that is considered to represent a particular country, nation or region.A dish can become a national dish for a variety of reasons. It can be the national dish because it is a staple daily food for the majority of the population. It can also be the national...

. Another example is Ketupat
Ketupat
Ketupat or packed rice is a type of dumpling from Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines , and Singapore.-History:It is made from rice that has been wrapped in a woven palm leaf pouch and boiled...

 or nasi himpit, glutinous compressed rice cooked in palm leafes, is popular especially during Hari Raya or Eid ul-Fitr
Eid ul-Fitr
Eid ul-Fitr, Eid al-Fitr, Id-ul-Fitr, or Id al-Fitr , often abbreviated to Eid, is a Muslim holiday that marks the end of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting . Eid is an Arabic word meaning "festivity," while Fiṭr means "breaking the fast"...

. Various meats and vegetables could be made into Gulai
Gulai
Gulai is a type of food contained rich, spicy and succulent curry-like sauce. The main ingredients might be chicken, beef, mutton, various kinds of offals, fish and seafoods, and also vegetables such as cassava leafs and young jackfruit. The gulai sauce commonly have thick consistency with...

 or Kari
Curry
Curry is a generic description used throughout Western culture to describe a variety of dishes from Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Sri Lankan, Thai or other Southeast Asian cuisines...

, a type of curry dish with variations of spices mixtures that clearly display Indian influence already adopted by Malay people since ancient times. Laksa
Laksa
Laksa is a popular spicy noodle soup from the Peranakan culture, which is a merger of Chinese and Malay elements found in Malaysia and Singapore, and to a lesser extent Indonesia.- Origin :The origin of the name "laksa" is unclear...

, a hybrid of Malay and Peranakan Chinese cuisine is also a popular dish. Malay cuisine also adopted some their neighbors' cuisine traditions, such as rendang
Rendang
Rendang is a dish which originated from the Minangkabau ethnic group of Indonesia, and is now commonly served across the country. One of the characteristic foods of Minangkabau culture, it is served at ceremonial occasions and to honour guests...

 adopted from Minangkabau in Sumatra, and satay
Satay
Satay , or sate, is a dish of marinated, skewered and grilled meat, served with a sauce. Satay may consist of diced or sliced chicken, goat, mutton, beef, pork, fish, other meats, or tofu; the more authentic version uses skewers from the midrib of the coconut palm frond, although bamboo skewers are...

 from Java, however Malay people has developed their own distinctive taste and recipes.

Performing arts



The Malays have a diverse kind of music and dance which are fusions of different cultural influences. Typical genres range from traditional Malay folk dances dramas like Mak Yong
Mak Yong
Mak yong or mak yung is a traditional form of dance-drama from northern Malaysia, particularly the state of Kelantan. It was banned by the Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party in 1991 because of its animist and Hindu-Buddhist roots which pre-date Islam in the Asian region by far. In 2005 UNESCO declared mak...

 to the Arab-influenced Zapin
Zapin
Zapin is a dance form that is popular in Malaysia and in Indonesia, especially in Malay-populated provinces in Sumatera and West Kalimantan...

 dances. Choreographed movements also vary from simple steps and tunes in Dikir barat
Dikir barat
Dikir barat is a musical form, native to the Malay Peninsula, that involves singing in groups—often in a competitive setting with instrumental accompaniment...

 to the complicated moves in Joget
Joget
Joget is a traditional Malay dance that originated in Malacca. It was influenced by the Portuguese dance of Branyo which is believed to have been spread to Malacca during the spice trade. In Malacca, it is better known as Chakunchak...

 Gamelan
Gamelan
A gamelan is a musical ensemble from Indonesia, typically from the islands of Bali or Java, featuring a variety of instruments such as metallophones, xylophones, drums and gongs; bamboo flutes, bowed and plucked strings. Vocalists may also be included....

.

Traditional Malay music is basically percussive. Various kinds of gongs provide the beat for many dances. There are also drums of various sizes, ranging from the large rebana ubi used to punctuate important events to the small jingled-rebana (frame drum
Frame drum
A frame drum is a drum that has a drumhead width greater than its depth. Usually the single drumhead is made of rawhide or man-made materials. Shells are traditionally constructed of bent wood scarf jointed together; plywood and man-made materials are also used. Some frame drums have mechanical...

) used as an accompaniment to vocal recitations in religious ceremonies.

The Persian-influenced Nobat music became part of the Royal Regalia of Malay courts since the arrival of Islam in 12th century and only performed in important court ceremonies. Its orchestra includes the sacred and highly revered instruments of nehara (kettledrums), gendang (double-headed drums), nafiri (trumpet), serunai (oboe
Oboe
The oboe is a double reed musical instrument of the woodwind family. In English, prior to 1770, the instrument was called "hautbois" , "hoboy", or "French hoboy". The spelling "oboe" was adopted into English ca...

), and sometimes a knobbed gong
Gong
A gong is an East and South East Asian musical percussion instrument that takes the form of a flat metal disc which is hit with a mallet....

 and a pair of cymbals.

Indian influences are strong in a traditional shadow play
Shadow play
Shadow play or shadow puppetry Shadow puppets have a long history in China, India, Turkey and Java, and as a popular form of entertainment for both children and adults in many countries around the world. A shadow puppet is a cut-out figure held between a source of light and a translucent screen...

 known as Wayang Kulit where stories from Hindu epics; Ramayana
Ramayana
The Ramayana is an ancient Sanskrit epic. It is ascribed to the Hindu sage Valmiki and forms an important part of the Hindu canon , considered to be itihāsa. The Ramayana is one of the two great epics of India and Nepal, the other being the Mahabharata...

 & Mahabharata
Mahabharata
The Mahabharata is one of the two major Sanskrit epics of ancient India and Nepal, the other being the Ramayana. The epic is part of itihasa....

 form the main repertoire. There are four distinctive types of shadow puppet theater that can be found in Malay peninsular; Wayang Gedek, Wayang Purwa, Wayang Melayu and Wayang Siam.

Other well-known Malay performing arts are; Bangsawan
Bangsawan
Bangsawan is a type of traditional Malay opera. It was known to have developed from a sort of Indian theatre performance during the 19th century by visiting Indian travellers....

theatre, Dondang Sayang
Dondang Sayang
Dondang Sayang literally love ballad, originated in Melaka sometime in the 15th century, influenced by traditional Portuguese folk music. A typical group is made up of 4 musicians who perform on the violin, 2 rebana and a gong or tetawak. The chief musician is usually the violinist who plays a...

love ballad and Mak Inang
Mak Inang
Mak Inang is a traditional Malay dance that originated from the time of Malacca Sultanate. The dance is accompanied by a unique music which is believed to have been composed by the order of Sultan Mahmud Shah of Malacca....

dance from Malacca Sultanate
Malacca Sultanate
Established by the Malay ruler Parameswara, the Sultanate of Malacca was first a Hindu kingdom in 1402 and later became Muslim following the marriage of the princess of Pasai in 1409. Centered in the modern town of Malacca, the sultanate bordered the Ayutthaya Kingdom of Siam in the north to...

, Jikey
Jikey
Jikey is a traditional Malay dance drama that is popular in Kedah and Perlis, Malaysia. The dance drama is known as Yike in Cambodia and Likay in Thailand and popular in southern provinces of Satun and Phuket. It is believed to have originated from the singing of zikir among the Malays before it...

and Mek Mulung
Mek Mulung
Mek Mulung is a traditional Malay theater that unique to the northwest state of Kedah in Malaysia. It became popular since the late 18th century and incorporates most elements of Mak Yong, Menora and Hadrah. The theater features a repertoire of stories from local legends, which according to a...

theatre from Kedah
Kedah
Kedah is a state of Malaysia, located in the northwestern part of Peninsular Malaysia. The state covers a total area of over 9,000 km², and it consists of the mainland and Langkawi. The mainland has a relatively flat terrain, which is used to grow rice...

, Asyik
Asyik
Asyik is a classical royal court dance popular in Patani and Kelantan. According to Hikayat Patani, the dance was created in 1644 to entertain the grieving Ratu Kuning over the loss of her favorite bird...

dance and Menora
Menora (dance)
Menora is a type of dance drama of south Thailand origin and practiced mainly in the northern states of Malaysia and southern provinces of Thailand. Menora also known as Nora or Lakon Chatri in Thai language....

dance drama from Patani and Kelantan
Kelantan
Kelantan is a state of Malaysia. The capital and royal seat is Kota Bharu. The Arabic honorific of the state is Darul Naim, ....

, Ulek mayang
Ulek mayang
Ulek Mayang is a pre-Islamic traditional Malay dance which originated from the state of Terengganu in Malaysia. It is a type of worshipping dance in which a unique song is sung accompanied with a Malay orchestra comprising drums, gong, violin and accordion....

and Rodat
Rodat (dance)
Rodat is a Malay folk dance believed to have originated from the Middle east and brought to Terengganu by the Achehnese traders in the beginning of 19th century...

dance from Terengganu, Boria
Boria (theatre)
Boria is a form of Malay theatre of Indian origin which has through adaptive processes, become the one and only theatre of Malay community in Penang, Malaysia-History:...

theatre from Penang
Penang
Penang is a state in Malaysia and the name of its constituent island, located on the northwest coast of Peninsular Malaysia by the Strait of Malacca. It is bordered by Kedah in the north and east, and Perak in the south. Penang is the second smallest Malaysian state in area after Perlis, and the...

, Mukun dance from Brunei
Brunei
Brunei , officially the State of Brunei Darussalam or the Nation of Brunei, the Abode of Peace , is a sovereign state located on the north coast of the island of Borneo, in Southeast Asia...

 and Sarawak
Sarawak
Sarawak is one of two Malaysian states on the island of Borneo. Known as Bumi Kenyalang , Sarawak is situated on the north-west of the island. It is the largest state in Malaysia followed by Sabah, the second largest state located to the North- East.The administrative capital is Kuching, which...

 and Serampang Dua Belas dance from Serdang.

Traditional dress


In Malay culture, clothes and textiles are revered items of beauty, power and status. Numerous accounts in Malay hikayats stressed the special place occupied by textiles. The Malay handloom industry can be traced its origin since 13th century when the eastern trade route flourished under Sung Dynasty. Mention of locally made textiles as well as the predominance of weaving in Malay peninsular was made in various Chinese and Arab accounts. Among well-known Malay textiles are Songket
Songket
Songket is a fabric that belongs to the brocade family of textiles of Indonesia, Malaysia, and Brunei. It is hand-woven in silk or cotton, and intricately patterned with gold or silver threads. The metallic threads stand out against the background cloth to create a shimmering effect...

 and Batik
Malaysian batik
Malaysian Batik is batik textile art of Malaysia, especially on the east coast of Malaysia . The most popular motifs are leaves and flowers. Malaysian batik depicting humans or animals are rare because Islam norms forbid animal images as decoration. However, the butterfly theme is a common exception...

.

Common classical Malay attire for men consists of a baju (a long sleeve shirt), a small leg celana (trousers), a sarong
Sarong
A sarong or sarung is a large tube or length of fabric, often wrapped around the waist and worn as a kilt by men and as a skirt by women throughout much of South Asia, Southeast Asia, the Arabian Peninsula, the Horn of Africa, and on many Pacific islands. The fabric most often has woven plaid or...

 worn around the waist, and a tanjak or tengkolok (headgear
Headgear
Headgear, headwear or headdress is the name given to any element of clothing which is worn on one's head.Headgear serve a variety of purposes:...

). It was also common for a Malay warrior to have a Kris
Kris
The kris or keris is an asymmetrical dagger or sword nowadays most strongly associated with the culture of Indonesia, but also indigenous to Malaysia, Southern Thailand and Brunei. It is known as kalis in the southern Philippines. The kris is famous for its distinctive wavy blade , but many have...

 tucked into the front fold of sarong.

Traditional Malay dress varies between different regions but the most popular traditional dress in modern day are Baju Kurung
Baju Kurung
The baju kurung is a traditional Malay costume which loosely translated as "Enclosed Dress". This type of costume is the national dress of Brunei and Malaysia, and can also be found in Indonesia, Singapore and Thailand.-History:...

 (for women) and Baju Melayu
Baju melayu
Baju Melayu is a traditional Malay outfit for men. It literally translates as 'Malay shirt' and consists of two main parts. The first being the baju itself which has a raised stiff collar known as the cekak musang collar . The second part is the trousers...

 (for men), which both recognized as the national dress for Malaysia and Brunei
Brunei
Brunei , officially the State of Brunei Darussalam or the Nation of Brunei, the Abode of Peace , is a sovereign state located on the north coast of the island of Borneo, in Southeast Asia...

, and also worn by Malay communities in Singapore, Thailand and Indonesia.

In contrast to Baju Melayu which continued to be worn as ceremonial dress only, Baju Kurung is worn daily throughout the year by a majority of Malay women. Sighting of female civil servants, professional workers and students wearing Baju Kurung is common in Malaysia and Brunei.

Martial art



Silat Melayu and its variants can be found throughout the Malay world; Malay peninsular, Singapore, Riau Islands, Sumatra
Sumatra
Sumatra is an island in western Indonesia, westernmost of the Sunda Islands. It is the largest island entirely in Indonesia , and the sixth largest island in the world at 473,481 km2 with a population of 50,365,538...

 and coastal areas of Borneo
Borneo
Borneo is the third largest island in the world and is located north of Java Island, Indonesia, at the geographic centre of Maritime Southeast Asia....

. Archaeological evidence reveals that, by 6th century, formalized combat arts were being practiced in Malay peninsular and Sumatra. Earliest forms of Silat is believed to have been developed and used in the armed forces of ancient Malay kingdoms of Langkasuka
Langkasuka
Langkasuka was an ancient Hindu Malay kingdom located in the Malay Peninsula...

 (2nd century) and Srivijaya (7th century).

The influence of Malay empires of Srivijaya
Srivijaya
Srivijaya was a powerful ancient thalassocratic Malay empire based on the island of Sumatra, modern day Indonesia, which influenced much of Southeast Asia. The earliest solid proof of its existence dates from the 7th century; a Chinese monk, I-Tsing, wrote that he visited Srivijaya in 671 for 6...

 and Malacca Sultanate
Malacca Sultanate
Established by the Malay ruler Parameswara, the Sultanate of Malacca was first a Hindu kingdom in 1402 and later became Muslim following the marriage of the princess of Pasai in 1409. Centered in the modern town of Malacca, the sultanate bordered the Ayutthaya Kingdom of Siam in the north to...

 has contributed to the spread of this martial art in the Malay Archipelago
Malay Archipelago
The Malay Archipelago refers to the archipelago between mainland Southeastern Asia and Australia. The name was derived from the anachronistic concept of a Malay race....

. Through a complex maze of sea channels and river capillaries that facilitated exchange and trade throughout the region, Silat wound its way into the dense rainforest and up into the mountains. The legendary Laksamana
Laksamana
The Laksamana is a position within the armed forces, similar to the position of admiral in Malay people sultanates and in present-day countries like Malaysia and Indonesia...

 Hang Tuah
Hang Tuah
Hang Tuah is a legendary warrior/hero who lived during the reign of Sultan Mansur Shah of the Sultanate of Malacca in the 15th century. He was the greatest of all the laksamana, or sultan's admirals, and was known to be a ferocious fighter...

 of Malacca is one of the most renowned pesilat (Silat practitioner) in history and even considered by some as the father of Malay silat. Since the classical era, Silat Melayu underwent great diversification and formed what is today traditionally recognized as the source of Indonesian Pencak Silat
Pencak Silat
Pencak silat is an umbrella term for the indigenous martial arts created in Indonesia. The leading organization of pencak silat in Indonesia is IPSI...

.

Apart from Silat, Tomoi
Tomoi
Tomoi is an unarmed martial art from Malaysia. It is closely related to other Indochinese boxing styles, such as as muay Thai in Thailand, pradal serey in Cambodia, muay Lao in Laos and lethwei in Myanmar....

 is also practiced by the Malays mainly in the northern states of Malay peninsular. It is a variant of Indo-Chinese forms of kickboxing
Kickboxing
Kickboxing refers to a group of martial arts and stand-up combat sports based on kicking and punching, historically developed from karate, Muay Thai and western boxing....

 which is believed to have been spread in the Southeast Asian mainland since the time of Funan Empire (68 AD).

Traditional games



Traditional Malay games usually require craft skills and manual dexterity and can be traced their origins since the days of Malacca Sultanate. Sepak Raga and kite flying are among traditional games that were mentioned in the Malay Annals being played by nobilities and royalties of the Malay sultanate.

Sepak Raga is one of the most popular Malay games and has been played for centuries. Traditionally, Sepak raga was played in circle by kicking and keeps aloft the rattan ball using any part of the body except the arms and hands. It is now recognized as Malaysia’s national sport and played in the international sporting events such as Asian Games
Asian Games
The Asian Games, officially known as Asiad, is a multi-sport event held every four years among athletes from all over Asia. The Games were regulated by the Asian Games Federation from the first Games in New Delhi, India, until the 1978 Games. Since the 1982 Games they have been organised by the...

 and Southeast Asian Games
Southeast Asian Games
The Southeast Asian Games , is a biennial multi-sport event involving participants from the current 11 countries of Southeast Asia...

.

Other popular game is Gasing spinning
Top
A top is a toy that can be spun on an axis, balancing on a point. This motion is produced in the most simple forms of top by twirling the stem using the fingers. More sophisticated tops are spun by by holding the axis firmly while pulling a string or twisting a stick or pushing an auger as shown...

 which usually played after the harvest
Harvest
Harvest is the process of gathering mature crops from the fields. Reaping is the cutting of grain or pulse for harvest, typically using a scythe, sickle, or reaper...

 season. A great skill of craftsmanship is required to produce the most competitive Gasing (top), some of which spin for two hours at a time.

Possibly the most popular Malay games is the Wau
Wau bulan
Wau bulan is an intricately designed Malaysian moon-kite that is traditionally flown by men in the Malaysian state of Kelantan. It is one of Malaysia's national symbols, some others being the kris and hibiscus. The reverse side of the fifty-cent coin of Malaysia features an...

(a unique kind of kite from east coast of Malay peninsular) or kite flying. Wau-flying competitions take place with judges awarding points for craftsmanship (Wau are beautiful, colourful objects set on bamboo frames), sound (all Malay kite
Malay kite
The Malay kite is a model of tailless kite. First introduced to the West in a New York newspaper article from October 1894, the Malay kite was used for recreation for centuries before this in parts of the Far East. The article detailed how a university professor had erected a series of kites and...

s are designed to create a specific sound as they are buffeted about in the wind) and altitude.

The Malays also have a variant of Mancala
Mancala
Mancala is a family of board games played around the world, sometimes called "sowing" games, or "count-and-capture" games, which describes the game-play. Mancala games play a role in many African and some Asian societies comparable to that of chess in the West, or the game of Go in Eastern Asia...

 board game known as Congkak. The game is played by moving stones, marbles, beads or shells around a wooden board consisting of twelve or more holes. Mancala is acknowledged as the oldest game in the world and can be traced its origin since Ancient Egypt
Ancient Egypt
Ancient Egypt was an ancient civilization of Northeastern Africa, concentrated along the lower reaches of the Nile River in what is now the modern country of Egypt. Egyptian civilization coalesced around 3150 BC with the political unification of Upper and Lower Egypt under the first pharaoh...

. As the game dispersed around the globe, every culture has invented its own variation including the Malays.

Names and Titles



Malay personal names are complex, reflecting the hierarchical nature of the society, and titles are considered important. It has undergone tremendous change, evolving with the times to reflect the different influences that the Malays been subjected over the ages. Although some Malay names still retain parts of its indigenous Malay
Malay language
Malay is a major language of the Austronesian family. It is the official language of Malaysia , Indonesia , Brunei and Singapore...

 and Sanskrit influences, as Muslims, Malays have long favored Arabic names as marks of their religion.

