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Malay is a term that can either describe the ethnicity focused around the Malay Peninsula and Malay Archipelago or the Austronesian Race which not only includes Malay populated countries but the entire regions of Southeast Asia, Oceania and the African island of Madagascar.
As an Ethnicity [change]
The Malays, as an ethnicity (Malay: Melayu) are an ethnic group of people that live in Malaysia, Indonesia, and Brunei. and with minority populations living in Singapore, and Thailand. Countries where Malay is the national language include Brunei, Malaysia and Indonesia (known as "Indonesian"). Countries where Malay is an official language is Singapore and as a significant minority, Thailand. By Malaysian and Indonesian contexts, a true Malay must be a Muslim. But by Philippine context, a true ethnic Malay is a person indegenous to the Philippines and its neighboring countries south, like Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei. Most Malays, speak the Malay language.
As a Race [change]
Ethnic Malays and Malay Race are two different things. Ethnic Malays, are focused on the ethnic group living in the Malay Peninsula and Malay Archipelago. Malays as a race, is simply another term for "Austronesian". Which not only ecompasses the Malay Archipelago and Malay Peninsula but all of Southeast Asia, Oceania and the African island of Madagascar. Which would mean, that Samoans, Tongans, Fijians and Africans from Madagascar are all "Malays" by race. The concept of Malays as a "race" was proposed by the German scientist Johann Friedrich Blumenbach.