Under the Malaysian Constitution Part XII General and Miscellaneous Article 160 (2), the definition of “Malay” is:
“Malay” means a person who professes the religion of Islam, habitually speaks the Malay
language, conforms to Malay custom and –
(a) was before Merdeka Day born in the Federation or in Singapore or born of parents one of whom was born in the Federation or in Singapore, or is on that day domiciled in the Federation or in Singapore; or
(b) is the issue of such a person;
(source: Richmon University. (1974). Constitution of Malaysia. Retrieved July 23, 2015 from http://confinder.richmond.edu/admin/docs/malaysia.pdf)
Malays refers to the ethinc group of Austronesian peoples predominantly inhabiting the Alam Melayu, which includes Malay Peninsula, eastern Sumatra, southernmost parts of Thailand, south coast Burma, island of Singapore, coastal Borneo including Brunei, West Kalimantan, coastal Sarawak and Sabah, as well as the smaller islands which lie between these locations (Wikipedia, 2015). The subethnic groups consist of Javanese, Bugis, Minangkabau, Acehnese, Betawi, Banjar, various tribal communities like the Batak, Dayak, Orang Asli, Orang laut, Moken, Jakun, Orang Kuala, Temuan and Orang Kanaq, etc.
You may find some of the following articles useful as reference:
- Malaysia. Kementerian Pelancongang dan Kebudayaan. Jabatan Warisan Negara. (2014). Warisan tak ketara.
- Malaysia.Official website of tourism. (2014). Budaya dan warisan.
- Ethnic Malays – Wikipedia (2015).