Kedahan Malay people

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Kedahan Malay
Melayu Kedah
ﻤﻼﻴﻮ ﻗﺪﺡ
Oqang Kedah
Sultan Abdul HalimMahathirTunku Abdul RahmanJamil Khir Baharom
Notable Kedahan Malay people:
Abdul Halim of Kedah • Mahathir Mohamad • Tunku Abdul Rahman • Jamil Khir Baharom
Total population
3.1 million (Kedah Valley - 2008)
Regions with significant populations
Perlis, Kedah, Penang, north of Perak (Malaysia), western part of Southern Thailand & Southern Myanmar
Kedahan Malay, Baling Malay, Malaysian, Thai, Burmese
Historically Hindu-Buddhist, today mostly Sunni Islam
Related ethnic groups
Malaysian Malay, Thai Malay, Burmese Malays

Kedahan Malay (Malay: Melayu Kedah, Jawi: ﻤﻼﻴﻮ ﻗﺪﺡ ) or commonly known as Orang Utara is a sub-group of Malays that is native to northern Malaysia (in the states Kedah, Penang and Perlis as well northernmost parts of Perak) and in southernmost parts of Thailand (in the provinces of Phuket and Satun) and Burma (in Mergui Archipelago). They are among the earliest settlers in the Malay peninsula. Kedahan Malays comprised at least 15% of the total Malaysian Malay population.


According to history, Kedah was very popular among Arabian traders. Thus, this has led to interracial marriages between Arabs and Malays. Due to Arabic influences in the Kedahan Malay language, some Kedahan Malay are of Arab descent. However some of the Kedahan Malays that resided on the island-state of Penang might have Indian blood and some who lived in Thailand might have Thai blood.

Kedah Valley[edit]

Kedah Valley is an area where the majority inhabitants are Kedahan Malays. The valley covered the Satun province of Thailand and the three northern states of Malaysia (Perlis, Kedah, Pulau Pinang) with at least an area of 25,908 km square.


Nowadays, most Kedahan Malays known themselves as Orang Utara or People Of The Northern Region instead of Kedahan Malay since that they resided the northern part of Peninsular Malaysia. So are their language, which is called Pelat Utara or Northern Dialect.


Main article: Kedah Malay

Kedahan Malay can be divided into several sub-dialects, namely Kedah Persisiran (standard), Baling or Kedah Hulu, Kedah Utara, Perlis-Langkawi, Penang and some others (outside Malaysia). For instance instead of using 'kamu' to denote as 'you', 'hang' (hung - English pronunciation) is used.

Customs and culture[edit]

Kedahan Malay shares the same customs and traditions with other Malay in Peninsular Malaysia. The only thing that make them different is just their spoken dialect. Their own cultures included:

Boria The most famous Kedahan culture of Indian origin. It is quite similar to a musical theater. The theater used a fully Kedahan Malay language while the song used a mix of standard Malay and Kedahan accent or sometimes, a fully standard Malay. This theater is said to be created after the hybrid of Malay and Indian culture in Penang.

Silat Kuntau Tekpi Silat Kuntau Tekpi was founded by Panglima Taib bin Wan Hussain who was a Panglima (Palace Warrior-General) of the empire of Kedah. It is also a 'sister-art' of silat styles that stemmed from Panglima Tok Rashid, including Silat Kalimah and Silat Cekak.

Silat Cekak[1] Silat Cekak was founded by Ustaz Hanafi, a Kedahan Malay but now, it is popular throughout Malaysia and some place in Indonesia.

Notable Kedahan Malay[edit]

Kedahan Malay movies[edit]

  • Raja Bersiong
  • Rempit V3
  • Hikayat Merong Mahawangsa
  • Cun (2011)

Kedahan Malay Drama

  • Cinta Anak Kedah
  • Makbul
  • Dari Kokdiang ke Kolumpo.
  • F.R.I.E.N.D.S

See also[edit]


  • Asmah Haji Omar (2008). Susur Galur Bahasa Melayu. Kuala Lumpur: Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka (DBP).
  • Dato’ James F. Augustin (1996) Bygone Kedah. Alor Setar: Lembaga Muzium Negeri Kedah Darul Aman
  • Intisari Kebudayaan Melayu Kedah (1986). Alor Setar: Majlis Kebudayaan Negeri Kedah.