Saturday, 25 August 2012



   The Malays are the people who inhabit the Malayan Peninsula and some of the nearby islands, including the east coast of Sumatra, the coast of Borneo and smaller islands that lie between the areas. These tribal proto-Malays were a seafaring people. Present day Malays of the Peninsula and coasts of the Malay Archipelago are "anthropologically described as deutero-Malays" and are the descendants of the tribal proto-Malays mixed with modern Indian, Thai, Arab and Chinese ancestry. Malay culture itself has been strongly influenced by that of people of neighboring lands, including Siamese, Javanese, Sumatran and Indians. The influence of Hindu India was historically very great, and the Malay people were largely Hindus before they were converted to Islam in the 15th century. For 2000 years, the traffic of traders between the Malayan Archipelago and India resulted in frequent intermarriages especially Tamils and Gujeratis. Some Hindu rituals survive in Malay culture, as in the second part of the marriage ceremony and in various ceremonies of State. Malays have also preserved some of their more ancient beliefs in spirits of the soil and jungle, often having recourse to medicine men called bomohs [shamans] for the treatment of ailments.
   In the northern states of Perlis and Kedah, intermarriages with Thais were commonplace. The east coast state of Kelantan still has traces of Javanese culture that date back to the era of the Majapahit Empire of the 14th century. The Sumatran kingdom of Acheh dominated Perak for over a century. The Bugis from Indonesia's Celebes Islands colonized Selangor and fought for rulers in States along the length of the peninsula - from Kedah to Johor. The Minangkabaus from Sumatra had their own independent chiefdoms in what is today the state of Negeri Sembilan. These mixes of different ethnic groups form what is the modern Malay and can be clearly seen in the lineage of, for example, Malacca's royalty. Sultan Muhammad Shah married a Tamil from South India. Sultan Mansur Shah married a Javanese, a Chinese and a Siamese; the Siamese wife bore two future Sultans of Pahang. It was this diversity of races, cultures and influences that has the given the modern Malay race the rich and unique historical heritage it has today.
   This rich historical heritage has evidently resulted in its exotic cuisine. In Malay cuisine fresh aromatic herbs and roots are used, some familiar, such as lemongrass, ginger, garlic, shallots, kaffir limes and fresh chilies. Both fresh and dried chilies are used, usually ground into a sambal or chili paste to add hotness to dishes. There are however, less commonly known herbs and roots that are essential in Malay cooking; such as daun kemangi [a type of basil], daun kesum [polygonum, commonly called laksa leaf], bunga kantan [wild ginger flower buds or torch ginger], kunyit basah [turmeric root], lengkuas [galangal] and pandan or pandanus [screwpine leave]. Dried spices frequently used in Malay cooking are jintan manis [fennel], jintan putih [cumin] and ketumbar [coriander]; Other dried spices used are cloves, cardamom, star anise, mustard seeds, fenugreek, cinnamon and nutmeg. Both fresh and dried ingredients are frequently used together, usually ground into a rempah ['spice paste]. The rempah is then sautéed in oil to bring out it's flavorful aroma and toasted goodness. Santan [coconut milk] is the basis of Malay lemak dishes. Lemak dishes are typically not hot to taste; it is aromatically spiced and coconut milk is added for a creamy richness [lemak]. Assam Jawa, or tamarind paste is a key element in many Malay assam dishes for adding a sour or tangy taste; especially for fish and seafood dishes. What is tamarind paste? Tamarind paste is the pulp extracted from tamarind pods commonly used as a souring ingredient in Latin America, India, Africa and Asia. While the prime taste is sour, the underlying tang is slightly sweet, reminiscent of dried apricots or dried prunes. The pulp or paste is commonly sold in the form of a semi-dry flat block. To use, simply pinch a small lump from the block and soak it in some warm water. Use your fingers to squish it about in the water to separate the seeds and fibers; the resulting paste or tamarind water is used for cooking.
For recipe, please click on the title.
Nasi Lemak : Coconut-flavored Rice Meal - is rice cooked in coconut milk made aromatic with pandan leaves [screwpine leaves]. It is typically served with Sambal Ikan Bilis - fried dried anchovies cooked in a dry sambal sauce, and garnished with cucumber slices, hardboiled egg and roasted peanuts. Traditionally packaged in a banana leaf, it is usually eaten as hearty breakfast fare.

