Burmese in Malaysia


Population
Main Language
Largest Religion
Christian
Evangelical
Progress
Progress Gauge

Introduction / History

Ever since the 1800s, the Burmese were lured to the stable conditions and economic opportunities of what is now Malaysia. However, upon arrival, they found they had to compete with Indians, Chinese and other peoples from Southeast Asia. In medieval times, the port of Malacca controlled the straits through which trade with the East occurred. On the southwestern coast of Malaya (Malaysia) facing Sumatra, the city possessed a considerable reputation for its trade. Merchants from many countries, including Burma, were attracted to it. When the British assumed control in the 1800s, Malaysia’s commerce was limited to trade with Burma, Thailand and Indonesia.


Burma established diplomatic relations with Malaya in 1959, and those relations continued when the nation of Malaysia came about in 1965. Despite differing political systems, the Burmese and Malay share commercial interests. In addition, Malaysia offers various training services for the Burmese police and armed forces, farm-based industries, hotel management, and palm oil technology. Since 1976, a few Burmese doctors have served in Malaysia on a contract basis.


What Are Their Lives Like?

The Burmese in Malaysia are usually refugees, but some come as cheap manual labor in this land that has a far higher standard of living than Myanmar. Some are victims of human trafficking. Most of them are from Myanmar’s ethnic minorities like the Chin and the Rohingya, but there are some from the more privileged Burmese ethnic group.


The Malaysian government has become overwhelmed with refugees, and they would like to send many of the Burmese back to Myanmar. It will be difficult to determine which ones are legitimate refugees from the oppressive government and which ones are there to earn a better living.


Some of the Burmese who are not still directly involved in commerce work on plantations or produce food for sale. Wet-rice and rubber are the principal cash crops, while they also cultivate dry-rice and fruit. Other Burmese hold wage-paying jobs.


Through the years, the best course for the Burmese in Malaysia was to identify themselves as "Malay" and get the favor of a local leader. Muslim Burmese could own land according to the legal definition of a Malay, which states that "a Malay is a person belonging to any Malayan race who habitually speaks the Malay language or any Malayan language and professes the Muslim religion." With this clause (still in effect today), some resident Burmese became "Malaysian."


What Are Their Beliefs?

The Burmese are predominantly Hinayana Buddhists. The traditional goal in Buddhism is to seek the middle path to Nirvana, or ultimate peace. They believe that death is not a threat to one who has done good deeds. Instead, it is simply a "passing" from one life to another. They believe those with less merit are reborn as demons, ghosts, animals, or inhabitants of hell.


Though the Burmese are predominantly Buddhist, they have mingled many animistic practices (based on the belief that non-human objects have spirits) with Buddhism. Their animistic beliefs center on inherently evil spirits called nats. Sadly, they spend their lives trying to appease the nats for protection from any other evil spirits. All of their homes have altars for the spirits, as well as a statue of Buddha.


What Are Their Needs?

The Burmese left their homeland in search of peace. They are in need of loving Christ followers who will introduce them to the Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ. Fervent prayer and increased evangelism efforts are the keys to seeing them reached with the gospel.


Prayer Points

* Scripture Prayers for the Burmese in Malaysia.

Pray that the sheer wonder of knowing Jesus and the impact he has on lives will draw hundreds of Burmese to the Throne of Grace.


Pray the hearts of the Burmese people would be stirred by a sovereign work of the Holy Spirit readying them for the gospel message.


Pray they will experience dreams and visions of Jesus leading them into a saving relationship with him.


Pray for an unstoppable movement to Christ among the Burmese people in Malaysia.


Profile Source:   Joshua Project  

Additional Info
Global Prayer Digest: 2013-05-07
People Name General Burmese
People Name in Country Burmese
Pronunciation burr-MEEZE
Population this Country 30,000
Population all Countries 32,291,000
Total Countries 18
Indigenous No
Progress Scale 1
Unreached Yes
Frontier People Group No
GSEC 4  (per PeopleGroups.org)
Pioneer Workers Needed 1
Alternate Names Bama; Bamar; Bamas; Burman; Man; Myan; Myan, Myen; Myanmas; Myen; Yaw; बर्मीज़
People ID 11029
ROP3 Code 101776
Country Malaysia
Region Asia, Southeast
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
Persecution Rank 50  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Country Malaysia
Region Asia, Southeast
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
Persecution Rank 50  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Primary Language Burmese (30,000 speakers)
Language Code mya   Ethnologue Listing
Language Written Yes   ScriptSource Listing
Total Languages 1
Primary Language Burmese (30,000 speakers)
Language Code mya   Ethnologue Listing
Total Languages 1
People Groups Speaking Burmese

Primary Language:  Burmese

Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Bible-Portions Yes  (1815-1985)
Bible-New Testament Yes  (1832-1987)
Bible-Complete Yes  (1835-2014)
Bible-NT Audio Online
Bible-NT Text Online
Possible Print Bibles
Amazon
World Bibles
Forum Bible Agencies
National Bible Societies
World Bible Finder
Virtual Storehouse
Resource Type Resource Name
Audio Recordings Audio Bible teaching
Audio Recordings Online New Testament
Audio Recordings Online New Testament
Audio Recordings Story of Jesus audio
Film / Video A Greater Love
Film / Video Creation to Christ
Film / Video Freedom from Suffering
Film / Video God's Story video
Film / Video Indigitube.tv Video / Animation
Film / Video Jesus Film: view in Burmese
Film / Video LUMO film of Gospels
Film / Video Magdalena video
Film / Video My Last Day video, anime
Film / Video Story of Jesus for Children
Film / Video The Hope Video
General Biblical answers to your questions
General Four Spiritual Laws
General Gospel resources links
Mobile App Download audio Bible app as APK file
Mobile App Download audio Bible app as APK file
Primary Religion: Buddhism
Major Religion Percent
Buddhism
87.50 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 0.17 %)
0.50 %
Ethnic Religions
5.00 %
Hinduism
0.00 %
Islam
7.00 %
Non-Religious
0.00 %
Other / Small
0.00 %
Unknown
0.00 %
Christian Segments Percent
Anglican
0.0 %
Independent
0.0 %
Orthodox
0.0 %
Other Christian
0.0 %
Protestant
30.0 %
Roman Catholic
70.0 %
Photo Source Copyrighted © 2022  Kerry Olson  All rights reserved.  Used with permission
Map Source Bethany World Prayer Center  
Profile Source Joshua Project  
Data Sources Data is compiled from various sources. Read more