People-in-Country Profile

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

Melanau in Malaysia

Melanau

Send us a photo of this people.  [1]

Melanau in Malaysia map
Population [2] Language Religion % Christian % Evangl Online NT Jesus Film Progress
137,000 Melanau, Central Islam 5.00 % 2.50 % No No   

Melanau in Malaysia

Profile Text
Submit Profile Text:

Introduction / History
The Melanau are considered among the earliest settlers in Sarawak. The name Melanau was not used by the Melanau to refer to themselves until recently. They call themselves a-likou meaning 'people of the river'. Legend has it that the name Melanau was given by one of the Sultans of Brunei to the inhabitants of the coastal swamp flats and riverbanks of central Sarawak.

The Melanau live in a low-lying swampy plain covered by dense tropical forest in the coastal region of Sarawak. They are mostly located in and near the towns of Mukah, Matu, Daro, Dalat, Bintulu, Kanowit, and Sibu.

Because of their group affiliation, Melanau derive their identities through people such as parents, friends, relatives, and teachers. The self is a part of the community, the family, the clan, the village, and the bureaucracy. A person's family is the primary unit that defines Melanau roles, responsibilities, and status in the community.

The Melanau language consists of various dialects. However, most of Melanau people use the dialect from the Mukah area to communicate with those from other dialects.

What are their lives like?
The Melanau are mostly farmers, fishermen, sago producers, and traders. Cultivation of sago palm, wet rice, coconut, and rubber supplements their economy. They are also regarded as being fine boat-builders and fishermen. They consider education a priority, and some Melanau have thrived in politics, business, and public life. The Melanau are described as open, friendly, outgoing, and non-aggressive people. They value their relationships with friends and family members. Gotong-royong 'mutual assistance' is still practiced, especially during weddings, funerals, and farming. Whenever someone dies, the dead person's personal belongings are buried together with the body. The peligin 'mourning period' usually lasts almost a month. Intermarriage among those of different religious beliefs is common and accepted.

What are their beliefs?
Modern Melanau are the most religiously diverse and tolerant community in Sarawak. It is normal for the Christians, Muslims, and Animists to live peacefully in one place or community. They respect one another's beliefs and even celebrate one another's feasts and festivities.

Traditional beliefs and practices continue to flourish among the people. A shaman can be either a man or woman who is thought to be "a master of spirits." The Melanau still seek help from a shaman if they are sick or bothered by spirits. One Melanau celebration is the Kaul festival, which includes a ceremony to appease the spirits of the sea, land, forest, and farm.

What are their needs?
Many of the Melanau need better fishing techniques in order to sustain an adequate income in the fishing industry. Pray for people skilled in modern techniques in fishing to help the Melanau people improve their livelihood. They have great potential for tourism considering their rich culture and natural environment. Many Melanau still lack access to the good news. Pray that believers will commit to helping them have the good news in the language that is most appropriate for them.

View Melanau in all countries.

Prayer Links  
PrayerGuard.net
  Submit Update:
Country: Malaysia
Continent: Asia
Region: Asia, Southeast
Persecution Rank:42 (Only top 50 ranked, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
10/40 Window: Yes
Total Provinces on file:1
Location in Country:Sarawak, Mukah Division, Rejang delta coastal area to Balingian river.
(Source: Ethnologue 2016)
   
  Peoples [3]
Submit Update:
People Name in Country: Melanau
People Name General: Melanau
Alternate People Names:
BalingianBelanau
BruitDalat
MelenauMuka
Sarikei
ROP3 Code: 106531
Joshua Project People ID: 13666
Indigenous: Yes
Population in Country: 137,000
Population all Countries: 138,000
Least-Reached: No
   
 
Affinity Bloc: Malay Peoples
People Cluster: Borneo-Kalimantan
People Name General: Melanau
Ethnic Code: MSY44z
Ethnic Relationships: Affinity Bloc -> People Cluster -> Peoples Ethnicity Tree
   
 
Language
Submit Update:
Primary Language: Melanau, Central
Language Code (ISO): mel    Ethnologue Listing
Total Languages: 1
   
 
Religion [4]
Submit Update:
Primary Religion: Islam
Major Religions:
Buddhism0.00 % 
Christianity5.00 %(Evangelical: 2.50 %)
Ethnic Religions40.00 % 
Hinduism0.00 % 
Islam55.00 % 
Non-Religious0.00 % 
Other / Small0.00 % 
Unknown0.00 % 
Christianity Segments:
Anglican0.00 %
Independent5.00 %
Protestant55.00 %
Orthodox0.00 %
Other Christian10.00 %
Roman Catholic30.00 %
 
(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: 1980
New Testament: None Reported
Complete Bible: None Reported
Possible Bible Sources: Forum of Bible Agencies
 World Bible Finder
 World Christian Resource Directory
 Gospel Go
 
 
Ministry Resources [7]
None Reported
 
 
Ministry Activity
Register Ministry Activity:
Networking: Visit LinkingGlobalVoices.org 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
 
 

Melanau in Malaysia

Peoples
               
Geographic
Global                 Global
           
  Affinity Bloc             Global  
           
   
People Cluster
       
Region
   
    Borneo-Kalimantan     Asia, Southeast    
     
People-Group-Across-Countries
   
Country
   
      Melanau Malaysia    
            People-by-Country (Profile)          
            Melanau in Malaysia          
      Religion Language  
      Islam     Melanau, Central  
    Global    
Language
 
    All Religions                              
   
Religion
                             

Direct link:  http://legacy.joshuaproject.net/people-profile.php?rog3=MY&peo3=13666