|14.8 million (2010 census)|
|Related ethnic groups|
In Malaysia, the Malay population is defined by Article 160 of the Malaysian Constitution as someone born to a Malaysian citizen who professes to be a Muslim, habitually speaks the Malay language, adheres to Malay customs and is domiciled in Malaysia or Singapore. This definition is loose enough to include people of a variety of ethnic backgrounds which basically can be defined as "Malaysian Muslims" and it therefore differs from the anthropological understanding of what constitutes an ethnic Malay.
This understanding of the meaning of "Malay" in Malaysia has led to the creation of an ethnoreligious identity, where it has been suggested that a Malay cannot convert out of Islam as illustrated in the Federal Court decision in the case of Lina Joy. As of 2010 census, Malays made up 51% of the population of Malaysia.
Definition of a Malay
The article defines a Malay as a Malaysian citizen born to a Malaysian citizen who professes to be a Muslim, habitually speaks the Malay language, adheres to Malay customs, and is domiciled in Malaysia or Singapore.
A Kuala Lumpur-based Indonesian journalist, Adi Lazuardi estimated that Malaysian Malays derived their genetic stock various parts of the Indonesian Archipelago, mainly from the coastal regions of Sumatra, Aceh, Java and Sulawesi. Orang Asli and natives of the Riau Archipelago contributed to 20% of the gene pool of Malaysian Malays, not counting the contributions of intermarriages with ethnic Chinese, Indians and Arabs.
- Frith, T. (September 1, 2000). "Ethno-Religious Identity and Urban Malays in Malaysia" (fee required). Asian Ethnicity (Routledge) 1 (2): 117–129. doi:10.1080/713611705. Retrieved 2008-02-23.
- "Federal Court rejects Lina's appeal in a majority decision". The Star. May 31, 2007. Retrieved 2008-02-23.
- Malaysia, Negeri Perantau Indonesia, 31 August 2009, Antara News, retrieved 18 May 2013