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Not to be confused with Kendayan.
Total population
Est. 240,000 in Borneo[1]
Regions with significant populations
Sarawak (Lawas, Limbang, Miri)
Sabah (Sipitang, Beaufort, Kuala Penyu, Papar)
Malay, Bruneian, English, Brunei English
Shafi'i Sunni Muslim
Related ethnic groups
Bruneian Malays, Other Malays and Javanese

The Kedayan (also known as Kadayan, Kadaian or Kadyan)[1] are an ethnic group residing in Brunei, Labuan, Sabah, and parts of Sarawak on the island of Borneo.[2][3] The Kedayan language (ISO 639-3: kxd) is the de facto national language of Brunei and has a similarities with the Brunei Malay, which spoken by more than 130,000 people in Brunei, 46,500 in Sabah and 37,000 in Sarawak.[4][5][6] In Sabah, the Kedayan are mainly live in Sipitang, Beaufort, Kuala Penyu and Papar.[4][7] While in Sarawak, the Kedayans are mostly reside in Lawas, Limbang, Miri and Sibuti area.[4]


The origins of Kedayans are somewhat uncertain, with some of them belief that their people originated from Java,[2] in which they came during the reign of Bolkiah. Due to the famed of the Sultan as a sea captain and voyager, he became known to the peoples of Java, Sumatra and the Philippines.[2] It is believed when the Sultan anchored in the island of Java, he became interested with the agricultural techniques adopted there.[2] So, the Sultan brought some of this Javanese farmers back to his country to adopted the techniques in which later they interact and inter-married with the local Bruneian Malay peoples and produce the Kedayan ethnic.[2] Now, most of the Kedayans are Muslim and has accepting Islam since the Islamic era of the Sultanate of Brunei and adopted the Malay culture into their lives.[6] The Kedayan are recognised as one of the indigenous people of Borneo,[8] and were professionals in making of traditional medicines which also has a reputation for knowledge in medicinal plants, in which they grow to treat a wide range of ailments or to make tonics.[4]

An indigenous people in Kutai, Kalimantan were also said having more than 90% similarity with Kedayan language even though they did not called themselves as Kedayan.[citation needed] Both the Kedayan and Banjarese is sometimes been related in the term of language.[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Mokhtar, R. A. M.; Sa‟Ari, C. Z. (2014). "A Preliminary Study on Factors That Lead Muslim Kedayan to Continue Performing the Syncretic Culture". International Journal of Social Science and Humanity 4 (6): 421. doi:10.7763/IJSSH.2014.V4.391.  edit
  2. ^ a b c d e Ahmad Ibrahim; Sharon Siddique; Yasmin Hussain (1985). Readings on Islam in Southeast Asia. Institute of Southeast Asian Studies. pp. 312–. ISBN 978-9971-988-08-1. 
  3. ^ James Alexander (2006). Malaysia, Brunei and Singapore. New Holland Publishers. pp. 367–. ISBN 978-1-86011-309-3. 
  4. ^ a b c d Shiv Shanker Tiwary & P.S. Choudhary (1 January 2009). Encyclopaedia Of Southeast Asia And Its Tribes (Set Of 3 Vols.). Anmol Publications Pvt. Ltd. ISBN 978-81-261-3837-1. 
  5. ^ Michael Zanko; Matt Ngui (1 January 2003). The Handbook of Human Resource Management Policies and Practices in Asia-Pacific Economies. Edward Elgar Pub. pp. 10–. ISBN 978-1-84064-751-8. 
  6. ^ a b A. Suresh Canagarajah (15 January 2005). Reclaiming the Local in Language Policy and Practice. Routledge. pp. 227–. ISBN 978-1-135-62351-7. 
  7. ^ Julie K. King; John Wayne King (1984). Languages of Sabah: Survey Report. Department of Linguistics, Research School of Pacific Studies, Australian National University. ISBN 978-0-85883-297-8. 
  8. ^ Carl Skutsch (7 November 2013). Encyclopedia of the World's Minorities. Routledge. pp. 781–. ISBN 978-1-135-19388-1.