Malaysia – A Multi Cultural Land
Malaysia is a multiracial country, therefore, the nation’s culture was affected by a large number of different cultures.
Initially, cultures on this land starts from indigenous tribes that lived here, along with the Malays who later moved in. Strong influence exists from the Chinese and Indian culture, dating back to the time when trade began to flourish in the area. Colonial countries such as the Dutch, Portuguese and British also leaved their mark and cultures behind, which further influence the diversities of the cultures of Malaysia.
The major ethnics in Malaysia are the Orang Asli or indigenous peoples, the Malays, Chinese and Indian.
The oldest inhabitants of Malaysia is the indigenous tribes. They account about 5% of the total Malaysian population, and mostly live in East Malaysia of Sabah & Sarawak. In Sarawak, the Dayak, who are either Iban or Bidayuh is the most dominate tribal group. The largest indigenous tribe is the Iban at 600,000 population. Some Iban still live in traditional long houses along the rivers although many have moved to the bigger and modern cities. In Sabah, the largest tribe is the Kadazan. There are about 140,000 of Orang Asli of different ethnic communities living in peninsular Malaysia.
The Malays have the largest populations living in Malaysia. Malays are heavily involved in politics and are included in a grouping known as “bumiputra”. Bahasa Malaysia, the native language of the Malays is also the national language of Malaysia.
All Malays in the country is Muslim.