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Malays facts for kids

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Tunku abd rahman.jpg
Tunku Abdul-Rahman
Azizulhasni Awang.jpg
Azizulhasni Awang
Hamzah Haz.jpg
Hamzah Haz
Hang Tuah
Hassanal Bolkiah.jpg
Hassanal Bolkiah
Retrato de Parameswara.jpg
An Afternoon with Lat 03 cropped.jpg
Mahathir 2007.jpg
Mahathir Mohamad
Siti Nurhaliza - Khairul Fahmi's Wedding 2013.jpg
Jamal Abdillah.jpg
Jamal Abdillah
Total population
c. 27.8 million
Regions with significant populations
Majority populations
Malaysia 14,749,378 (2010 estimate)
Brunei 261,902 (2010 estimate)
Indonesia 8,789,585 (2010 estimate)
Thailand 3,354,475 (2010 estimate)
653,449 (2010 estimate)
Malay, Indonesian, Yawi, Thai, English
Sunni Islam, small groups of Christians and Buddhists
Related ethnic groups
Acehnese, Banjarese, Batak, Betawi, Bugis, Burmese Malays, Cape Malays, Cham, Cocos Malays, Javanese, Jawi Peranakan, Kedayan, Melanau, Minang, Orang laut, Sri Lankan Malays, Sundanese, Tausūg, Filipinos and other Austronesian peoples

The Malays (Malay: Melayu, Jawi: ملايو) are an Austronesian ethnic group in Southeast Asia. They mainly live in the Malay Peninsula and many parts of the Malay Archipelago, including Brunei, Singapore, Borneo and eastern Sumatra.


The Malay language is one of the major languages of the world. Their religion was animist and a mix of other Chinese religions at first but now they are mostly Muslims. They use wood for most of their traditional villages which are called "kampongs".

Malays make up a majority of Malaysia and Brunei's populations. They make a significant populations in Singapore, Thailand, and Indonesia.


Most ethnic Malays speak one or more of the many dialects (versions) of the Malay language, a language of the Austronesian family of languages. In Indonesia, the standardized form of Malay is Indonesian (Bahasa Indonesia). In Malaysia, the standard form is called Malaysian (Bahasa Malaysia. About 80% of their words mean the same thing in either dialect. These naming policies were created to form national unities in the two countries instead of making the Malays a ruling influence or the ruling class, something that it is in Brunei. In Brunei, Thailand and Singapore it is known as Bahasa Melayu.

Today, the language is usually written a version of the Roman alphabet, called Rumi. Malay written using the Arabic alphabet is called Jawi, which is mostly used in official and religious contexts. Jawi is more common than Rumi in very conservative Muslim areas like Kelantan in Malaysia and Pattani in Thailand.

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