Thai Malays
ملايو تاي
Orang Melayu Thailand
Oré Jawi[1]
Bangso Yawi
Oghae Nayu
Thai Malay boys in Songkhla
Total population
3 million[2] (2020, est.)
Regions with significant populations
Malayic languages Thai and Southern Thai
Predominantly Sunni Islam (Shafi'i Madhab), with a small Buddhist minority[3]
Related ethnic groups
Other Malays

Thai Malays (Standard Malay: Orang Melayu Thailand/Siam, Thai: ไทยเชื้อสายมลายู: Jawi: ملايو تاي; Pattani Malay: Oré Nayu Siae, Bangso Yawi; Bangkok Malay: Oghae Nayu Thai), with officially recognised terms including 'Malayu-descended Thais' and 'Malay',[4][5] is a term used to refer to ethnic Malay citizens of Thailand, the sixth largest ethnic group in Thailand. Thailand is home to the third largest ethnic Malay population after Malaysia and Indonesia and most Malays are concentrated in the Southern provinces of Narathiwat, Pattani, Yala, Songkhla, and Satun. Phuket[6][7] Ranong,[8] and Trang home to a sizeable Muslim population, also have many people who are of Malay descent.[9][full citation needed] A sizeable community also exists in Thailand's capital Bangkok, having descended from migrants or deportees who were relocated from the South from the 13th century onwards.[10]

Cultural distinctiveness

See also: Sultanate of Patani and South Thailand insurgency

Separatist inclinations among ethnic Malays in Narathiwat, Pattani, Yala and Songkhla provinces, the cause of the Southern Thai insurgency, are due in part to cultural differences from the Thai people as well as past experiences of forced attempts to assimilate them into Thai mainstream culture after the annexation of the Sultanate of Patani by Siamese Rattanakosin Kingdom.[11] In 1816, Siam divided the Muslim tributary Sultanate of Patani into seven provinces as part of a policy of 'divide and rule'. Despite occasional subsequent rebellions, the policy was generally successful in ensuring peace until the beginning of the twentieth century. In 1901, Siam restructured the seven provinces into a single administrative unit, 'Monthon Pathani', under the new Ministry of the Interior, which consolidated the seven provinces into four: Patani, Bangnara, Saiburi and Yala. Kedah was then ceded to the British under the Anglo–Siamese Treaty of 1909, in which a more integrated district formerly belonging to Kedah became Satun Province.[12] The Malay Muslims of Satun are less inclined towards separatism; this is largely a result of the historical affinity of the Malay King of Setul towards Siam, compared to the violent breakup of the Sultanate of Patani. Pro-Thai inclinations can also be observed in Malay communities in Phuket, Ranong and Bangkok.[13][14]


Culture and cuisine

In Province Pattani, Narathiwat & Yala also know as 3 Malay regions/Province (kawasan 3 wilayah) having and practicing the same culture as the state of Kelantan, Malaysia. They also speak the same language but some different because Standard Malay education is non-open and not supported by the Thai government which causes them to sometimes mix Malay and Thai.


The majority of Malays in Thailand speak a distinct variety of Malay known as Pattani Malay (Yawi: Baso Yawi/Pattani). However, not all Thai Malays speak Pattani Malay, some people who live in Satun and its vicinage use another distinct variety of Malay known as Satun Malay, while the Malays up north in Bangkok have developed their distinct variant of Malay that incorporated elements of localism with visible Pattani-Kedahan Malay dialect influences known as Bangkok Malay (Bangkok Malay: Bangkok Melayu/Nayu). The Bangkok, Kedahan and Pattani are closely related and shared many similar vocabularies but still mutually partly unintelligible.

Writing system

With the introduction of Islam to Southeast Asia, the Malays use a modified version of the Arabic script known as Jawi. Unlike other parts of the Malay world, like Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia, where the usage of Jawi is declining rapidly from the increasing usage of the Latin alphabet, Jawi is still widely used and understood among Malays in Thailand.


Thai Malays in 2011

Thai Malays are predominantly Sunni Muslims of Shafi'i school of thought.[3] Islam is the defining element of the Thai Malay identity.

Notable Thai Malays

See also

Further reading

  • Streicher, Ruth (2020). UNEASY MILITARY ENCOUNTERS: the Imperial Politics of Counterinsurgency in Southern Thailand. SOUTHEAST ASIA PROGRAM.
  • Che Man, W. K. (1990). Muslims Separatism: The Moros of Southern Philippines and the Malays of Southern Thailand. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-588924-X. OCLC 466390039.
  • Che Man, W. K. (2003). "Democratization and National Integration: Malay Muslim Community in Southern Thailand". Intellectual Discourse. 11 (1): 1–26.
  • Le Roux, Pierre (1998). "To Be or Not to Be…: The Cultural Identity of the Jawi (Thailand)" (PDF). Asian Folklore Studies. 57 (2): 223–255. doi:10.2307/1178753. JSTOR 1178753.
  • Montesano, Michael John; Jory, Patrick, eds. (2008). Thai South and Malay North: Ethnic Interactions on the Plural Peninsula. National University of Singapore Press. ISBN 978-9971-69-411-1.
  • Yegar, Moshe (2002). Between Integration and Secession: The Muslim Communities of the Southern Philippines, Southern Thailand and Western Burma/Myanmar. Lanham: Lexington Books. Part Two: The Patani Muslims, pp. 73–181. ISBN 0-7391-0356-3.
  • Aphornsuvan, Thanet (2004). Origins of Malay Muslim "Separatism" in Southern Thailand. Singapore: Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore.


  1. ^ Le Roux (1998), p. 245
  2. ^ "Thailand: Ethnicity, Regionalism, and Language". [dead link]
  3. ^ a b "Malay Muslims". April 2018.
  4. ^ International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination; Reports submitted by States parties under article 9 of the Convention: Thailand (PDF) (Report) (in English and Thai). United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. 28 July 2011. pp. 3, 5 & 95. CERD/C/THA/1-3. Retrieved 8 October 2016.
  5. ^ แผนแม่บท การพัฒนากลุ่มชาติพันธุ์ในประเทศไทย(พ.ศ.2558–2560) [Master Plan for the Development of Ethnic Groups in Thailand 2015–2017] (PDF) (in Thai). Bangkok: Ministry of Social Development and Human Security. 2015. pp. 1 & 29.
  6. ^ "phuket1.xls". National Statistical Office (Thailand).
  7. ^ "Descendants of the White-Blooded Lady". Phuket Heritage. Lestari Heritage Network. Archived from the original on 2008-06-16.
  8. ^ "ranong1.xls". National Statistical Office (Thailand).
  9. ^ Institute of South East Asian Studies. The South East Asian Review, 1976. The Institute of South East Asian Studies. p. 167.
  10. ^ Mohamed Taher. Encyclopaedic Survey of Islamic Culture. New Delhi: Anmol Publications. pp. 228–229. ISBN 81-261-0403-1.
  11. ^ Carpenter, William M.; Wiencek, David G., eds. (1996). Asian Security Handbook: An Assessment of Political-Security Issues in the Asia-Pacific Region. Armonk: M. E. Sharpe. pp. 240–6. ISBN 1-56324-813-1.
  12. ^ Che Man (1990)
  13. ^ Fraser, Thomas M. (1960). Rusembilan: A Malay Fishing Village in Southern Thailand. Cornell Studies in Anthropology, I. Ithaca: Cornell University Press. p. 88.
  14. ^ Yegar (2002), pp. 79–80