The Kedayan (also known as Kadayan, Kadaian or Kadyan)[1] are an ethnic group residing in Brunei, Labuan, Sabah, and parts of Sarawak on the island of Borneo.[2][3] The Kedayan language (ISO 639-3: kxd) bears a similarity to Brunei Malay, which is spoken by more than 530,000 people in Brunei, 46,500 in Sabah and 37,000 in Sarawak.[4][5][6] In Sabah the Kedayan mainly live in the cities of Sipitang, Beaufort, Kuala Penyu and Papar.[4][7] In Sarawak the Kedayans mostly reside in Lawas, Limbang, Miri and the Subis area.[4] The Kedayan people are also regarded as a sub-ethnic group of the Klemantan Dayak people.[8]

Kedayan people
Kadayan / Kadaian / Kadyan
Image from page 204 of "Women of all nations, a record of their characteristics, habits, manners, customs and influence;" (1908) (14769945902).jpg
Kadayan women, 1908. Note the light tunic with rows of buttons.
Total population
Est. 240,000 in Borneo[1]
Regions with significant populations
Kedayan, Standard Malay, English
Shafi'i Sunni Muslim
Related ethnic groups
Bruneian Malay, Banjarese, Javanese, Lun Bawang/Lundayeh


A Kedayan man, standing underneath a rice barn.

The origins of the Kedayans are uncertain. Some of them believe their people were originally from Java,[2] which they left during the reign of Sultan Bolkiah. Because of his fame as a sea captain and voyager, the Sultan was well-known to the people of Java, Sumatra and the Philippines.[2] It is believed that when the Sultan arrived to the island of Java, he became interested in the local agricultural techniques.[2] He brought some of the Javanese farmers back to his country to spread their techniques. The farmers inter-married with the local Bruneian Malay people, giving birth to the Kedayan ethnicity.[2] Most Kedayans have adopted Islam since the Islamic era of the Sultanate of Brunei. They have also adopted Malay culture.[6] The Kedayans are recognized as one of the indigenous people of Borneo.[9] They are experts in making traditional medicines. The Kedayans are well known for their cultivation of medicinal plants, which they grow to treat a wide range of ailments and to make tonics.[4]

The language of one of the indigenous tribes, the Banjar people in Kutai, East Kalimantan, Indonesia, is said to share more than 90% of the vocabulary with the Kedayan language, despite the fact that the Banjarese do not refer to themselves as Kedayans.[citation needed] Both the Kedayans and the Banjarese are related, to a certain extent, because of the similarities in their languages.[10]

Notable peopleEdit


  1. ^ a b Mokhtar, R. A. M.; Sa"Ari, C. Z. (2014). "A Preliminary Study on Factors That Lead Muslim Kedayan to Continue Performing the Syncretic Culture". International Journal of Social Science and Humanity. 4 (6): 421. doi:10.7763/IJSSH.2014.V4.391.
  2. ^ a b c d e Ahmad Ibrahim; Sharon Siddique; Yasmin Hussain (1985). Readings on Islam in Southeast Asia. Institute of Southeast Asian Studies. pp. 312–. ISBN 978-9971-988-08-1.
  3. ^ James Alexander (2006). Malaysia, Brunei and Singapore. New Holland Publishers. pp. 367–. ISBN 978-1-86011-309-3.
  4. ^ a b c d Shiv Shanker Tiwary & P.S. Choudhary (1 January 2009). Encyclopedia Of Southeast Asia And Its Tribes (Set Of 3 Vols.). Anmol Publications Pvt. Ltd. ISBN 978-81-261-3837-1.
  5. ^ Michael Zanko; Matt Ngui (1 January 2003). The Handbook of Human Resource Management Policies and Practices in Asia-Pacific Economies. Edward Elgar Pub. pp. 10–. ISBN 978-1-84064-751-8.
  6. ^ a b A. Suresh Canagarajah (15 January 2005). Reclaiming the Local in Language Policy and Practice. Routledge. pp. 227–. ISBN 978-1-135-62351-7.
  7. ^ Julie K. King; John Wayne King (1984). Languages of Sabah: Survey Report. Department of Linguistics, Research School of Pacific Studies, Australian National University. ISBN 978-0-85883-297-8.
  8. ^ John Alexander Hammerton; Dr. Charles Hose (1922). Peoples of All Nations. Concept Publishing Company. ISBN 81-7268-156-9.
  9. ^ Carl Skutsch (7 November 2013). Encyclopedia of the World's Minorities. Routledge. pp. 781–. ISBN 978-1-135-19388-1.
  10. ^ Shiv Shanker Tiwary & Rajeev Kumar (2009). Encyclopaedia of Southeast Asia and Its Tribes, Volume 1. Anmol Publications. p. 216. ISBN 81-261-3837-8.

External linksEdit