Satay: BBQ Sticks - This famous meat-on-a-stick appears on menus from New York to Amsterdam. The secret of tender, succulent satay is, of course, in the rich, spicy-sweet marinade. The marinated meat; chicken or beef, are skewered onto bamboo sticks and grilled over hot charcoals. Some satay stalls also serve venison and rabbit satay. A fresh salad of cucumbers & onions are served together with a spicy-sweet peanut sauce for dipping. Ketupat, a Malay rice cake similar to Lontong, is also an accompaniment to satay, great for dipping in satay sauce. Sedapppp…Delicious!!!

Beef Rendang : Malay Spiced Coconut Beef - This hot, dry spiced dish of tenderly simmered meat offers the typical Malaysian taste of coconut, balanced with robust, tangy spices. Rendang is a must-have on special occasions such as weddings, ideally served with nasi kunyit [turmeric rice]. During Ramadan & Eid, the Malay New Year, Rendang is sure to take center stage on bountiful tables of feast in homes everywhere. During this festive season, a special rice cake called Lemang is made to eat with Rendang. Lemang is made from glutinous rice and santan [coconut milk], carefully packed into bamboo poles lined with banana leaves and cooked in the traditionally way over low open fires.

Sambal Udang: Spicy Prawns - whole prawns or shrimp are cooked in a classic Malay sauce; a spicy robust sauce made with chilies, shallots, garlic, stewed tomatoes, tamarind paste and belacan [also spelt belachan or blacan], a dried shrimp paste paste. Sambal Udang is the perfect accompaniment to the country's un-official national dish - Nasi Lemak.

Ayam Masak Merah : Red-Cooked Chicken - is similar to the Italian famous dish Chicken Cacciatore except for it spicy hotness. Pieces of chicken are first pan-fried to a golden brown then slowly simmered in a spicy tomato sauce. This popular Malay dish is especially scrumptious with nasi tomato [tomato rice].

Laksa : Noodles in Tangy Fish Soup - Thick rice noodles are served in a tangy fish soup/gravy. Not at all fishy, the soupy gravy is made with mackerel and lots of aromatic herbs. Fresh garnishing of shredded cucumber, lettuce, pineapple, onion and fragrant mint leaves finishes the dish. In general the term Laksa refers to Malay style laksa, sometimes called Malay Laksa. There are slight variations in different parts of the country. The key ingredient is tamarind, used as a souring agent, giving it a tart tangy taste. This version of laksa from the 'hawker food capital' - Penang, is especially famous and well known as Penang Laksa or Penang Assam Laksa.
Mee Jawa: Indonesian style Noodles - is a popular Malay noodle dish influenced by the Indonesian island of Java. The soupy gravy is made from fresh prawns and ladled over yellow egg noodles [chow mein]. Slices of potato, tofu [soy bean cake], egg, vegetables and shrimp garnishes the dish.

Roti Jala: 'Net' Bread or Crepe - is a net-like or lacy type of crepe made from a flour batter. A special cup or mould with small holes, is used to form a lacy crepe cooked on a hot griddle. Roti Jala, an alternative to rice, is an ideal accompaniment to curries such as Malaysian Chicken Curry, Mutton Kurma, Chicken Kapitan, Lamb Cashew Korma [also spelt Korma].

