Malays and the origin

malaysMalays (or Melayu) are a diverse group of people living in the Malay archipelago and Malay peninsula in South East Asia. They constitute the dominant ethnic group which live in Malaysia, Indonesia, Brunei, the Philippines and East Timor, which together with Singapore and the southernmost part of Thailand (Patani) make up what is called the Malay archipelago.

According to the Malay International Secretariat, there are 350 million Malays in the world. The Malay diasporas of 20 million had spread to Suriname (South America), South Africa, Madagascar, Sri Lanka and Australasia.

According to Western anthropologist such as Austrian Von Geldern, there were two waves of migrations of Malays from Yunnan, Southeast of China to Southeast Asia. The first wave, known as the early or Proto Malays arrived during the late Stone Age, 8,000BC to 10,000 BC. The later Malays, or Deutero Malays, were more civilized. They settled in the valleys and river mouths and drove the early inhabitants into the jungles.

However, this theory has been disproved by today’s anthropologists, such as Malaysian Dr Wan Hashim Wan Teh from National University of Malaysia. He claimed that the discovery of skulls in the Niah Caves in Sarawak, proved that Malays came from the island of Borneo and spread in all directions by the sea to as far as Madagascar, Taiwan and the Pacific isles. The Merina of Madagascar speaks a dialect of Malagasy that contains a sprinkling of archaic Malay words. The early Malays are believed to be nomads. Today they are known as Orang Asli and Dayaks (Natives in Malaysia and Indonesia).

In Permata Yang Hilang written by Ibnu Yusof, he allegedly quotes the works of Ibn Al-Athir, the famous medieval Islamic historian, indicating that Malays were decended from Prophet Abraham.

The 17th century, Sejarah Melayu claims that Malays kings were the descendants of Alexander the Great, who traveled via India and established kingdoms in Palembang and later in Singapore.

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