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Not to be confused with Kendayan.
Kedayan people
Kadayan / Kadaian / Kadyan
Image from page 204 of "Women of all nations, a record of their characteristics, habits, manners, customs and influence;" (1908) (14769945902).jpg
Kedayan women. Note the light-sleeved jackets with rows of buttons.
Total population
(Est. 240,000 in Borneo[1])
Regions with significant populations
 Malaysia: 71,000[3]
Sarawak (Lawas, Limbang, Miri)
Sabah (Sipitang, Beaufort, Kuala Penyu, Papar)

 Canada: 4,600[4]
 United States: 700[5]
Malaysian, Bruneian and 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.[6][7] The Kedayan language (ISO 639-3: kxd) is the de facto national language of Brunei and it bears a similarity to Brunei Malay, which is spoken by more than 130,000 people in Brunei, 46,500 in Sabah and 37,000 in Sarawak.[8][9][10] In Sabah, the Kedayan mainly live in Sipitang, Beaufort, Kuala Penyu and Papar.[8][11] While in Sarawak, the Kedayans mostly reside in Lawas, Limbang, Miri and Sibuti area.[8] The Kedayan people are also regarded as a sub-ethnic of the Klemantan Dayak people.[12]


A Kedayan man, standing underneath a rice barn.

The origins of Kedayans are somewhat uncertain, with some of them believing that their people originated from Java,[6] in which they came during Bolkiah's reign. Due to the Sultan's fame as a sea captain and voyager, he was well-known to the peoples of Java, Sumatra and the Philippines.[6] It is believed when the Sultan anchored in the island of Java, he became interested with the agricultural techniques adopted there.[6] So, the Sultan brought some of this Javanese farmers back to his country to adopt the techniques in which later they interact and inter-married with the local Bruneian Malay peoples and giving birth to the Kedayan ethnicity.[6] Today most Kedayans are Muslims and they have accepted Islam since the Islamic era of the Sultanate of Brunei. Furthermore, they have also adopted Malay culture.[10] The Kedayans are recognised as one of the indigenous people of Borneo,[13] and they were experts in making traditional medicines. They also have a reputation for specialising in medicinal plants, in which they grow to treat a wide range of ailments or to make tonics.[8]

An indigenous people's language in Kutai, Kalimantan is also said to be more than 90% similar to the Kedayan language despite that they do not refer themselves as Kedayans.[citation needed] Both the Kedayans and Banjarese are related to a certain extent in terms 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. 
  2. ^ "Brunei Malay in Brunei". Joshua Project. Retrieved 2015-08-25. 
  3. ^ "Brunei Malay, Kedayan in Malaysia". Joshua Project. Retrieved 2015-08-25. 
  4. ^ "Brunei Malay in Canada". Joshua Project. Retrieved 2015-08-25. 
  5. ^ "Brunei Malay, Kedayan in United States". Joshua Project. Retrieved 2015-08-25. 
  6. ^ 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. 
  7. ^ James Alexander (2006). Malaysia, Brunei and Singapore. New Holland Publishers. pp. 367–. ISBN 978-1-86011-309-3. 
  8. ^ 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. 
  9. ^ 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. 
  10. ^ 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. 
  11. ^ 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. 
  12. ^ John Alexander Hammerton; Dr. Charles Hose (1922). Peoples of All Nations. Concept Publishing Company. ISBN 8-1726-8156-9. 
  13. ^ Carl Skutsch (7 November 2013). Encyclopedia of the World's Minorities. Routledge. pp. 781–. ISBN 978-1-135-19388-1.