Drapeau Malaisie

Malay or Malaysian?

  Malaysia: Peninsula and Borneo - July 2006

Dear English-speaking readers, this page is an automatic Google translation from a post originally written in French. My apologies for the weird sentences and the funny mistakes that could have been generated during the process. If you can read French, the original and correct version can be found here:

Should we say Malay or Malaysian? Both ! In fact, everything depends on the context, because the two terms do not have exactly the same meaning.

Drapeau MalaisieOne can be Malaysian, that is to say of Malaysian nationality, without being Malay.

Malaysians are Malaysian nationals. The Malays are the majority ethno-linguistic and historical community of the country (the Chinese and Indian communities are also important, and there are also the indigenous communities of Borneo).

Being Malay therefore refers to "ethnic" belonging, according to fairly precise criteria. In Article 160, the Malaysian Constitution defines Malay as:

1 - a person who practices the religion of Islam, who speaks Malay, who conforms to Malay customs
2 - who has origins in the Federation of Malaysia or Singapore before the Independence of August 31, 1957, or who is the child of at least one parent born in the population belonging at the time to the Federation of Malaysia.

Définition du Malais (article 160 de la constitution malaisienne). Source : Wikimedia.
Definition of Malay (Article 160 of the Malaysian Constitution). Source: Wikimedia.

Conclusion: Malay Malaysians are Malaysians, but not all Malaysians are Malay ...


  Malaysia: Peninsula and Borneo - July 2006

  Between Two Journeys