Introduction / History The Deaf are found throughout the country of Malaysia. There are no known areas where the population is higher than normal/average for the Deaf throughout the world, (i.e. between 1 and 3 per thousand of the population of the country). More than 50% are "unreachable" since it is against the Malaysian constitution for the Muslims to be evangelized. There are a handful of churches with a ministry to the non-Muslim Deaf, at least one of which has a semi-independent Deaf church within the premises of the church.
The adult Deaf tend to congregate in cities or towns where they can find jobs and socialize with other Deaf. In Malaysia each state has at least one school for Deaf children, with a total of 23 elementary schools, two vocational schools and one secondary school. Most are residential schools where local Deaf children live at home. There are also private Deaf schools: two registered elementary schools and other non-registered private schools. Sometimes conditions are not good for the children in these schools while in other schools the children can live more comfortably. In the State of Sabah there are several private kindergartens for Deaf children. For primary one, the children go to the regular Deaf school. The language of the Deaf, Malaysian Sign Language, is not taught in school and the teachers discourage its use. The teachers (except for the Deaf teachers) only know and use Signing Exact Malay, using the word order and other aspects of the grammar of the national language.
The Deaf of Malaysia usually are gainfully employed, though often in low-paying jobs. There are a few graduates of Gallaudet University and some Malaysian universities colleges and polytechnic colleges, who have fairly good jobs.