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Not to be confused with Kendayan.
Kenyan 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
Kenyan women. Note the light tunic with rows of buttons.
Total population
(Est. 240,000 in Borneo[1])
Regions with significant populations
Brunei, Malaysia, Canada, USA
Malaysian Malay, Brunei Malay and English.
Shafi'i Sunni Muslim
Related ethnic groups
Bruneian Malay, Banjarese, 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 bears a similarity to Brunei Malay, which is spoken by more than 530,000 people in Brunei, 46,500 in Sabah and 37,000 in Sarawak.[4][5][6] In Sabah, the Kedayan mainly live in the cities of Sipitang, Beaufort, Kuala Penyu and Papar.[4][7] In Sarawak, the Kedayans mostly reside in Lawas, Limbang, Miri and the Sibuti area.[4] The Kedayan people are also regarded as a sub-ethnic group of the Klemantan Dayak people.[8]


A Kedayan man, standing underneath a rice barn.

The origins of the Kedayans are uncertain. Some of them believe that their people were originally from Java,[2] which they left during Bolkiah reign. Due to the Sultan's fame as a sea captain and voyager, he was well-known to the people of Java, Sumatra and the Philippines.[2] It is believed that when the Sultan anchored in the island of Java, he became interested in the agricultural techniques adopted there.[2] Accordingly, the Sultan brought some of the Javanese farmers back to his country to adopt the techniques. The farmers later interacted and were inter-married with the local Bruneian Malay people, giving birth to the Kedayan ethnicity.[2] 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.[6] The Kedayans are recognized as one of the indigenous people of Borneo,[9] and they are experts in making traditional medicines. The Kedayans are also well-known for their medicinal plants, which they grow to treat a wide range of ailments, and to make tonics.[4]

The language of one of the indigenous tribes, Banjar, in Kutai, Kalimantan, is also said to be more than 90% similar to the Kedayan language, despite the fact they do not refer to themselves as Kedayans.[citation needed] Both the Kedayans and Banjarese are related to a certain extent because of their similar 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. ^ 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). Encyclopedia 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. ^ John Alexander Hammerton; Dr. Charles Hose (1922). Peoples of All Nations. Concept Publishing Company. ISBN 81-7268-156-9. 
  9. ^ Carl Skutsch (7 November 2013). Encyclopedia of the World's Minorities. Routledge. pp. 781–. ISBN 978-1-135-19388-1.