Ikan Bakar : BBQ Fish - or Ikan Panggang is a general term meaning grilled or barbecued fish. A popular local fish for grilling is Ikan Kembong [chubb mackerel, also called Indian mackerel]. The fish, kept whole is marinated in spices, coconut milk, and sometimes stuffed with sambal, then wrapped in fresh banana leaves and grilled over hot charcoals.

Ikan Pari Bakar : BBQ Stingray or Skate Wings - A popular method of cooking stingray or skate wings is by barbequing. The wings are marinated in spices then wrapped in banana leaves and grilled over hot charcoals. A spicy sambal sauce with fresh shallots is served with it.

Sambal Sotong : Spicy Squid - fresh squid [calamari] are cooked in a classic Malay sauce; a spicy robust sauce made with chilies, shallots, garlic, stewed tomatoes, tamarind paste and belacan [also spelt belachan or blacan], a dried shrimp paste. Sambal Sotong is also a popular accompaniment to the country's un-official national dish - Nasi Lemak.




The architectural design of traditional Malay house is very unique on it own. Once look at 11 of them, its look alike but the styles is vary from state to state. The different especially the design of the house can be found easily. History and cultural factors influenced a lot in designing and setting traditional Malay house. In the early years, most of the traditional Malay house was built near streams and along the coast. Besides as a shelter, it is to fulfill the needs of life such as drawing water for drinking, bathing and washing. The location of the house makes the people aware for flash floods and high tides. Most of the house were raised off the ground on tree trunk or bamboo post which known as stilts because of the reason. Building on stilts was not only dictated by the need to protect against floods but it also afforded protection from ants, snakes and wild animals. Beside that it is used as utility area, serving as storage and ‘workshop space’ for the family. The traditional Malay house belongs to the Malays. This paper will look on Traditional Malay house in Peninsular Malaysia only since Malays can be find a lot in peninsular. Basically the Traditional Malay House can be identified based on the state where the houses are located and this house has been zoned into 4 areas. The zone has been identified referred to the feature of the house due to the historical ties especially migrant effects.

1. Johore Five Roofed House
The traditional Malay House in Johore well known as ‘Rumah Limas Bugis’ or Bugis Five-Roofed House. The house style is influenced by the Bugis of Sulawesi, Indonesia. It is easily recognized by the long ridged roof, which is joined to four ridges, which project outwards to the four edges of the roof. The special about it is the edge of the roof is decorated with carvings. This type of house can be found a lot in the Pontian District. The main characteristic of this house is that at the ends of each main ridge are upright sharp wooden projections. The layout design of traditional Malay house in Johore consists of the verandah, which is connected to the front room. The verandah always used as a living area for the family. It is separated from the main house by a wall. The main house and kitchen are separated by a passage. The materials used for construct ‘Rumah Limas Bugis’ include ‘Cengal’, ‘Keranji’, ‘Penak’ and ‘Meranti’ wood that can easily found in Malaysia.

2. Malacca Long Roofed House
‘Rumah Melayu Melaka’ or Malacca Malay House is the traditional Malay house that can be found in Malacca. It can still be found in the whole of Malacca today. It is only traditional Malay housed which mainly can be recognized by its glazed and multicoloured tiles on the staircases which are imported from Europe and China. Flowers are a common motif. The house evinces a mixture of architectural influences, which mainly adopted from the traditional Chinese house. In its original form, the main house of the Malacca Malay House stands on 12 or 16 main posts. The structure is made up of the main house, the central section and the kitchen. The main house is made up of the verandah and at times front room is added which has steps leading to it. In the central section is a room and separating the main house and the kitchen is a passage called ‘selang’. In the central section there is an attic used as a bedroom for the girls especially when there is a wedding ceremony and, also, as a storage space. The Malacca Malay house is normally built with ‘Cengal’, ‘Meranti’ and ‘Damar laut’ wood.

