Brunei Malay of Malaysia

The Brunei Malay people are a native Malay ethnic group that live in Brunei, a little-known nation on the island of Borneo. The country is tiny (a little larger than Delaware), but enjoys the wealth from oil resources. The Brunei also live in Malaysia, Canada, and the United States. The in-country population is 184,000; the worldwide population is 556,000.

Their language, also called Brunei Malay, is different in sound from Malay. Brunei Malay is the language of everyday communication for most Bruneians and is a sign of a speaker’s wish to identify himself as Bruneian. Brunei Malay is currently replacing the minority languages. There is no Bible, and no other known Christian resources in this language.

Brunei’s government is a monarchy with a line of sultans dating back to the 14th century. The current sultan became the absolute ruler in 1967. As such, he is both the head of state and the head of government. He is also at the head of the official religion, Islam, which he promotes by building mosques. (It is estimated that Brunei has more mosques per square kilometer than any other country in the world.) He also protects Islam by making it illegal to proselytize or for Muslims to convert from Islam.

The future is uncertain. Rapid depletion of oil reserves is an economic concern. The helpless state of lost souls, however, is of greater concern. How shall they hear? Pray for laborers!

Winter 2020-21