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About Malaysia /

People of Malaysia

The 28 million inhabitations of Malaysia are a diverse group, including Malay, Chinese, Indian, and other indigenous races. To maintain this rich diversity, Malaysian culture emphasizes the values of courtesy, moderation and tolerance.

Malays.

As Malaysia’s largest ethnic group, the Malays account for over half the population of Malaysia. They are Muslim, and with the oldest indigenous peoples, they form a group called bumiputra -he “sons” or “princes of the soil”. Traditionally, Malay culture centers around the kampong (village) and a strong responsibility to family. While the times and urban setting have changed some of the customs, Islamic values are still firmly embedded in their culture. t is a common sight in Malaysia to find girls whose hair is covered with a scarf called a “tudung” Muslim women are encouraged to practice modesty in terms of their attire, thou in most cases they can choose whether or not to cover their heads.

Chinese.

The Chinese traded with the people of the Malay Archipelago for centuries, then settled in numbers during the nineteenth century, when word of riches in the South Seas spread across China. Chinese-Malaysians now comprise about 25 percent of Malaysia’s total population. The first Chinese to settle in the area, primarily in and around Melaca, gradually adopted elements of Malay culture and intermarried with members of the existing local community. Known as “babas” and “nyonya”, they combined Malay and Chinese traditions and created a newly synthesized culture. Later Chinese immigrants- those who came to work in the tin and rubber industries- preserved much more of their original Chinese culture.

Indians.

Malaysian Indians account for about 7.5% of the total population, and are mostly Hindu Tamils from Southern India. Indians had been visiting Malaysia for over 2000 years, but did not settle en masse until the 19th century, when many came to work as rubber tapers, infrastructure construction workers, or administrators for the fledgling British colony.

Orang Asli.

The Orang Asli occupy the peninsula in small scattered groups, although some of them have been absorbed into Malaysia.
 

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