Malaysian Siamese

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Malaysian Siam
Orang Siam Malaysia
Total population
70,000 (2014 estimate)[1]
Regions with significant populations
Peninsula Malaysia (principally the northern states)
 Perak: 2,000 (2008)[2]
 Perlis: 6,000 (2008)[3]
 Kedah: 30,000 (2007)[4]
 Kelantan: 13,000 (2008)[5]
Southern Thai, Takbai dialect, standard Thai, Kelantanese Malay, Kedah Malay, standard Malay[6]
Predominantly Theravada Buddhism with minority Sunni Islam

Malaysian Siamese (also known as Siamese Malaysian or Thai Malaysian) is a term commonly referred to Malaysians of Thai ancestry.[7] Politically, Malaysian Siamese are recognised as Bumiputeras and are given similar status to the Malays, Bruneians, Kadazan-Dusuns, Ibans and Malaccan Portuguese.[8][9][10]


Malaysian Siamese people adhere to Buddhism and Islam. The predominant form of Buddhism is Theravada which is centred on their place of worship called the Wat. There also exists a significant Muslim community. However, many Muslim Siamese have become assimilated into the Malay populace and no longer identify as Siamese.


Most Malaysian Siamese people lead a way of life similar to the Malays. This is evident especially among the Kelantanese Siamese. One could not differentiate a Malay or a Siamese if they are not heard speaking their own language. The only distinctive mark among them is their religion and language. Otherwise Malaysian Siamese are like Malays as they also speak fluent local Malay dialects.

The Malaysian Siamese often get patronage from the state governments for their community well being. Often, temples are given generous fundings by the governments.[11]


  • In 2000, the national statistics cited 50,211 individuals of Thai ethnicity in Malaysia. Among these, 38,353 (or 76.4% of them) hold Malaysian citizenship.[12]

Notable Malaysian Siamese people[edit]


  • Johnson, Irving Chan (2013). The Buddha on Mecca's Verandah: Encounters, mobilities, and histories along the Malaysian-Thai border. University of Washington Press. 


External links[edit]