3. Negeri Sembilan Long Roofed House
Negeri Sembilan Long Roof House in Negeri Sembilan simply can be recognized by the design of the roof. It is the only house on the Malay to have a curved roof reminiscent of the Minangkabau roof of Sumatra. They are long and at the two ends of the roof are the gable ends, which arch upwards. The house is much smaller compare to other traditional house. The structure is made up of the main house, central section and the kitchen. Same like other traditional Malay house the main house is made up of the verandah and the front room. The central section is made up of a small living area and a room for family. The kitchen is at the back. The special about Negeri Sembilan Long Roof House is it has an attic, which is used as a bedroom for the girls or for storage.

4. Selangor Long Roofed House
The Selangor house dating back more than 60 years can still be found in the federal capital of Kuala Lumpur. These houses closely resemble those in Malacca and Negeri Sembilan due to their historical ties. This type of house is also known as the Long Roofed House as the roof consists of along, straight horizontal ridge and at the ends of the roof are the gable ends made from double-layered wood. The main house stands on 12 main posts, that is, 6 long posts and 6 shorter posts for the inner verandah. The house is made up of three components, that is, main house, central section and kitchen. The main house comprises a verandah, front room and room. It is made up of the extended verandah, room and central passage, which connect the main house to the kitchen. The most attractive of these houses are an open jutting verandah which serves as a reception room. The visitor will not enter the house but is welcomed on the landing or under the porch. The wood that always used are ‘Cengal’, ‘Giam’, ‘Damar Laut’, ‘Meranti’, ‘Kapur’ and ‘Kempas’ wood whilst the roof covering is from sago or ‘Nipah palm’.

5. Pahang Long Roofed House
Architecturally, traditional houses in Pahang have more common with those of the west coast states, perhaps because the Bugis, a seafaring people from Sulawesi built many of the earliest houses. The traditional Malay house in Pahang is known as ‘Rumah Serambi Pahang’. This particular type is increasingly becoming extinct. However, it can still be found in several villages in Pahang. The houses are typically lower to the ground, use smaller timbers and are less elaborately carved but it has a long roof where the gable ends are edged with carvings. It is composed of the main house and kitchen and in between is a passage. The kitchen was design with a jack roof to allow smoke to escape while cooking. It is also includes several other sections. At the front is the verandah followed by the main house, which includes 2 other sections, a raised platform and a living area. The different in terms of section for this house is at the back of the house has a back verandah known as ‘ruang kelek anak’. The kitchen comprises the main kitchen area and a landing for cooking and used as a waiting room for women respectively.

6. Perak Long Roofed House
The traditional Malay house in Perak is called the ‘Rumah Kutai’. ‘Kutai’ means old. Rumah Kutai only located by the banks of the Perak River. We can easily find it in the Central District, Lower Perak and Kuala Kangsar. The Rumah Kutai has rare traditional long roof with the gable end. Most of the house has an attic at the base of the gable end, which used mainly for storage. The walls and floors of Rumah Kutai made entirely of bamboo matting, which allow natural ventilation and reduce glare. It’s different from other traditional house, which prefers used timber as a wall and floor panel. The main section of the Rumah Kutai has 12 or 16 posts. The interior is undivided and on the same level. It is made up of the verandah, living room and a room. At the back is the kitchen, which is separated by an unroofed passage. The window and door openings constructed very small and its effects the lighting in the house which make the house often very dark. The main materials used are wood and bamboo. Wood is used for the posts and roof framework whilst the walls and floor are made of bamboo and the roof covering is from the sago palm.

7. Penang Long Roofed House
There are different types of traditional Malay house can be found in Penang such as the Long Roofed House, ‘Rumah Serambi’ and ‘Rumah Serambi Gajah Menyusu’. ‘Serambi means verandah and ‘Gajah Menyusu’ means an elephant suckling her young. These various traditional houses are increasingly becoming extinct. The latter is recognized by the shape of its roof whereby the roof of the main house is higher than the roof of the verandah. This particular structure is akin to an elephant suckling her young. The architecture is made up of a long horizontal roof with gable ends at the ends. The whole structure is made up of a main house and a kitchen. The house is divided into the extended verandah located in front of the verandah, the central section, the inner verandah, the ‘ruang gajah menyusu’ and the kitchen. The materials used in the building of the house are ‘Cengal’ and ‘Meranti’ wood and the roof covering is from the sago palm.

