Jakun people

Jakun people
Orang Ulu
Jakun blowgun hunting party, 1906.
Total population
31,577 (2010)[1]
Regions with significant populations
 Malaysia (Johor and Pahang)
Jakun language, Malay language
Traditional religion, Chinese folk religion, Christianity, Islam
Related ethnic groups
Temoq people, Malay people

Jakuns are an ethnic group recognised as Orang Asli (indigenous people) of the Malay Peninsula. They are closely related to the Malay people and are probably a branch of the Proto-Malay, whom the 19th century researcher A. R. Wallace called "savage Malays".[2] They are also related to the Orang Laut, another indigenous group that lives along the coasts and depends on fishing.

They are the largest group in the Proto-Malay division of the Orang Asli, and the second-largest Orang Asli group overall after the Semai.


The population dynamics of the Jakun people are as the following:-

Year 1960[3] 1965[3] 1969[3] 1974[3] 1980[3] 1991[4] 1993[4] 1996[3] 2000[5] 2003[5] 2004[6] 2010[1]
Population 6,786 7,331 8,995 8,719 9,605 17,066 16,637 16,637 21,484 27,448 27,448 31,577


The Jakuns are taller than the other aboriginal peoples of the Malay Peninsula, the Semang and Sakai tribes. Jakun people typically have olive-brown to dark copper skin color. Some have intermarried with ethnic Malays or Chinese. Those who marry or assimilated with Malays usually adhere or largely convert to Islam; families with Chinese ancestors may practise Chinese folk religion in addition to Jakun customs.


Jakuns speak Jakun language, a Malayic language closely related to Malay.[7]


Before the colonial era, many Jakuns would enter the jungle on a seasonal basis to harvest forest products. Most Jakun communities in the modern age have a settled lifestyle and stay in permanent villages practising agriculture. Like many other Orang Asli groups, however, they suffer from inadequate access to public schools, which can be far away from the communities.


Non-Orang Asli Malay language speakers occasionally use the word "Jakun" as an insult for an unsophisticated person. This is considered by some as derogatory and racist.[8]

Settlement areas

Jakuns are mostly located in the south of Pahang and north Johor[9] Some of the settlements that the Jakun people are located includes:-


  1. 1 2 Kirk Endicott (2015). Malaysia's Original People: Past, Present and Future of the Orang Asli. NUS Press. ISBN 99-716-9861-7.
  2. Hugh Chisholm (1911). The Encyclopaedia Britannica: A Dictionary of Arts, Sciences, Literature and General Information, Volume 15. Encyclopaedia Britannica.
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Nobuta Toshihiro (2009). "Living On The Periphery: Development and Islamization Among Orang Asli in Malaysia" (PDF). Center for Orang Asli Concerns. Retrieved 2018-01-19.
  4. 1 2 Colin Nicholas (2000). "The Orang Asli and the Contest for Resources. Indigenous Politics, Development and Identity in Peninsular Malaysia" (PDF). Center for Orang Asli Concerns & International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs. ISBN 87-90730-15-1. Retrieved 2018-01-19.
  5. 1 2 "Basic Data / Statistics". Center for Orang Asli Concerns. Retrieved 2018-01-19.
  6. Alberto Gomes (2004). Modernity and Malaysia: Settling the Menraq Forest Nomads. Routledge. ISBN 11-341-0076-0.
  7. Kamila Ghazali (2010). "National Identity and Minority Languages". What is the UN Academic Impact?. United Nations Publications. ISBN 92-110-1231-7.
  8. R. Elangaiyan (2007). "Foundation for Endangered Languages". Vital voices: endangered languages and multilingualism : proceedings of the Tenth FEL Conference, CIIL, Mysore, India, 25-27 October, 2006. Central Institute of Indian Languages. ISBN 09-538-2488-8.
  9. Origins, Identity, and Classification, Centre for Orang Asli Concerns
  10. 1 2 3 Rokiah Abdullah (23 December 2016). "Orang Asli menang kes saman RM37 juta". Utusan. Retrieved 2017-04-10.
  11. Dinesh Kumar (29 September 2015). "The last guardians of the jungle". The Malay Mail Online. Retrieved 2017-04-10.
  12. Loh Foon Fong & Kathleen Ann Kili (4 June 2015). "Orang asli homes torn down". The Star. Retrieved 2018-01-19.
  13. Kathleen Ann Kili (29 September 2015). "Malaysia: Orang asli are highlighting their plight on social media". Asia One. Retrieved 2017-04-10.
  14. Maria J. Dass (18 November 2016). "Can a dying lake in Pahang be revived?". Star2. Retrieved 2017-04-10.
  15. Yusliza Yakimir Abd Talib (28 June 2016). "Berbuka bersama orang asli". Harian Metro. Retrieved 2017-04-10.


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