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The People of Malaysia, Ethnic Groups and Languages

Ethnic Malays, bumiputera, Malay language, West Malaysia, island of Borneo

Ethnic Malays and other indigenous peoples, sometimes known as Malayan peoples, comprise 59 percent of Malaysia’s population. In Malaysia they are called bumiputera (sons of the soil). Other groups include ethnic Chinese, who constitute 26 percent of the population, and ethnic Indians, who make up about 7 percent. Small numbers of Indonesians, Thai, Europeans, and Australians also live in Malaysia. In West Malaysia nearly three-fifths of the population are ethnic Malays. Fifteen percent of the population in Sabah and 40 percent of the population in Sarawak belong to one of the numerous Dayak ethnic groups inhabiting the island of Borneo. Chinese constitute a sizable population throughout Malaysia, especially in Sarawak. The national language is Bahasa Malaysia (also known simply as Malay), a Malay language of the Austronesian language family. English, Chinese, and Tamil (a Dravidian language of southern India) are also widely spoken.



Article key phrases:

Ethnic Malays, bumiputera, Malay language, West Malaysia, island of Borneo, national language, Sabah, fifths, Bahasa Malaysia, indigenous peoples, Sarawak, Tamil, Europeans, Australians, sons, soil, Thai, English

 
 

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