8. Kedah Long Roofed House
The location of Kedah and Perlis makes the shape of the Kedah Long Roofed House and Perlis Long Roofed House almost similar except for the arrangement of the various sections of the house. The arrangement of the Kedah Long Roofed House is elongated and has a long horizontal roof with gable ends at the ends. The kitchen roof is lower than that of the main house and the whole structure looks quite like an elephant suckling her young. The house divided into two sections. The verandah and the extended verandah located in the front. The central section, inner verandah, room and kitchen are located at the back. The Kedah Long Roofed House stands on several posts or stilts of which the main house has more than 20 posts. The materials normally used are ‘Cengal’, ‘Meranti’ and ‘Damar Laut’ wood and bamboo. The roof covering is from sago and ‘Nipah’ palm and Senggora tiles. It walls are made from flattened bamboo strips interwoven in a pattern.

9. Perlis Long Roofed House
Nowadays the Perlis Long Roofed House is hard to find and this type of house slowly becoming extinct. The house dates back more than 70 years. The Perlis Long Roofed House, standing on more than such 24 posts comprises numerous posts or stilts at times. It has an elongated shape and a horizontal roof with gable ends at the ends. The building is composed of the main house and kitchen. The main house comprises the verandah, rooms, central section and visitor’s lounge. The kitchen is not separated by a dividing wall but only by a passage called the ‘ruang selang’. The Perlis Long Roofed House is made from ‘Cengal’ and ‘Damar laut’ wood. Its walls are made from flattened bamboo strips interwoven in a pattern. Its roofing is made of sago or ‘Nipah’ palm and at times, Senggora tiles.

10. Kelantan Long Roofed House
Traditional Malay house in Kelantan can be found in two types. They are the Single house and the Twelve Post House. The architecture of both does not differ greatly. The Twelve Post House still can be found in several villages as well as in Kota Bahru and dates back about 100 years. The house styles are very different with other states and features similar to Thailand and Cambodian house. These include steep and tiered roofs with curved gable ends. The Kelantan Long Roofed house consists of 12 main posts for the main house and 6 long posts. The top pair is called ‘main’ and the bottom pair is called verandah. The walls are made of wooden panels decorated with carvings. The roofing is made of senggora tiles, which are Thai in origin but have been made locally. The Twelve Post House in its original form is made up of three main sections. That is, the main house which has verandah, the central section and the kitchen. The central section and kitchen are not sub-divided into rooms.

11. Terengganu Five Roofed House
One of the traditional Malay houses are found in Terengganu is the’ Rumah Limas Bungkus’, which means five-roofed house. It can be found in the Besut District. It is popular among the Terengganu Malays since the 20th century. Unfortunately, none are found today and those exist today date back only 40 or 50 years. The house can be easily recognized. The roof consists of a straight central ridge with four shorter ridges projecting down to the four edges of the roof. The edging immediately beneath the roofing is decorated with wooden carvings. This particular house can be found in several forms. Some are long and some are square in shape. It is made up of the front room, verandah, central section and kitchen. Same like Kelantan traditional house, they are mainly built from ‘Cengal’, ‘Meranti’ or ‘Kapur’ wood. The roofing is made from senggora tiles imported from Thailand though are some locally made. The house set apart by their detailing, the construction of the walls and roof and in particular the intricate carvings.


Terrapuri (The Land Of Palaces) is a conservation and restoration project of Terengganu Malay Classic house. Its feature 29 antique hundred years old Classic Houses. The layout of the resort is inspired by the 17th century Terengganu Palace and its surrounding. Terrapuri consists of 20 exclusive restored villas, a gallery and a beach house.

