Malays are not ‘Pendatang’

Dr Md. Salleh Yaapar

Amar Shah Mohsen, The Sun Daily

Facts based on researches in the fields of DNA, folklores and archaeology has proven that Malays are not “pendatang” as claimed by some parties.

“We are not immigrants, and we have facts to prove it,” said one of the panellists during the Bestari Institute of the Malay World and Civilization (Atma) Talk Forum on “Melayu Bukan Pendatang” today, chairman of Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka and University Science Malaysia (USM) Ombudsman Prof Datuk Seri Dr Md. Salleh Yaapar.

“In Nov 2012, Dhamma speaker Datuk Dr Ananda Kumaraseri wrote in the New Straits Times that the origin of the Malays is traced to Tibet and the Yunnan Plateau, and some others claim that we are from China and Taiwan.

“But through folklore studies, which is my field of expertise, we have found out otherwise. In fact, the aboriginal tribes from Taiwan are all descendent of settlers from around the Malay Archipelago, their legends say that their forefathers came from the south, from the aboriginal race, and that race is Malayan,” he added.

On the claim made by Johor Gerakan delegate Tan Lai Soon last October that Malays are “pendatang”, Salleh said that punishment against him would bring no good, and should instead focus on educating people like this and take scientific actions.

“By doing so, we can change the way people think, instead of just punishing them.”

Atma National University of Malaysia (UKM) main research fellow Prof Emeritus Datuk Dr Nik Hassan Shuhaimi Nik Abdul Rahman shares the same stand as Salleh that Malays are not immigrants.

“We have specialists in their respective fields that have proven otherwise. But whatever claims that the Malays are immigrants must be rejected,” he said.

According to the Malaysian Institute of Pharmaceuticals and Nutraceuticals of USM director of research Prof Madya Dr Zafarina Zainuddin, mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) data have proven that the Malay population in the Malay Archipelago has dated back over 60,000 years.

“This fact is contrary to claims that the Malays are immigrants from China and Taiwan, whose population’s mtDNA data is dated about 10,000 years younger than ours,” she said.

“The north to south migration claims is therefore not possible. The people from the Malay Archipelago, particularly Peninsula Malaysia, populated the islands of Southeast Asia and moved towards the north of the continent through Thailand, Indo China and mainland China,” she added.

The forum which took place UKM’s senate room was moderated by the director of Atma Prof Dr Nor Hashimah Jalaluddin.