Temiar in Malaysia

The Temiar have only been reported in Malaysia
Main Language
Largest Religion
Progress Gauge

Introduction / History

The Temiar are among the most publicized of the nineteen Orang Asli people groups in Peninsular Malaysia. They are officially classified under the Senoi subgroup and are the fourth largest of the Orang Asli groups.

The Malay people call them sakai (a disparaging Malay word for slave). Temiar settlements can be found in the states of Perak, Kelantan, Pahang, Selangor, and Negeri Sembilan. Many Temiar live on the fringes of the rainforest while some live in towns.

What Are Their Lives Like?

The Temiar live in an extended family social structure. They used to live in longhouses, but today most have individual houses made of split bamboo. Each village or community has a headman or chief, which is based on heredity. Their staple food is tapioca, which they cultivate around their villages. They also collect fruit from the forest and hunt small mammals and fish. They harvest rattan and bamboo that have multiple uses for the Temiar community. Others work on plantations where they grow tapioca and sometimes maize or hill rice. They used to grow their own fruit, vegetables, tobacco, and medicinal herbs, but now they buy these products.

Temiar life is greatly dependent on bamboo, which is used for building houses, receptacles, food (bamboo shoots), musical instruments, and for weapons. Nowadays, when they hunt animals, they use blowpipes and spears, along with various traps and nooses. The Temiar are easygoing, peaceful people. There appears to be an absence of conflict or violence within their society. Although the Temiar have been known to take revenge against outsiders, many of their cultural beliefs help promote non-violence. By the time they become adults, they have learned to feel anxious that their actions might cause someone else harm.

What Are Their Beliefs?

Traditionally animists, the Temiar have some vague idea of a supreme being but like many Orang Asli they have little confidence in an afterlife. They aim to live in harmony with nature in this life through the intercession of the several types of medicine men or spirit mediums.

Temiar spirit mediums often hold night ceremonies where spirit guides are evoked amidst much singing, dancing, and trances. In a trance, possession by the familiar "tiger spirit" enables the medium to cure somatic or psychological sickness and to ensure the fortunes of his group.

Dreams play an important role in the daily lives of the Temiar. They consider dreams to be a link between the natural world and the spirit world. They believe that a dream is a mystical experience in which the person's soul wanders about the forests in search of guidance. Even their dances and songs are dream inspired.

What Are Their Needs?

Though highly publicized, the Temiar remain poor and often lack adequate medical care. Pray for those who will assist the Temiar in their physical needs and in the transitions they must face in the modern world. Pray for local believers who will relate and respond to the needs of these people.

Prayer Points

Scripture Prayers for the Temiar in Malaysia.

Profile Source:   Southeast Asia Link - SEALINK   Copyrighted ©   Used with permission  

People Name General Temiar
People Name in Country Temiar
Alternate Names Grik; Northern Sakai; Pie; Sakai, Northern
Population this Country 34,000
Population all Countries 34,000
Total Countries 1
Indigenous Yes
Progress Scale 2
Unreached No
Frontier People Group No
GSEC 1  (per PeopleGroups.org)
Pioneer Workers Needed
People ID 14030
ROP3 Code 107459
ROP25 Code 306167
ROP25 Name Northern Sakai (Temiar)
Country Malaysia
Region Asia, Southeast
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
Persecution Rank 49  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Location in Country Peninsular, Perak, Kelantan, and Pahang states.   Source:  Ethnologue 2016
Country Malaysia
Region Asia, Southeast
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
Persecution Rank 49  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Location in Country Peninsular, Perak, Kelantan, and Pahang states..   Source:  Ethnologue 2016
Primary Religion: Ethnic Religions
Major Religion Percent
0.00 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 0.60 %)
7.00 %
Ethnic Religions
61.00 %
0.00 %
32.00 %
0.00 %
Other / Small
0.00 %
0.00 %
Primary Language Temiar
Language Code tea   Ethnologue Listing
Language Written Yes   ScriptSource Listing
Total Languages 1
Primary Language Temiar
Language Code tea   Ethnologue Listing
Total Languages 1
People Groups Speaking Temiar

Primary Language:  Temiar

Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Bible-Portions Yes  (2023)
Bible-New Testament No
Bible-Complete No
FCBH NT (www.bible.is) Online
Possible Print Bibles
World Bibles
Forum Bible Agencies
National Bible Societies
World Bible Finder
Virtual Storehouse
Resource Type Resource Name Source
General Faith Comes By Hearing - Bible in text or audio or video Faith Comes by Hearing
Photo Source Copyrighted © 2024  Southeast Asia Link - SEALINK  All rights reserved.  Used with permission
Map Source Bethany World Prayer Center  
Profile Source Southeast Asia Link - SEALINK  Copyrighted ©  Used with permission 
Data Sources Data is compiled from various sources. Learn more.

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