Malay names are patronymic
Patronymic
A patronym, or patronymic, is a component of a personal name based on the name of one's father, grandfather or an even earlier male ancestor. A component of a name based on the name of one's mother or a female ancestor is a matronymic. Each is a means of conveying lineage.In many areas patronyms...

 and can be consisted of up to four parts; a title, a given name, the family name, and a description of the individual’s male parentage. Some given names and father's names can be composed of double names and even triple names, therefore generating a longer name. For example, one of the Malaysian national footballer has the full name Mohd Aidil Zafuan Abdul Radzak
Mohd Aidil Zafuan Abdul Radzak
Mohd Aidil Zafuan Abdul Radzak is a Malaysian footballer who currently plays as a Defender for Negeri Sembilan FA. He also a member of Malaysia national, Malaysia U-23 and former Malaysia U-20 squad...

, where 'Mohd Aidil Zafuan' is his triple given name and 'Abdul Radzak' is his father's double given name.

In addition to naming system, the Malay language
Malay language
Malay is a major language of the Austronesian family. It is the official language of Malaysia , Indonesia , Brunei and Singapore...

 also has a complex system of titles and honorifics, which are still extensively used in Malaysia and Brunei
Brunei
Brunei , officially the State of Brunei Darussalam or the Nation of Brunei, the Abode of Peace , is a sovereign state located on the north coast of the island of Borneo, in Southeast Asia...

. By applying these Malay titles
Malay titles
The Malay language has a complex system of titles and honorifics, which are still used extensively in Malaysia and Brunei. Singapore, whose Malay royalty was abolished by the British colonial government in 1891, has adopted civic titles for its leaders....

 to a normal Malay name, a more complex name is produced. The current Prime Minister of Malaysia
Prime Minister of Malaysia
The Prime Minister of Malaysia is the indirectly elected head of government of Malaysia. He is officially appointed by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, the head of state, who in HM's judgment is likely to command the confidence of the majority of the members of that House of Representatives , the...

 has the full name Dato' Seri Mohd Najib bin Tun Haji Abdul Razak
Najib Tun Razak
Dato' Sri Haji Mohd Najib bin Tun Haji Abdul Razak is the sixth, and since 2009, Prime Minister of Malaysia. He previously held the post of Deputy Prime Minister from 7 January 2004 until he succeeded Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi as Prime Minister on 3 April 2009. Najib is President of the United...

, where 'Dato' Seri' is a Malay title of honour, 'Mohd Najib' is his personal name, 'bin' is derived from an Arabic word Ibnu meaning "son of" if in case of daughter it is replaced with binti, an Arabic word "bintun" meaning "daughter of", introduces his father's titles and names, 'Tun' is a higher honour, 'Haji' denotes his father's Hajj
Hajj
The Hajj is the pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia. It is one of the largest pilgrimages in the world, and is the fifth pillar of Islam, a religious duty that must be carried out at least once in their lifetime by every able-bodied Muslim who can afford to do so...

 pilgrimage to Mecca
Mecca
Mecca is a city in the Hijaz and the capital of Makkah province in Saudi Arabia. The city is located inland from Jeddah in a narrow valley at a height of above sea level...

, and 'Abdul Razak' is his father's personal name.

The more extremely complex Malay names however, belong to the Malay royalties. The reigning Yang di-Pertuan Agong
Yang di-Pertuan Agong
The Yang di-Pertuan Agong is the head of state of Malaysia. The office was established in 1957 when the Federation of Malaya gained independence....

 of Malaysia has the full regnal name
Regnal name
A regnal name, or reign name, is a formal name used by some monarchs and popes during their reigns. Since medieval times, monarchs have frequently chosen to use a name different from their own personal name when they inherit a throne....

 Duli Yang Maha Mulia Al-Wathiqu Billah Tuanku Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin Ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Mahmud Al-Muktafi Billah Shah, while the reigning Sultan of Brunei officially known as Kebawah Duli Yang Maha Mulia Paduka Seri Baginda Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu'izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar 'Ali Saifuddien Sa'adul Khairi Waddien
Hassanal Bolkiah
General Haji Sir Hassan al-Bolkiah Mu'izzaddin Waddaulah GCB GCMG is the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam, the 29th Sultan of Brunei and the first Prime Minister of Brunei Darussalam...

.

Sub-ethnic groups


Ethnic group Historical realms Regions with significant population
Bangka-Belitung Malay
Bangka–Belitung Islands
Bangkok Malay
Bangkok
Bangkok
Bangkok is the capital and largest urban area city in Thailand. It is known in Thai as Krung Thep Maha Nakhon or simply Krung Thep , meaning "city of angels." The full name of Bangkok is Krung Thep Mahanakhon Amon Rattanakosin Mahintharayutthaya Mahadilok Phop Noppharat Ratchathani Burirom...

Bengkulu Malay
Bengkulu
Bengkulu
Bengkulu is a province of Indonesia. It is on the southwest coast of the island of Sumatra, and borders the provinces of West Sumatra, Jambi, South Sumatra and Lampung. The capital and largest city is Bengkulu city. It was formerly the site of a British garrison, which they called Bencoolen...

Berau Malays Berau Regency
Berau Regency
Berau Regency is one of the ten regencies in East Kalimantan province in Indonesia. The capital is Tanjung Redeb. It has an area of 34,127.47 km² and a population of 179,444 at the 2010 Census....

Bruneian Malay
  • Bruneian Empire
    Bruneian Empire
    The Bruneian Empire was founded in the early 7th century on the island of Borneo in Southeast Asia. The empire was ruled by pagan or Hindu kings converted into Muslims by Indian, Arab and merchants from the other parts of the Malay Archipelago who came to trade and spread Islam...

     (7th– 14th century)
  • Brunei Sultanate (1363–present)
 Brunei
 Labuan,  Kingdom of Sarawak,  Sabah
Bugis Malay
Assimilated Malay group of Bugis
Bugis
The Bugis are the most numerous of the three major linguistic and ethnic groups of South Sulawesi, the southwestern province of Sulawesi, Indonesia's third largest island. Although many Bugis live in the large port cities of Makassar and Parepare, the majority are farmers who grow wet rice on the...

 descent
  • Linggi Sultanate (1700–1777)
  • Selangor Sultanate
    Sultan of Selangor
    Sultan of Selangor is the title of the constitutional ruler of Selangor, Malaysia.-Bugis bloodline:The Sultans of Selangor are descended from a Bugis dynasty that claim descent from the rulers of Luwu in the southern part of Celebes...

     (1745–present)
  •  Selangor,  Johor,  Pahang
    Riau,
    Riau Islands
    Deli Malay
  • Asahan Sultanate
    Asahan Sultanate
    The Sultanate of Asahan was a Malay sultanate from approximately 1630 CE until 1946 CE. It was located in the north-east of the island of Sumatra, in what is now Indonesia and covered what is now the Asahan Regency....

     (1630–1946)
  • Deli Sultanate
    Sultanate of Deli
    Deli is a 1,820 km² state in east Sumatra founded in 1630. A tributary kingdom from 1630 until 1814, the state became a sultanate in 1814 when acquiring independence from Sultanate of Siak....

