People-in-Country Profile

People Selector:
Print version:
Step 1 - Select a Country:   Send us your updates!
Step 2 - Select a People:  

Buginese in Malaysia


Send us a photo of this people.  [1]

Buginese in Malaysia map
Population [2] Language Religion % Christian % Evangl Online NT Jesus Film Progress
145,000 Malay Islam 0.00 % 0.00 %   

Buginese in Malaysia

Profile Text
Submit Profile Text:

Introduction / History
The Bugis people are acclaimed sea traders and legendary warriors from Indonesia. They first came to Malaysia in the 16th century and settled in various parts of Malaysia in the states of Johor, Selangor, and Pulau Pinang. Francis Light once called them "the best merchants" among the eastern islands. By the 1700s, they dominated Selangor's politics and economy and eventually established the Sultanate of Selangor; the current Sultan traces his roots back to the Bugis Empire. The 18th century has been called the "Age of the Bugis." There are several Bugis communities scattered along Sabah's southeast coast.

What are their lives like?
The Bugis people are cultured and well-mannered, but acknowledged also as aggressive warriors. In the past, Malay princes hired them as mercenaries due to their renowned war dances and chants. In Johor today, many Bugis are landlords of large coconut and coffee plantations, while some are smallholders and fishermen. Bugis people are also known to be excellent craftsmen, for example, building houses without using nails. Their architectural influence is evident in some of today's Malay houses.

Being proud of their self-image, many Bugis people are active in reviving their culture, language, and heritage, though many younger Bugis cannot speak the language anymore due to assimilation into the Malay community through intermarriage. However, some customs remain highly esteemed; for example, those who serve should not turn their backs on those who eat, and no one should leave the dining area until the entire meal is finished.

In marriages, courtship begins through subtle overtures by the potential groom's family. To woo the woman, they will send her family a tepak sirih (a gift box with food or betel nut) as a sign of interest. Eating this food means acceptance; otherwise, they need more time to consider. Once the match is agreed upon, the girl will live in the loft area of her house to preserve her chastity until the wedding day. The groom is blindfolded on the eve of the wedding and must find his bride among the women in the room. After the ceremony, he grabs her and brings her into the bridal chamber. This signifies the warrior instinct of the Bugis. This practice is still carried out today, especially among traditional families.

What are their beliefs?
The Bugis were among the early converts to Buddhism, but later converted to Islam in the early 1600s. Superstition is strong in daily life: there are many do's and don'ts associated with pregnancy, childbirth, eating, fishing, planting, and opening windows. For instance, the whole skeleton of the fish must be removed and thrown away before they can eat the other side of it. Not to do so brings bad luck. When dressing, buttons are fastened beginning at the bottom, but unfastened from the top to the bottom, signifying a proper ordering of events. Windows are likewise opened with the bottom latches undone first while praying to drive away evil and bad luck.

What are their needs?
The Bugis have a rich cultural heritage in the region that is under pressure to conform to the majority Malay culture. Pray for doors of opportunity to bless the Bugis people by helping them preserve their unique culture designed by their Creator.

View Buginese in all countries.

Prayer Links
Global Prayer Digest: 2019-03-21
  Submit Update:
Country: Malaysia
Continent: Asia
Region: Asia, Southeast
Persecution Rank:40 (Only top 50 ranked, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
10/40 Window: Yes
Location in Country:Sabah: Kota Kinabalu, Lahad Datu, Sandakan and Tawau districts, major cities but also scattered.
(Source: Ethnologue 2016)
  Peoples [3]
Submit Update:
People Name in Country: Buginese
People Name General: Buginese
Alternate People Names:
ROP3 Code: 101703
Joshua Project People ID: 10985
Indigenous: Yes
Population in Country: 145,000
Population all Countries: 5,822,000
Least-Reached: Yes
Affinity Bloc: Malay Peoples
People Cluster: Bugi-Makassar of Sulawesi
People Name General: Buginese
Ethnic Code: MSY44c
Ethnic Relationships: Affinity Bloc -> People Cluster -> Peoples Ethnicity Tree
Submit Update:
Primary Language: Malay
Language Code (ISO): zlm    Ethnologue Listing
Secondary Languages:
Bugis (Unknown)
Total Languages: 2
Religion [4]
Submit Update:
Primary Religion: Islam
Major Religions:
Buddhism0.00 % 
Christianity0.00 %(Evangelical: 0.00 %)
Ethnic Religions0.00 % 
Hinduism2.00 % 
Islam98.00 % 
Non-Religious0.00 % 
Other / Small0.00 % 
Unknown0.00 % 
Christianity Segments:
Anglican0.00 %
Independent0.00 %
Protestant0.00 %
Orthodox0.00 %
Other Christian0.00 %
Roman Catholic0.00 %
(Evangelicals distributed across Christianity segments)
Progress Indicators [5]
Progress Scale[6]   Few evangelicals and few who claim to be Christians. Little, if any, history of Christianity.
Least-Reached: Yes
GSEC Status:Level 1   Less than 2% Evangelical. Some evangelical resources available, but no active church planting within past 2 years
Bible Translation Status
Submit Update:
Bible Portions: 1629-1932
New Testament:
Complete Bible: 1733-2016
Possible Bible Sources: Forum of Bible Agencies
 World Bible Finder
 World Christian Resource Directory
 Gospel Go
Ministry Resources [7]
Audio RecordingsMegaVoice Audio Bible and Stories
Audio RecordingsAudio Bible teaching (GRN)
Audio RecordingsFather's Love Letter
Audio RecordingsOnline New Testament (FCBH)
Audio RecordingsStory of Jesus audio (Jesus Film Project ...
Film / Video / Animation
Film / VideoJesus Film: view in Malay
Film / VideoMy Last Day (Jesus Film Project Anime)
Film / VideoStory of Jesus for Children (JF Project)
GeneralFour Spiritual Laws
GeneralGot Questions Ministry
Text / Printed MatterEasyBibles
Text / Printed MatterEasyBibles
Text / Printed MatterJesus Messiah comic book
Text / Printed MatterWorld Missionary Press Booklets
Ministry Activity
Register Ministry Activity:
Networking: Visit for networking possibilities.
Description: Register your ministry activity among this people group. Contact the Adopt-A-People Clearinghouse and Unleashed for the Unreached to learn about others that might be focused on this people group.
Data Notes
Data Sources

Buginese in Malaysia

Global                 Global
  Affinity Bloc             Global  
People Cluster
    Bugi-Makassar of Sulawesi     Asia, Southeast    
      Buginese Malaysia    
            People-by-Country (Profile)          
            Buginese in Malaysia          
      Religion Language  
      Islam     Malay  
    All Religions                              

Direct link: