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(1) Formerly, the name given to the peoples of Southeast Asia who speak languages of the Indonesian group of the Malayo-Polynesian language family.

(2) A group of peoples of Southeast Asia linked by common descent, a common language, and many cultural features. The Malays are divided into the Malays proper (more than 5 million, 1970 estimate), who live primarily in Malaysia and Singapore, and various Malay-speaking peoples (7.5 million), who live primarily in Indonesia. The Malay language comprises several dialects. The dialect of the Riau (Riouw) and Lingga archipelagoes forms the basis of literary Malay, now the official language of Malaysia. Since the late 15th century the official religion of most Malays has been Islam, which they combine with survivals of ancient animist beliefs and elements of Buddhism and Hinduism.

Anthropologically, the Malays belong to various groups of southern Mongoloids mixed with Indo-Oceanic (Australoid) equatorial races. The Malays’ self-designation, Orang Melayu (literally, Malayan people), derives from the ancient name of a tribal group inhabiting the Padang Plateau on Sumatra. Early in the first millennium A.D. the ancestors of the Malays began to migrate northeastward from the Padang Plateau, settling the Malay Peninsula and later the eastern coast of Sumatra, the Riau (Riouw) and Lingga archipelagoes, Kalimantan, and other islands of Indonesia.

The majority of Malays are engaged in agriculture, chiefly rice cultivation. Many Malays work on plantations owned by foreign (mainly British) and local capitalists that grow hevea and other rubber trees, coconut palms, sugarcane, coffee, cinchona, and pineapples. Marine and fresh-water fishing is important, as well as shipping on praus, the distinctive Malayan decked sailing boats. Some Malays work in industry, chiefly tin mines, oil fields, and textile, food, and other, mostly small, enterprises. Traditional handicrafts include the making of bamboo implements, wickerwork, pottery, wood carving, and artistic metalwork and textile weaving. Various forms of applied and decorative art, oral poetry, music, dance, and theater are highly developed. There is a rich artistic, scientific, and political literature in the Malay language, written in the Latin alphabet.


Narody Iugo- Vostochnoi Azii. Moscow, 1966.
Demin, L. M. Malaiziia ekzoticheskaia i budnichnaia. Moscow, 1971.


References in periodicals archive ?
The Chinese reacted and launched a terrorist campaign led by the Communist-dominated Malayan Races Liberation Army against the British and the Malays.
Najib's party, the United Malays National Organisation, has ruled Malaysia in coalition governments for more than six decades.
Of the four other applicants, two were not Malays and two were not given certificates of eligibility, the elections department said earlier this week.
Urbanization in the 1970s has resulted in changes in lifestyles and living environment of the Malays who migrated to the urban areas and lived in the Western influenced housing design influenced by colonization [10, 13].
For the next 150 years, the Portuguese would control the famous and rich Strait of Malacca and attempt to subjugate the local population of Malays.
28), each respectively dealing with historical consciousness; economic activity and the perception that Malays are bad at commercial activity; domicile in multiethnic urban and suburban centres; and encounters with other-worldly beings and happenings.
Distinctions between coastal and inland people were made, and a sense that inland peoples were probably more original or earlier inhabitants than coastal Malays began to be articulated.
This story tells us that the Malays traditionally and especially before the arrival of Islam were animistic in their belief.
Najib did not officially endorse the march but elements within his ruling United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) encouraged organisers to stage the "Malay pride" rally in response to a big anti-government protest last month that called for Najib's resignation over the graft scandal.
The pro-government supporters, ethnic Malays, numbering around 250,000, had called the rally to highlight the dominance of Malays in the country and defend, "Malay dignity and pride" as well as support the government of incumbent Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak.
The demonstration was organized by figures in the ruling United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) in response to massive street rallies last month that called for Prime Minister Najib Razak's resignation over a financial scandal.
The Islamic bureaucracy runs a scare campaign claiming that Christians are the enemy, and that they want to use the word "Allah" to convert Malays to Christianity.