     (1630–present)
  • Langkat Sultanate
    Sultanate of Langkat
    The Sultanate of Langkat was a Muslim state located in modern Langkat Regency, North Sumatra. Although dating back to the pre-Islamic age, recorded history is available only from the 17th century.-References:...

     (1568–present)
  • Serdang Sultanate (1728–1946)
  • North Sumatera
    Jambi Malay
  • Jambi Kingdom (7th century)
  • Dharmasraya
    Dharmasraya
    Dharmasraya is a regency of West Sumatra, Indonesia....

     (1183–1347)
  • Jambi Sultanate (1460–1907)
  • Jambi
    Javanese Malay
    Assimilated Malay group of Javanese descent
     Johor,  Selangor
    Johorean Malay
  • Johor Sultanate
    Johor Sultanate
    The Sultanate of Johor was founded by Malaccan Sultan Mahmud Shah's son, Sultan Alauddin Riayat Shah II in 1528. Johor was part of the Malaccan Sultanate before the Portuguese conquered Malacca's capital in 1511...

     (1528–present)
  • Muar Sultanate (1707–1877)
  •  Johor
    Kedahan Malay
    Kedahan Malay
    Kedahan Malay is one of the largest Malay subethnic group. They are among the earliest settler in Malay Peninsular. This group comprised at least 15% of the total ethnic Malay population.- History :...

  • Bujang Valley
    Bujang Valley
    The Bujang Valley or Lembah Bujang is a sprawling historical complex and has an area of approximately 224 square km. Situated near Merbok, Kedah, between Gunung Jerai in the north and Muda River in the south, it is the richest archaeological area in Malaysia.These archaeological remains show that...

     Civilization
    Civilization
    Civilization is a sometimes controversial term that has been used in several related ways. Primarily, the term has been used to refer to the material and instrumental side of human cultures that are complex in terms of technology, science, and division of labor. Such civilizations are generally...

     (1st century)
  • Langkasuka
    Langkasuka
    Langkasuka was an ancient Hindu Malay kingdom located in the Malay Peninsula...

     (2nd −14th century)
  • Kedah Kingdom(Kedah Tua) (7th– 12th century)
  • Kedah Sultanate
    Kedah Sultanate
    The Sultanate of Kedah was the earliest sultanate on the Malay Peninsula and one of the oldest Sultanates in the world, founded in year 1136.-Kedah Kingdom:...

     (1136–present)
  • Perlis Kingdom
    Perlis
    Perlis is the smallest state in Malaysia. It lies at the northern part of the west coast of Peninsular Malaysia and has Satun and Songkhla Provinces of Thailand on its northern border. It is bordered by the state of Kedah to the south...

     (1842–present)
  •  Kedah,  Perlis,  Penang,  Perak
    Satun
    Satun Province
    Satun is one of the southern provinces of Thailand. Neighboring provinces are Trang, Phatthalung and Songkhla...

    , Trang
    Trang Province
    Trang is one of the southern provinces of Thailand, at the western shore of the Malay Peninsula to the Andaman Sea. Neighboring provinces are Krabi, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Phatthalung and Satun....

    , Krabi
    Krabi Province
    Krabi is one of the southern provinces of Thailand, at the shore of the Andaman Sea. Neighbouring provinces are Phang Nga, Surat Thani, Nakhon Si Thammarat and Trang. The Phuket province to the west is also neighbouring, but without any land boundary...

    , Phuket
    Phuket Province
    Phuket , formerly known as Thalang and, in Western sources, Junk Ceylon , is one of the southern provinces of Thailand...

    , Phang Nga
    Phang Nga Province
    Phang Nga is one of the southern provinces of Thailand, on the shore to the Andaman Sea. Neighboring provinces are Ranong, Surat Thani and Krabi. To the south is the Phuket province, but without land boundary to Phang Nga....

     
    Ranong
    Ranong Province
    Ranong is one of the southern provinces of Thailand, on the coast of the Andaman Sea. It is the province with the fewest citizens. Neighboring provinces are Chumphon, Surat Thani and Phang Nga...

    , Nakhon Si Thammarat
    Nakhon Si Thammarat Province
    Nakhon Si Thammarat is one of the southern provinces of Thailand, at the eastern shore of the Gulf of Thailand...

    , Phattalung 
    Songkhla
    Songkhla Province
    Songkhla is one of the southern provinces of Thailand. Neighboring provinces are Satun, Phatthalung, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Pattani and Yala. To the south it borders Kedah and Perlis of Malaysia....

    , Yala
    Yala Province
    Yala is the southernmost province of Thailand. Neighboring provinces are Songkhla, Pattani and Narathiwat. Yala is the only land-locked province in the south of Thailand...

     
    Tanintharyi Division
    Tanintharyi Division
    Tanintharyi Region , is an administrative region of Myanmar, covering the long narrow southern part of the country on the Kra Isthmus. It borders with the Andaman Sea to the west and with the Tenasserim Hills, beyond which lies Thailand, to the east. To the north is the Mon State. The capital of...

    Kelantanese Malay
    Kelantanese Malay
    Kelantanese Malay is the Malay dialect spoken in Kelantan state of Malaysia, as well as Besut district of Terengganu and the Perhentian Islands. Many people in district of Baling , Sik and Padang Terap in Kedah speak in a language similar to language spoken in Kelantan. It is sometimes...

  • Red Earth Kingdom (1st −6th century)
  • Kelantan Sultanate
    Sultan of Kelantan
    The Sultan of Kelantan is the constitutional head of Kelantan state in Malaysia. The current sultan, Muhammad V, is the 29th Sultan of Kelantan. He is the figurehead of Islam in the state and the source of all titles, honours and dignities of its people....

     (1267–present)
  • Jembal Sultanate (1638–1720)
  •  Kelantan
    Loloan Malay Jembrana Regency
    Malaccan Malay
  • Malacca Sultanate
    Malacca Sultanate
    Established by the Malay ruler Parameswara, the Sultanate of Malacca was first a Hindu kingdom in 1402 and later became Muslim following the marriage of the princess of Pasai in 1409. Centered in the modern town of Malacca, the sultanate bordered the Ayutthaya Kingdom of Siam in the north to...

     (1402–1511)
  •  Malacca
    Minangkabau Malay
    Assimilated Malay group of Minangkabau descent
  • Chiefdom of Negeri Sembilan
    Yamtuan Besar
    Yamtuan Besar, also known as Yang di-Pertuan Besar, is the royal title of the ruler of the Malaysian state of Negeri Sembilan. The ruler of Negeri Sembilan is selected by a council of ruling chiefs in the state, or the datuk-datuk undang. This royal practice has been followed since 1773...

