Malay Indonesian

Malay Indonesians
Melayu Indonesia

ملايو ايندونيسيا
A Riau Malay couple enjoying the traditional Gambus. The background panel incorporated the palettes of Malay tricolour.
Total population
5,365,399 (2010 estimate)[1]
Regions with significant populations
South Sumatra 2,139,000
Riau 1,880,240
West Kalimantan 1,259,890[2]
Bangka-Belitung 936,000
Jambi 914,660
Riau Islands 600,108
North Sumatra 582,100
Lampung 269,240
Jakarta 165,039
Bengkulu 125,120
Central Kalimantan 87,222
Malay (varieties of Malay, including Indonesian)
Sunni Islam (predominantly), also nondenominational Muslim
Related ethnic groups
Malaysian Malay, Malay Singaporeans, Minangkabau, Acehnese, Banjarese, Betawi, Thai Malays

Malay Indonesians (Malay: orang Melayu Indonesia; Jawi script: اورڠ ملايو ايندونيسيا) are ethnic Malays living throughout Indonesia as one of the indigenous peoples of the island nation. Indonesia has the second largest ethnic Malay population after Malaysia. Historically, Indonesian, which is the national language of Indonesia, was derived from the Malay language spoken in the Riau archipelago, a province in eastern Sumatra. There were a number of Malay kingdoms in Indonesia that covered the islands of Sumatra and Kalimantan, such as Srivijaya, Melayu Kingdom, Sultanate of Deli, Sultanate of Siak Sri Indrapura, Riau-Lingga Sultanate, Sultanate of Bulungan, Pontianak Sultanate, and the Sultanate of Sambas.



There have been various Malay kingdoms based on the island of Sumatra: the Melayu Kingdom, Srivijaya, Sultanate of Deli, Sultanate of Siak Sri Indrapura and the Riau-Lingga Sultanate.


In the Pontianak incidents during the Japanese occupation of the Dutch East Indies, the Japanese massacred most of the Malay elite and beheaded all of the Malay Sultans in Kalimantan.

During the Fall of Suharto, there was a resurgence in Malay nationalism and identity in Kalimantan and ethnic Malays and Dayaks in Sambas massacred Madurese during the Sambas riots.


Sumatra is the homeland of the Malay languages, which today spans all corners of Insular Southeast Asia. The Indonesian language which is the country's official language and lingua franca was based on Riau-Lingga (or Johor-Riau) Malay. The Malay language has a long history, which has a literary record as far back as the 7th century AD. A famous early Malay inscription, the Kedukan Bukit Inscription, was discovered by the Dutchman M. Batenburg on 29 November 1920, at Kedukan Bukit, South Sumatra, on the banks of the River Tatang, a tributary of the River Musi. It is a small stone of 45 by 80 cm. It is written in Old Malay, a possible ancestor of today's Malay language and its variants. Most Malay languages and dialects spoken in Indonesia are mutually unintelligible to Standard Indonesian. The most widely spoken are Palembang Malay (3.2 million), Jambi Malay (1 million), Bengkulu Malay (1.6 million) and Banjarese (4 million) (although not considered to be a dialect of Malay by its speakers; its minor dialect is typically called Bukit Malay). Besides the proper Malay languages, there are several languages closely related to Malay such as Minangkabau, Kerinci, Kubu and others. These languages are closely related to Malay, but their speakers do not consider their languages to be Malay. There are many Malay-based creoles spoken in the country especially in eastern Indonesia due to contacts from the western part of Indonesia and during colonial rule where Malay replaced Dutch as a lingua franca. The most well-known Malay creoles in Indonesia are Ambonese Malay, Betawi, Manado Malay and Papuan Malay.

Malayic ethnicity

Malay ethnic groups in Indonesia

Cognate ethnicity in Sumatra

Cognate ethnicity in Kalimantan

Cognate ethnicity in Java

Notable Malay Indonesians





See also


  1. "Kewarganegaraan, Suku Bangsa, Agama, Dan Bahasa Sehari-Hari Penduduk Indonesia". Badan Pusat Statistik. 2010. Retrieved 2017-07-18.
  2. "Propinsi Kalimantan Barat - Dayakologi". Retrieved 2012-09-07.
  3. 1 2 A. J. Gooszen (1999). A Demographic History of the Indonesian Archipelago, 1880–1942. KITLV Press. p. 88. ISBN 90-6718-128-5.
  4. Tedjasukmana, Jason (June 25, 2010). "Sex Video Scandal and Indonesia's Porn Obsession". TIME magazine. Retrieved 25 June 2010.
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