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Orang Malaysia
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Total population
30,714,000 (Only in Malaysia)[1]
Regions with significant populations
 Singapore 385,979[2]
 Australia 92,337[3]
 Brunei 70,000[4][5]
 United Kingdom 63,000
 United States 26,179[6]
 China 15,000[7]
 New Zealand 14,547[8]
 Canada 12,165
 Taiwan 10,000[9]
 United Arab Emirates 6,000
 Qatar 5,000[10]
 India 2,500
Malaysian and other Malaysian languages
Sunni Islam, Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism and others
Related ethnic groups
Bruneian, Indonesian and Singaporean peoples

Malaysians (Malay: Orang Malaysia) are the citizens of Malaysia, or their descendants abroad.[11] Malaysia is a multiethnic society which is home to many ethnicities from different backgrounds. Malays, Chinese, and Indians form the three largest ethnic groups of Malaysia.[12] The 2015 census puts the population of Malaysia at 30,714,000.[1]

Ethnic groups[edit]

Malaysia demographics are represented by the multitude of ethnic groups that exist in this country. Malaysia's population, as of July 2010, is estimated to be 30,714,000, which makes it the 42nd most populated country in the world.[13]

Malays and Bumiputera[edit]

Main article: Bumiputera (Malaysia)

In 2010, Malaysian citizens, of which bumiputera accounted for 67.4% of the total citizen population, made up 91.8% of the population. According to constitutional definition, Malays are Muslims who practice Malay customs and culture. They play a dominant role politically. Bumiputera status is also accorded to certain non-Malay indigenous peoples, including ethnic Thais, Khmers, Chams, natives of Sabah and Sarawak and certain Muslim groups in the country such as the Indian Muslims and Chinese Hui. Non-Malay bumiputera make up more than half of Sarawak's population and over two thirds of Sabah's population. Smaller number of aboriginal groups also live on the peninsula, where they are collectively known as the Orang Asli. Laws over who gets bumiputera status vary between states.

The sub-ethnics of Bumiputera are:[citation needed]


Malaysian Chinese constitute one group of Overseas Chinese and is one of the largest Overseas Chinese communities in the world. Within Malaysia, they are usually simply referred to as "Chinese" and represent the second largest ethnic group in Malaysia after the ethnic Malay majority. Malaysian Chinese are a socioeconomically well established middle-class ethnic group and make up a highly disproportionate percentage of Malaysia's upper middle class and one of the highest household incomes among minority demographic groups in Malaysia.[14] Malaysian Chinese are dominant in both the business and commerce sectors, controlling an estimated 70% of the Malaysian economy.[15][16][17]


Malaysia is home to one of the largest populations of Overseas Indians, constituting about 8% of the Malaysian population.[18] Malaysia's Indian population is notable for its class stratification, with large elite and lower income groups. The Malaysian Indians also make up a disproportionately large percentage of the Malaysian professional workforce per capita,constitute 15.5 percent of Malaysian professionals. This includes doctors (28.4%), lawyers (26.8%), dentists (21%), veterinary surgeons (28.5%), engineers (6.4%), accountants (5.8%), surveyors (3.0%) and architects (1.5%). Furthermore, Malaysian Indians make up 38% of the Malaysian medical workforce.[19][19] Besides that, Malaysian Indians are highly known for their higher contribution towards Malaysian history and development.


There is a large numbers of expatriate in Malaysia, who mostly enter the country as labour force or students with some of them have staying illegally in the country. Most of the expatriates are:


Main article: Languages of Malaysia

Malaysia contains speakers of 137 living languages,[20] 41 of which are found in Peninsula Malaysia.[21] Malaysian, or Standard Malay, is the official language, while English is considered the de facto administrative language. Chinese Malaysians predominantly speak varieties of Chinese from the southern provinces of China. The more common varieties in the country are Cantonese, Mandarin, Hokkien, Hakka, Hainanese, and Fuzhou. Tamil is the predominant language among Indian Malaysians, though languages like Telugu, Malayalam and Punjabi are also widely spoken.


Percentage distribution of Malaysian population by religion, 2010.
The percentage distribution of Malaysian population by religion based on 2010 census.

The Malaysian constitution guarantees freedom of religion while making Islam the state religion.[22] According to the Population and Housing Census 2010 figures, ethnicity and religious beliefs correlate highly. Approximately 61.3% of the population practice Islam, 19.8% practice Buddhism, 9.2% Christianity, 6.3% Hinduism and 1.3% practice Confucianism, Taoism and other traditional Chinese religions. 0.7% declared no religion and the remaining 1.4% practised other religions or did not provide any information.


Lot of highly educated Malaysians emigrate out of the country due to low wages and opportunities. This has led to the country having one of the biggest brain drains in the world.[23]


Main article: Malaysian Australian

At the 2006 Census 92,335 Australian residents stated that they were born in Malaysia.[18] 64,855 Malaysian born Australian residents declared having Chinese ancestry (either alone or with another ancestry), 12,057 declared a Malay ancestry and 5,848 declared an Indian ancestry.