     (1773–present)
  •  Negeri Sembilan,  Selangor
    Pahangite Malay
  • Pahang Sultanate
    Sultan of Pahang
    Sultan of Pahang is the title of the constitutional head of Pahang, Malaysia. The current sultan is Ahmad Shah. He is the Head of the Islam in the state and the source of all titles, honours and dignities in the state.-History:...

     (1470–present)
  •  Pahang
    Palembangnese Malay
  • Srivijaya
    Srivijaya
    Srivijaya was a powerful ancient thalassocratic Malay empire based on the island of Sumatra, modern day Indonesia, which influenced much of Southeast Asia. The earliest solid proof of its existence dates from the 7th century; a Chinese monk, I-Tsing, wrote that he visited Srivijaya in 671 for 6...

     (7th–13th century)
  • Palembang Sultanate (1550–1823)
  • South Sumatera
    Pattani Malay
  • Negara Sri Dharmaraja Kingdom
    Nakhon Si Thammarat kingdom
    Nakhon Si Thammarat Kingdom was one of the major constituent city states of the Siamese kingdoms of Sukhothai and later Ayutthaya and controlled a big part of the Malay peninsula...

     (1st Millenium–15th century)
  • Langkasuka
    Langkasuka
    Langkasuka was an ancient Hindu Malay kingdom located in the Malay Peninsula...

     (2nd −14th century)
  • Pattani Sultanate
    Pattani kingdom
    Pattani or Sultanate of Pattani was a Malay sultanate that covered approximately the area of the modern Thai provinces of Pattani, Yala, Narathiwat and much of the northern part of modern Malaysia. The King of Patani is believed to have converted to Islam some time during the 11th century...

     (1516–1771)
  • Singgora Sultanate (1603–1689)
  • Reman Sultanate (1785–1909)

  • Pattani
    Pattani
    Pattani may refer to* Pattani Province, in southern Thailand* Pattani , in southern Thailand* Pattani , which includes the above province** Pattani Kingdom, a former semi-independent kingdom...

    , Yala
    Yala Province
    Yala is the southernmost province of Thailand. Neighboring provinces are Songkhla, Pattani and Narathiwat. Yala is the only land-locked province in the south of Thailand...

    ,
    Narathiwat
    Narathiwat Province
    Narathiwat is one of the southern provinces of Thailand. Neighboring provinces are Yala and Pattani. To the south it borders the Malaysian state of Kelantan. The southern railway line ends in this province that is one of the nation’s five provinces that borders Malaysia. The name of this...

    , Songkhla
    Songkhla Province
    Songkhla is one of the southern provinces of Thailand. Neighboring provinces are Satun, Phatthalung, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Pattani and Yala. To the south it borders Kedah and Perlis of Malaysia....

    , Krabi
    Krabi Province
    Krabi is one of the southern provinces of Thailand, at the shore of the Andaman Sea. Neighbouring provinces are Phang Nga, Surat Thani, Nakhon Si Thammarat and Trang. The Phuket province to the west is also neighbouring, but without any land boundary...

     
     Kedah,  Kelantan
    Perakian Malay
    • Gangga Negara
      Gangga Negara
      Gangga Negara is believed to be a lost semi-legendary Hindu kingdom mentioned in the Malay Annals that covered present day Beruas, Dinding and Manjung in the state of Perak, Malaysia with Raja Gangga Shah Johan as one of its kings...

       (2nd – 11th century)
    • Perak Sultanate
      Sultan of Perak
      Sultan of Perak is one of the oldest hereditary seats among the Malay states.When the Sultanate of Malacca empire fell to Portugal in 1511, Sultan Mahmud Syah I retreated to Kampar, Sumatra and died there in 1528. He left behind two princes named Sultan Alauddin Riayat Shah II and Sultan Muzaffar...

       (1528–present)
     Perak
    Pontianak Malay
  • Tanjungpura Kingdom (880–1590)
  • Matam Sultanate (1590–1948)
  • Pontianak Sultanate
    Pontianak Sultanate
    Pontianak Sultanate or Kesultanan Pontianak is a monarchy in the province of Pontianak, Indonesia.-History:Pontianak Sultanate was founded in 1771 by explorers from Hadhramaut led by al-Sayyid Syarif Abdurrahman al-Kadrie, descendants of Imam Ali ar-Ridha...

     (1771–1950)
  • Sambas Sultanate
    Sultanate of Sambas
    Sambas was a traditional state in Indonesia in modern Borneo.-History:At first governed by governors, Sambas became kingdom in 1609 with the descendant of Sepudak. She married one of her daughters to a descendant of the Sultan of Brunei...

     (1675–1944)
  • West Kalimantan
    West Kalimantan
    West Kalimantan is a province of Indonesia. It is one of four Indonesian provinces in Kalimantan, the Indonesian part of the island of Borneo. Its capital city Pontianak is located right on the Equator....

    Riau Malay
  • Riau-Lingga Sultanate (1824–1911)
  • Siak Sultanate
    Sultanate of Siak Sri Indrapura
    Sultanate of Siak Sri Indrapura or often called Sultanate of Siak was a kingdom that located at Siak Regency, Riau from 1723-1946...

     (1725–1949)
  • Pelalawan Sultanate (1791–1946)
  • Indragiri Sultanate (1298–1963)
  • Riau,
    Riau Islands
    Sarawakian Malay
  • Sarawak Sultanate (1598–1641)
  •  Kingdom of Sarawak
    Singaporean Malay  Singapore
    Sri Lankan Malay  Sri Lanka
    Tamiang Malay
  • Bukit Karang Kingdom (1023–1330)
  • Benua Tamiang Sultanate (1330–1528)
  • Aceh Tamiang Regency
    Aceh Tamiang Regency
    Aceh Tamiang Regency is a regency in the Aceh province of Indonesia. The regency covers an area of 1,939 square kilometres and according to the 2000 census had a population of 234,611 people.The seat of the regency government is at Karang Baru....

    Terengganuan Malay
  • Terengganu Sultanate
    Sultan of Terengganu
    Sultan of Terengganu is the title of the constitutional head of Terengganu state in Malaysia. The current sultan, Mizan Zainal Abidin, is the seventeenth Sultan of Terengganu...

     (1708–present)
  •  Terengganu

    Etymology


    Ptolemy
    Ptolemy
    Claudius Ptolemy , was a Roman citizen of Egypt who wrote in Greek. He was a mathematician, astronomer, geographer, astrologer, and poet of a single epigram in the Greek Anthology. He lived in Egypt under Roman rule, and is believed to have been born in the town of Ptolemais Hermiou in the...

