People-in-Country Profile

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

Tamil (Hindu traditions) in Malaysia

Tamil (Hindu traditions)

Send us a photo of this people.  [1]

Tamil (Hindu traditions) in Malaysia map
Population [2] Language Religion % Christian % Evangl Online NT Jesus Film Progress
1,971,000 Tamil Hinduism 6.00 % 3.45 %   

Tamil (Hindu traditions) in Malaysia

Profile Text
Submit Profile Text:

Introduction / History
The Tamil Indians first arrived on the Malay Peninsula in the 15th century and were successful as textile and spice merchants. Of these earliest Indian communities, only a small minority survived. They have adopted many Malay customs over the years, including the Malay language, food, and dress. Under the British rule in Malaysia during the 18th century, the great migration started. At first, Tamil laborers from Tamil Nadu and neighboring states in South India were brought in to build roads and railways or to work on tea plantations. Later on, they were recruited to work in the rubber and palm oil industries.

What are their lives like?
Today, Tamil Indians comprise six and one half percent of the Malaysia population and four percent of the Singapore population. Like other Indians, Malaysian Tamil communities proudly continue with their traditional customs, language, and religions. Tamil Indians live in both rural areas and urban centers. Many have successfully ventured into all walks of Malaysian life. Some Tamils are professionals, but the majority have remained manual laborers. What Tamil Indians lack in opportunity, they overcome through creativity. Tamils often speak three to four dialects, cook a variety of curries, wear vibrantly colored materials, and have a lively culture.

What are their beliefs?
The Tamil in Malaysia are predominantly Hindu. Although many are devout Hindus, many simply follow worship practices without a full understanding their Hindu beliefs. The Tamil Indians of Malaysia participate in many Hindu festivals, rituals, and ceremonies. However, there is one festival that has been uniquely adapted in Malaysia and Singapore - Thaipusam (a demonstration of human endurance, self-sacrifice, and the power of mind over matter). It is very different from the original Thaipusam practiced in India. The Festival is held in honor of Lord Murugan (Hindu deity, the son of Shiva). Thaipusam is a time of purification and atonement, where devotees by the thousands fulfill their vows made to the deities for prayers answered.

Thousands of men express their loyalty by putting vel (metal skewers) through the skin of their foreheads, cheeks, and tongues. They also pierce their chests and backs with hooks hung with offerings of leaves, limes, or metal containers holding milk. All devotees will walk barefoot for many miles and then ascend hundreds of steps up the temple to bear offerings to Lord Murugan. Year after year, they strive in vain to find purification and atonement.

What are their needs?
Tamil Indians would state their needs in terms of educational, social, and economic opportunities. The Tamil Indians have been reported to have Malaysia's highest school drop out rate, unemployment, illiteracy, alcoholism, criminal activity, and number of squatters. There is some underlying bias against the Tamils of Malaysia that is subtly expressed by the other major people groups. Pray for local believers of other ethnicities to abandon any such prejudices and work to build relationships with Tamil Indians and support them in their struggles. Pray for local believers to relate and respond to all the needs of Tamil Indians.

View Tamil (Hindu traditions) in all countries.

Prayer Links
  Submit Update:
Country: Malaysia
Continent: Asia
Region: Asia, Southeast
Persecution Rank:43 (Only top 50 ranked, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
10/40 Window: Yes
Location in Country:Peninsular.
(Source: Ethnologue 2016)
  Peoples [3]
Submit Update:
People Name in Country: Tamil (Hindu traditions)
People Name General: Tamil (Hindu traditions)
Alternate People Names:
तमिल (हिंदू ट्रेडिशन्स)
ROP3 Code: 113732
Joshua Project People ID: 18211
Indigenous: No
Population in Country: 1,971,000
Population all Countries: 2,827,000
Least-Reached: No
Affinity Bloc: South Asian Peoples
People Cluster: South Asia Hindu - other
People Name General: Tamil (Hindu traditions)
Ethnic Code: CNN25
Ethnic Relationships: Affinity Bloc -> People Cluster -> Peoples Ethnicity Tree
Submit Update:
Primary Language: Tamil
Language Code (ISO): tam    Ethnologue Listing
Total Languages: 1
Religion [4]
Submit Update:
Primary Religion: Hinduism
Major Religions:
Buddhism0.00 % 
Christianity6.00 %(Evangelical: 3.45 %)
Ethnic Religions1.00 % 
Hinduism62.00 % 
Islam30.50 % 
Non-Religious0.00 % 
Other / Small0.50 % 
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]   Evangelicals have a modest presence.
Least-Reached: No
GSEC Status:Level 4   Greater than or equal to 2% Evangelical
Bible Translation Status
Submit Update:
Bible Portions: 1714-1956
New Testament:
Complete Bible: 1727-2021
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
Audio RecordingsGeneral Ministry Resources
Audio RecordingsLove letter to you from scripture
Audio RecordingsOnline Audio Scripture
Audio RecordingsOnline New Testament
Audio RecordingsOnline New Testament
Audio RecordingsOnline New Testament
Audio RecordingsOnline New Testament
Audio RecordingsOnline New Testament
Audio RecordingsOnline New Testament
Audio RecordingsOnline New Testament
Audio RecordingsRecorded oral Bible
Audio RecordingsStory of Jesus audio
Film / VideoFollowing Jesus video
Film / VideoGod's Story video
Film / Video / Animation
Film / VideoJesus Film: view in Tamil
Film / VideoLUMO film of Gospels
Film / VideoMagdalena video
Film / VideoMy Last Day video, anime
Film / VideoStory of Jesus for Children
Film / VideoWorld Christian Videos
GeneralBible for Children
GeneralBiblical answers to your questions
GeneralComprehensive list of Tamil Resources
GeneralGospel resources links
GeneralGospel website in this language
GeneralZume Resources
GeneralZume Training
Mobile AppDownload audio Bible app as APK file
Mobile AppDownload audio Bible app as APK file
Mobile AppDownload audio Bible app from Google Pla ...
Mobile AppDownload Bible from Google Play Store
Text / Printed MatterBible: Tamil
Text / Printed MatterChildren and youth resources
Text / Printed MatterLiteracy primer for Tamil
Text / Printed MatterOnline New Testament (Bibles India)
Text / Printed MatterTools for faith conversations
Text / Printed MatterTopical Scripture booklets and Bible stu ...
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

Tamil (Hindu traditions) in Malaysia

Global                 Global
  Affinity Bloc             Global  
People Cluster
    South Asia Hindu - other     Asia, Southeast    
      Tamil (Hindu traditions) Malaysia    
            People-by-Country (Profile)          
            Tamil (Hindu traditions) in Malaysia          
      Religion Language  
      Hinduism     Tamil  
    All Religions                              

Direct link: