Sunday, 28 March 2010

Who's a Melayu?

According to Article 160 of the Constitution of Malaysia, a Malay is defined as "a Malaysian citizen born to a Malaysian citizen who professes to be a Muslim, habitually speaks the Malay language, adheres to Malay customs, and is domiciled in Malaysia or Singapore."

However, when we refer to the Malay race, the narrow definition above does not apply. The term was first introduced by by the German scientist Johann Friedrich Blumenbach and included native inhabitants of the Marianas, the Philippines, the Malukus, Sundas, Indochina, as well as Pacific Islands such as Tahitians.

Referring to language, it is the language of Malaysia and Brunei.

Other than Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia, there are ethnic Malay communities in South Africa and Sri Lanka.