     (c. AD 90 – c. 168) in his work Geographia
    Geographia (Ptolemy)
    The Geography is Ptolemy's main work besides the Almagest...

     recorded about a cape
    Cape
    Cape can be used to describe any sleeveless outer garment, such as a poncho, but usually it is a long garment that covers only the back half of the wearer, fastening around the neck. They were common in medieval Europe, especially when combined with a hood in the chaperon, and have had periodic...

     in Aurea Chersonesus or Golden Chersonese
    Golden Chersonese
    Golden Khersonese, Chersonesus Aurea, is the ancient name to refer to the Malay Peninsula by Claudius Ptolemy or Claudius Ptolemaeus , known in English as Ptolemy, he was a Greek geographer, astronomer, and astrologer...

     (Malay peninsular) named Maleu-kolon, which is believed to have been originated from Sanskrit word malayakolam or malaikurram. According to G. E. Gerini, Maleu-Kolon was referring to modern day Tanjung Kuantan while Roland Bradell claimed it on Tanjung Penyabung, both in the Malay Peninsula.

    People of the Mountain


    In chapter 48 of the Hindu religious text, Vayu Purana
    Vayu Purana
    The Vayu Purana is a Shaiva Purana, a Hindu religious text, dedicated to the god Vayu , containing about 24,000 shlokas.-Date:Banabhatta refers to this work in his Kadambari and Harshacharita...

    , the Sanskrit word Malayadvipa (literally: “mountain insular continent”) was mentioned, referring to one of the provinces in the mythical eastern archipelago that are full of gold and silver. There stood a hill called Malaya as well as a great mountain called Mahamalaya (literally:”the great mountain”). Even though some western scholars particularly Sir Roland Braddell equates this Malayadvipa with Sumatra
    Sumatra
    Sumatra is an island in western Indonesia, westernmost of the Sunda Islands. It is the largest island entirely in Indonesia , and the sixth largest island in the world at 473,481 km2 with a population of 50,365,538...

    , many Indian scholars believe that Sumatra is more correctly associated with Suvarnadvipa
    Suvarnabhumi
    Suvarnabhumi or Suvannabhumi meaning the "Golden Land" or "Land of Gold", is a term coined by the ancient Indians which refers broadly to Lower Burma, Lower Thailand, Lower Malay Peninsula, the Sumatra, but more generally accepted to refer more specifically to Lower Burma...

     while Malayadvipa should be referring to the more mountainous Malay peninsular, where several ancient isthmian Malay kingdoms once stood since the beginning of Christian era.

    It is interesting to note that the Malays were once referred as "Kun-lun people" in various Chinese records. Kunlun
    Kunlun Mountains
    The Kunlun Mountains are one of the longest mountain chains in Asia, extending more than 3,000 km. In the broadest sense, it forms the northern edge of the Tibetan Plateau south of the Tarim Basin and the Gansu Corridor and continues east south of the Wei River to end at the North China Plain.The...

    was originally referring to a fabled mountain range that was believed to span parts of Tibet
    Tibet
    Tibet is a plateau region in Asia, north-east of the Himalayas. It is the traditional homeland of the Tibetan people as well as some other ethnic groups such as Monpas, Qiang, and Lhobas, and is now also inhabited by considerable numbers of Han and Hui people...

     and India
    India
    India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

    . It was used by the Chinese as reference to black, wavy-haired barbarians of the mountains and jungles from the remote part of geographically known world. The Viets, Champas and Khmers were called Kunlun people by the Chinese before the term being applied to the Malays or more accurately Austronesians as a whole. In 750, Jianzhen
    Jianzhen
    Jianzhen was a Chinese monk who helped to propagate Buddhism in Japan. In the eleven years from 743 to 754, Jianzhen attempted to visit Japan some six times.-Life:...

     (688–765) noticed the presence of many "Brahmans, Persians
    Persian people
    The Persian people are part of the Iranian peoples who speak the modern Persian language and closely akin Iranian dialects and languages. The origin of the ethnic Iranian/Persian peoples are traced to the Ancient Iranian peoples, who were part of the ancient Indo-Iranians and themselves part of...

     and Kunluns in Canton". The Book of Tang
    Book of Tang
    The Book of Tang , Jiu Tangshu or the Old Book of Tang is the first classic work about the Tang Dynasty. The book began when Gaozu of Later Jin ordered its commencement in 941...

     reported that "every year, Kunlun merchants come in their ships with valuable goods to trade with the Chinese".

    The Kingdom of Mo-Lo-Yu



    From the record of Yi Jing
    I Ching (monk)
    Yijing was a Tang Dynasty Chinese Buddhist monk, originally named Zhang Wenming . The written records of his travels contributed to the world knowledge of the ancient kingdom of Srivijaya, as well as providing information about the other kingdoms lying on the route between China and the Nālandā...

     (a Tang Dynasty
    Tang Dynasty
    The Tang Dynasty was an imperial dynasty of China preceded by the Sui Dynasty and followed by the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms Period. It was founded by the Li family, who seized power during the decline and collapse of the Sui Empire...

     Buddhist monk), who visited the Malay Archipelago
    Malay Archipelago
    The Malay Archipelago refers to the archipelago between mainland Southeastern Asia and Australia. The name was derived from the anachronistic concept of a Malay race....

     between 688–695, he mentioned about a kingdom known as Mo-Lo-Yu (Melayu) which was 15 days sail from Bogha (Palembang
    Palembang
    Palembang is the capital city of the South Sumatra province in Indonesia. Palembang is one of the oldest cities in Indonesia, and has a history of being a capital of a maritime empire. Located on the Musi River banks on the east coast of southern Sumatra island, it has an area of 400.61 square...

    ), the capital of Sribhoga (Srivijaya
    Srivijaya
    Srivijaya was a powerful ancient thalassocratic Malay empire based on the island of Sumatra, modern day Indonesia, which influenced much of Southeast Asia. The earliest solid proof of its existence dates from the 7th century; a Chinese monk, I-Tsing, wrote that he visited Srivijaya in 671 for 6...

    ). It took him 15 days sail as well to reach Ka-Cha (Kedah
    Kedah
    Kedah is a state of Malaysia, located in the northwestern part of Peninsular Malaysia. The state covers a total area of over 9,000 km², and it consists of the mainland and Langkawi. The mainland has a relatively flat terrain, which is used to grow rice...

    ) from Mo-lo-yu, therefore that Mo-Lo-Yu lies just halfway between the two places. According to Yi Jing, Mo-Lo-Yu was initially an independent kingdom before it was annexed by the SriBhoga.
    In the later Mongol Yuan Dynasty
    Yuan Dynasty
    The Yuan Dynasty , or Great Yuan Empire was a ruling dynasty founded by the Mongol leader Kublai Khan, who ruled most of present-day China, all of modern Mongolia and its surrounding areas, lasting officially from 1271 to 1368. It is considered both as a division of the Mongol Empire and as an...

     (1271–1368) and Ming Dynasty
    Ming Dynasty
    The Ming Dynasty, also Empire of the Great Ming, was the ruling dynasty of China from 1368 to 1644, following the collapse of the Mongol-led Yuan Dynasty. The Ming, "one of the greatest eras of orderly government and social stability in human history", was the last dynasty in China ruled by ethnic...

