QUOTE(firdausj @ May 19 2007, 05:00 AM) [snapback]2953885[/snapback]
What is the definition of "Malay" in Malaysia ?
In response to Firdausi's question: What is the definition of "Malay" in Malaysia?
There is a joke in Malaysia: When is a Malay a 'Malay'? When he is not a 'non-Malay' ethnic Chinese or Indian!! And an Iban or Kadazan isn't a Malay or a non-Malay either but a 'Bumiputra' just like the Malays which means that ethnic Chinese and Indians are neither Malay nor Bumiputra!! Pretty confusing huh??
Seriously speaking ...a "Malay" in Malaysia is CONSTITUTIONALLY defined as: (1) a person who is a Muslim of the Sunni branch of Islam of the Shafie mazhah (school) of thought, (2) having both or one of the parents as Malays, (3) habitually living according to Malay culture and customs including having Malay as a mother tongue, and (4) parents or ancestors from any part of Malay world but having lived in Malaysia on or before Malaysia day.
So under condition (1), one has to be a Muslim of the Sunni Shafie variety to be a Malay in Malaysia, meaning that Arab Muslims, Indian Muslims or Persian Muslims, for example, can't be Malays because they are not of correct Muslim specification under our Constitution
Under condition (2), either one or both parents must be Malays. So, a a child of mixed Malay-Chinese, mixed Malay-Indian, mixed Malay-Arab, mixed Malay-Siamese marriages, etc, is still a Malay, of course other conditions being satisfied too.
Under condition (3), one is a Malay only if he lives habitually according to what are prescribed as Malay customs, Malay adat istiadat, Malay culture, habitually speak Malay, has Malay as mother tongue, live as a Muslim,etc ... of course, other conditions being satisfied too.
Under conditon (4), people of Malay race from regions that now form Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand, Philippines, etc, are Malays if on or before Malaysia Day (August 31 1965) they or their ancestors lived in Malaysia. So, technically, all Javanese,Bugis,Banjars,Boyan (Bawean), Kerincis,Mandailings, Minangkabaus, southern Thai Malays, Brunei Malays,etc are all Malays if they had been in Malaysia on or before Malaysia Day.... as long as as they are Muslims of Shafie Sunni sect.
But Malaysia is unique .. it is only here that all ethnics of the Malay race willingly and proudly accept the label "Malay" for them regardless of whether they are ethnically Malay, Javanese, Minangkabau, Bugis, etc. In Indonesia, for example, I am not sure if an ethnic Javanese wants to be called a "Malay". Officially, there are no "Javanese" or "Bugis" or "Minang" or "Banjar" or "Boyan" in Malaysia .... for these people, only the label "Malay" is found on all their official documnets.
Of course, people who come from Indonesia or Philippines to Malaysia TODAY are no longer accepted as "Malays" .. they are simply officially labeled as "Indonesians" or "Filipinos" in offical documents ... it is already past Malaysia Day ... so, they are constitutionally not "Malays" in Malaysia.
Interesting facts about some Malaysians:
The first Prime Minister of Malaysia (Tunku Abdul Rahman) was mixed Malay-Siamese (mother was Manjalara, a Siamese princess). The 2nd PM (Tun Abdul Razak) was ethnically Bugis. Ther 3rd PM (Hussein Onn) was mixed Malay-Arab-Turkish. His famous cousin, Ungku Aziz was even more complicated .. mixed Malay-Arab-Turkish-English!! The 4th PM (Mahathir Mohammed) is mixed Malay-Indian (his grandpa came from Kerala, India and married a Malay woman to give birth to his father, Mohammed). The present and 5th PM (Abdullah Badawai) is mixed Malay-Chinese (his grandpa was a Chinese Muslim from Hainan, China who married a Malay woman to give birth to his mother Kailan). Abdullah Badawi's late wife, Endon, was mixed Malay-Japanese (her mother Japanese, father Malay). Musa Hitam, Malaysia's former deputy PM was mixed Malay-Chinese (mother a Chinese). He married a Peruvian woman, so his children mixed Malay-Chinese-Peruviano.
Selangor State current Chief Minister (Khir Toyo bin Toyo) and Johor State current Chief Minister (Abdulah Ghani) are Malays of Javanese ethnicity. The majority of Malays in Negri Sembilan State are ethnic Minangkabaus who still practice Adat Perpatih and their Sultan/Yang Dipertuan Besar descended from Pagarruyung in Sumatra. The Sultans of Selangor and Johor States are Malay Sultans of Bugis ethnicity.
P.Ramlee, Malaysia's famous anak seni (artist) was partly Acehnese (father, Teuku Nyak Puteh, an Acehnese from Aceh) and partly Malay (mother, Che Mah Hussein, a Malay).