 Terrapuri sits on the land flanked by the South China Sea on one side and mangrove river on the other (Setiu Wetland). By day coconut trees sway amidst sea breezes with stunning view of Pulau Perhentian, Lang Tengah, Pulau Cepu, Redang and Bidong islands, shimmer invitingly just offshore in emerald iridescence. By night, fireflies flash about while, in different seasons, ocean-going green turtles and painted terrapins lay their eggs on their respective sandy shores.

Between the South China Sea and the hill forests lies a speckled array of habitats lagoons, marshes, deltas, peat swamps, Melaleuca forests - that offer refuge to many plants and animals. The wetlands serve as feeding and roosting ground for seasonal birds and are stopover sites for migratory birds. Marine turtles find their way to the beaches between May to September. Adding to Setiu's ecological value are the presence of endangered Painted and River terrapins that travel down river to nest in the sandy shores of the river mouth and beach fringes. Setiu is a priority for the Malaysian Tropical Forest Conservation Project (MTFCP) run by the Coral Cay Conservation, a not-for-profit group headquartered in the UK and WWF Malaysia run conservation of marine turtles and painted terrapins.


   A British scholar named J. Crawfurd has made a comparative study of language in Sumatra, Java, Borneo, and the Polynesian. He thought that the original language of this archipelago is derived from the language in Java (Java language) and the language comes from the island of Sumatra (Malay language). Java language and the language of the Malays is the parent of homogeneous language found in the archipelago.
   J. Crawfurd adds argument with evidence that the Malays and Javanese people have a high standard of culture in the nineteenth century. This status can only be achieved after a development culture for centuries. He arrived at the conclusion that:

a.  The Malays did not originate from anywhere, but spread to other places.

b.  The Java language is the oldest language and mother language from other languages.

   K. Himly, that basing the comparison based on sound research and design; said Campa and multilingual language in Southeast Asia refute any claim that the Malay language Polynesian language cluster with Campa. This view is supported by P.W. Schmidt in his research on sentence structure and vocabulary of Campa and Mon-Khmer. He found that the Malay language in both languages is only on the language take-up.

   Fate Sutan Alisjahbana, while delivering a public lecture at Universiti Sains Malaysia (July 1987) called brown-skinned people who live in Southeast Asia, South Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Brunei, and the southern Philippines as Malays are derived from national groups that one. They not only have similarities but similarities skin and body shape different from the Chinese in the east and the Indians in the west.

MALAY (BAHASA MELAYU / بهاس ملايو)

   Malay is an Austronesian language spoken in Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Brunei and Thailand. The total number of speakers of Standard Malay is about 18 million. There are also about 170 million people who speak Indonesian, which is a form of Malay.
   The earliest known inscriptions in Malay were found in southern Sumatra and on the island of Bangka and date from 683-6 AD. They were written in an Indian script during the time of the kingdom of Srivijaya.
   When Islam arrived in Southeast Asia during the 14th century, the Arabic script was adapted to write the Malay language. In the 17th century, under influence from the Dutch and British, the Arabic script was replaced by the Latin alphabet.




Arabic Numerals


Malaysian pronunciation
v       a = [ə] at the ends of words, [a/ɑ] elsewhere
v       v and x are only used in loanwords.
v      q is used in Arabic loanwords.
v       i and u are [e] and [o] respectively in close positions, such as ih, ik.

A a
B b
C c
D d
E e
F f
G g
H h
I i
J j
K k
L l
M m
N n
O o
P p
Q q
R r
S s
T t
U u
V v
W w
X x
Y y
Z z



Semua manusia dilahirkan bebas dan samarata dari segi kemuliaan dan hak-hak. Mereka mempunyai pemikiran dan perasaan hati dan hendaklah bertindak di antara satu sama lain dengan semangat persaudaraan.

Sample text in Malay (Jawi alphabet)

All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
(Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights)





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