Many Malaysians have a relatives in Brunei just like in Singapore especially the Bruneian Malay. Approximately there are around 9% Malaysian diaspora in Brunei.[4][5]


Main article: Malaysian Canadian

The Canada 2006 Census recorded 12 165 people self-identifying as Malaysian Canadian, but only 1 820 of these self-identified as exclusively Malaysian Canadian.[24]


Around 15,000 Malaysian studying in China as of 2012.[7]


Main article: Malaysians in India

Malaysians in India consists of expatriates and international students from Malaysia as well as Indian people of Malaysian descent. Most of them are Malaysians of Indian origin. As of 2011, an estimated 2,500 Malaysians, mostly working for Malaysian-based companies as well as 2,000 students, reside in India, mainly in South India.[25]

New Zealand[edit]

As of 2006 census, there is around 14,547 Malaysian-born people lived in New Zealand.[8]


The overseas Malaysian diaspora in Singapore is one of the largest with the number standing at 385,979 in 2010, with most of them being ethnic Chinese[2]

United Arab Emirates[edit]

There were 6,000 Malaysians living and working in the United Arab Emirates as of 2010.


There are around 5,000 Malaysians living and working in Qatar as of 2013 statistics.[10]


Around ten thousands Malaysian students have benefited from Taiwan's overseas compatriot education policy,[9] with the country is looking for more Malaysian students.[26]

United Kingdom[edit]

The Malaysian community in the UK is one of the west's largest, this is mainly due to the influence of the British Empire on Malaysia. The 2001 UK Census recorded 49,886 Malaysian-born people, with September 2009 Office for National Statistics estimates putting the figure at around 63,000.

United States[edit]

Main article: Malaysian American

According to answers provided to an open-ended question included in the 2010 United States Census, 26,179 people said that their ancestry or ethnic origin was Malaysian.


  1. ^ a b "Malaysia Population Clock". Department of Statistics, Malaysia. Retrieved 16 March 2014. 
  2. ^ a b "GE14: 500,000 Malaysian voters in Singapore to generate friction". The Malaysian Insider. 11 September 2013. Retrieved 3 March 2015. 
  3. ^ "20680-Country of Birth of Person (full classification list) by Sex - Australia" (Microsoft Excel download). 2006 Census. Australian Bureau of Statistics. Retrieved 27 May 2008. 
  4. ^ a b "Leveraging on Malaysian diaspora". The Star. 16 March 2012. Retrieved 23 April 2015. 
  5. ^ a b Soong Siew Hoong (29 March 2012). "Some Statistics on Malaysian Working in Overseas Countries in OIC; Commonwealth; BRICS; PIIGS; UN" (PDF). Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Kuala Lumpur and Selangor. Retrieved 23 April 2015. 
  6. ^ "Total ancestry categories tallied for people with one or more ancestry categories reported 2010 American Community Survey 1-Year Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 30 November 2012. 
  7. ^ a b Sara Cluster (21 August 2012). "Malaysia PM: study hard abroad and return home". The Pie News. Retrieved 23 April 2015. 
  8. ^ a b "Table 8: New Zealand resident population born in Asia, 1986-2006" (PDF). Asia New Zealand Foundation. p. 12/14. Retrieved 25 March 2014. 
  9. ^ a b Lim Mun Fah (22 July 2010). "More expensive to study in China than Taiwan". AsiaOne. Archived from the original on 6 July 2015. Retrieved 6 July 2015. 
  10. ^ a b "Population of Qatar by nationality". Bq Magazine. 18 December 2013. Archived from the original on 23 April 2015. Retrieved 23 April 2015. 
  11. ^ Neville Spykerman; Michelle Tam; Victoria Brown (3 May 2015). "Survey: Most prefer to be known as Malaysian". The Star. Retrieved 3 May 2015. 
  12. ^ "Population Distribution and Basic Demographic Characteristic Report 2010 (Ethnic composition)". Department of Statistics, Malaysia. 2010. Retrieved 10 October 2013. 
  13. ^ "Malaysia Population Clock". Department of Statistics Malaysia. 22 January 2015. Retrieved 23 January 2015. 
  14. ^ "Lecture 2: New Economic Policy" (PDF). Retrieved 10 May 2012. 
  15. ^ Chua, Amy. "Minority rule, majority hate". Asia Times. Retrieved 15 November 2010. 
  16. ^ Malaysia's Warring Chinese Politicians. Asia Sentinel. Retrieved on 23 April 2012.
  17. ^ Malaysia’s Malay dilemma to Chinese dilemma. (24 April 2011). Retrieved on 23 April 2012.
  18. ^ a b [1]
  19. ^ a b [2]
  20. ^ "Ethnologue report for Malaysia". Retrieved 18 October 2010. 
  21. ^ "Ethnologue report for Malaysia (Peninsular)". Retrieved 18 October 2010. 
  22. ^ "Malaysia – Religion". Asian Studies Center - Michigan State University. Retrieved 13 July 2011. 
  23. ^ "Putting the Malaysian diaspora into perspective". Stanford University. Retrieved 1 March 2015. 
  24. ^ "Ethnic Origin (247), Single and Multiple Ethnic Origin Responses (3) and Sex (3) for the Population of Canada, Provinces, Territories, Census Metropolitan Areas and Census Agglomerations, 2006 Census - 20% Sample Data". Canada 2006 Census. 7 April 2011. Retrieved 27 August 2012. 
  26. ^ "Facing brain drain, Taiwan looks to poach Malaysian students". The Malay Mail. 15 September 2013. Retrieved 6 July 2015.