     (1368–1644), the word Ma-La-Yu was mentioned often (in the history of China) to refer to a nation from southern sea with different spelling due to the change of dynasty.
    • (Chinese: 木剌由) – Bok-la-yu, Mok-la-yu
    • (Chinese: 麻里予兒) – Ma-li-yu-er
    • (Chinese: 巫来由) – Oo-lai-yu (traced from the written source of monk Xuan Zang)
    • (Chinese: 無来由) – Wu-lai-yu


    The following sentence is a partly extract from the original Chronicle of Mongol Yuan (in Chinese): Chronicle of Mongol Yuan
    (in English: "Animosity occurred between Siam
    Thai people
    The Thai people, or Siamese, are the main ethnic group of Thailand and are part of the larger Tai ethnolinguistic peoples found in Thailand and adjacent countries in Southeast Asia as well as southern China. Their language is the Thai language, which is classified as part of the Kradai family of...

     and Ma-la-yu (Malays) with both killing each other..."), possibly referring to the centuries old hostilities between the Thai polity in the north and the states in Malay peninsular.

    The famous Venetian
    Republic of Venice
    The Republic of Venice or Venetian Republic was a state originating from the city of Venice in Northeastern Italy. It existed for over a millennium, from the late 7th century until 1797. It was formally known as the Most Serene Republic of Venice and is often referred to as La Serenissima, in...

     traveler Marco Polo
    Marco Polo
    Marco Polo was a Venetian merchant traveler from the Venetian Republic whose travels are recorded in Il Milione, a book which did much to introduce Europeans to Central Asia and China. He learned about trading whilst his father and uncle, Niccolò and Maffeo, travelled through Asia and apparently...

     (1254–1324) in his book Travels of Marco Polo mentioned about a kingdom named "Malauir" which according to him located in an area somewhere in the southern part of the Malay peninsula
    Malay Peninsula
    The Malay Peninsula or Thai-Malay Peninsula is a peninsula in Southeast Asia. The land mass runs approximately north-south and, at its terminus, is the southern-most point of the Asian mainland...

    .

    The word "Melayu" began in use and popularized when Malacca Sultanate
    Malacca Sultanate
    Established by the Malay ruler Parameswara, the Sultanate of Malacca was first a Hindu kingdom in 1402 and later became Muslim following the marriage of the princess of Pasai in 1409. Centered in the modern town of Malacca, the sultanate bordered the Ayutthaya Kingdom of Siam in the north to...

     rose to power in 15th century, to describe the cultural preferences of Malaccans as against foreigners from the same region, notably the Javanese and Thais
    Thai people
    The Thai people, or Siamese, are the main ethnic group of Thailand and are part of the larger Tai ethnolinguistic peoples found in Thailand and adjacent countries in Southeast Asia as well as southern China. Their language is the Thai language, which is classified as part of the Kradai family of...

    . Malacca was not the only dominant trading centre of the region, but also a vigorous centre of Malay culture, influential in shaping the political institutions and traditional culture of the Malays through the succeeding centuries.

    During the European colonization, the word "Malay" was adopted into English via the Dutch word "Malayo", itself from Portuguese
    Portuguese language
    Portuguese is a Romance language that arose in the medieval Kingdom of Galicia, nowadays Galicia and Northern Portugal. The southern part of the Kingdom of Galicia became independent as the County of Portugal in 1095...

     "Malaio", which originates from the Malay word "Melayu".

    Theories

    • According to Sager, the term Melayu probably never referred to a distinct cultural or ethnic group, and unlike Malaysian, never became a national identity. In the past, Melayu referred to the downstream costal Kingdom, with Orang Melayu meaning, the people of Melayu. These days, the term is largely associated with Islam and being Muslim. The term appears to be based upon the Aryan race word Mala-Yu where Yu is a suffix that denote a specific group of people or culture. The word Mala-Yu appears in various stone inscriptions, found in various parts of South East Asia, in IndoChina, Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand as well as in Malay peninsular and also in the Indonesia, erected by ancient Malay Kings and Emperors (that use the title such as Mauliraja, Phra, Sri Siantan Naga Nahud) who ruled these lands, confirming the present of various ancient and historical Malay city states in the area that is known today as IndoChina, before the influx of Dai-Viet people from southern China in early 13th century.

    The concept of Malay race


    The term Malay is sometimes used to describe the concept of a Malay race
    Malay race
    The concept of a Malay race was proposed by the German scientist Johann Friedrich Blumenbach , and classified as the brown race. Since Blumenbach, many anthropologists have rejected his theory of five races, citing the enormous complexity of classifying races...

    , which includes all the ethnic groups inhabiting the Malay Archipelago
    Malay Archipelago
    The Malay Archipelago refers to the archipelago between mainland Southeastern Asia and Australia. The name was derived from the anachronistic concept of a Malay race....

     and which are not of older aboriginal stock. The term was first used by the German scientist Johann Friedrich Blumenbach
    Johann Friedrich Blumenbach
    Johann Friedrich Blumenbach was a German physician, physiologist and anthropologist, one of the first to explore the study of mankind as an aspect of natural history, whose teachings in comparative anatomy were applied to classification of what he called human races, of which he determined...

     (1752–1840), in classifying human races. According to Blumenbach, the “Malay race” constituted one of the five racial divisions of humanity.

    See also

    • Anti-Malay racism
      Anti-Malay racism
      Anti-Malay sentiment refers to prejudice against ethnic Malays.-Thailand:Southern Thailand and particularly the province of Pattani is the home of the ethnic Malays in Thailand. In the 18th century after the Thais captured the Malay-dominated provinces in the south, the Thai consciously avoided...

      , racial prejudice against ethnic Malays.
    • Ketuanan Melayu
      Ketuanan Melayu
      Ketuanan Melayu is a political concept emphasizing Malay preeminence in present day Malaysia. The Malays of peninsular Malaysia claimed a special position and special rights owing to their long domicile and the role of the Malay rulers of the nine Malay states...

       (Malay Supremacy),
    • List of Malays
    • Malay Islamic Monarchy, the national philosophy of Negara Brunei Darussalam
    • Malay units of measurement
      Malay units of measurement
      - Mass :In measuring amount by mass, the common unit is kati, which is about 1 1/3 lb. A higher unit is pikul, which is 100 kati or 133 1/3 lb..- Volume :...

    • Malay wedding
      Malay wedding
      A Malay wedding is usually performed when either one or both spouses are Malay. Malaysian law defines a Malay person as a Muslim.Malay weddings are grand affairs where the couple is treated as royalty. The traditional wedding ceremony is in two parts. The first part is the akad nikah , which is the...

      , a wedding ceremony in accordance with Malay customs.