Southern Tidung in Malaysia

Main Language
Largest Religion
Progress Gauge

Introduction / History

The Dayak Tidung belong to the Dayak cluster, speak the Dayak Tidung dialect and follow Islam. In the Bulungan regency, they are associated with the Bulungan people (who are considered the most indigenous group in Bulungan) and in that area they are called the Tidung Bulungan. The Tidung Bulungan language is close to the Dayak Tidung language. The Dayak Tidung are also sometimes called Dayak Pantai (pantai means "beach"). Another group of Tidung live in Kinabalu, Marudu and Belud in Sabah district, Malaysia. Perhaps because they live on the beach, the Tidung are more open to outsiders than other Dayak peoples. This openness has led to the Tidung being more influenced by outside cultures of the modern world. Outside influence is heightened by transmigration areas in the traditional Tidung territory. The Dayak Tidung language is part of the Dayak ethno-linguistic grouping called the Tidong which also includes the Bulungan, Kalabakan (Malaysia), Sebakung Murut and Serudung Marut (Malaysia).

What Are Their Lives Like?

Most Tidung make their living as farmers. They grow sweet potatoes, cassava, lentils, fruits and vegetables. The Tidung practice migratory agriculture mainly because they cannot maintain the soil's fertility. Each time they move, neighbors work together to clear new farm land by cutting down trees and burning the underbrush. This farming method is often cited as the main cause of forest fires and damage. Although this process does cause damage, it is far less than the destruction done by industrialists who obtain forest management rights from the government. Along with their other crops, the Tidung also harvest rice, coconuts and wood. Other Tidung are fishermen. Petroleum is also produced on Bunyu and Tarakan islands. Generally the Tidung choose their own marriage partners, but some marry partners chosen for them by their parents. Tidung gladly welcome the birth of a child with a ritual feast, led by a religious leader. Neighbors are invited to come to the feast in which the child is given a name (tasmiah). The celebration is usually held after the child is one or two weeks old. At the party, there is a naik ayun (swing riding) ritual. In this ritual, the child's parents put the child in a swing, cut the child's hair and cover him/her with flour.

What Are Their Beliefs?

Tidung are typically Muslims who perform their religious ceremonies in Islamic ways, but at times with animist meanings. Islam was brought to the Tidung by merchants from Sulawesi. Their division of inheritance is based on orthodox Islamic laws. The animist side of their beliefs includes believing that spirits inhabit certain objects or places and can influence human beings. Thus, their traditional ceremonies are actually focused on seeking protection through magic by either appeasing or controlling both good and bad spirits. A shaman plays an important role in Tidung society and is often asked to heal sicknesses with spells. Previously a majority of Tidung people were Christian, but many have become Muslim due to trading and marriage with Bugis and Arab people. The Tidung are generally friendly and not ethnocentric, but seem not to be open to the Gospel.

What Are Their Needs?

Being nomadic, most Tidung don't have opportunities for a formal education, which is only available to those who are settled. Their openness to modernization, however, can be used as an asset to improve and develop their resources. They also need assistance to be more creative in managing their plantations, farms and fisheries for greater productivity.

Prayer Points

Scripture Prayers for the Tidung, Southern in Malaysia.

Profile Source:   IPN, 2011   Copyrighted ©   Used with permission  

People Name General Dayak Tidung
People Name in Country Tidung, Southern
Natural Name Southern Tidung
Alternate Names Camucones; Nonukan; Tidung; Zedong
Population this Country 3,400
Population all Countries 56,000
Total Countries 2
Indigenous Yes
Progress Scale 2
Unreached No
Frontier People Group No
GSEC 6  (per
Pioneer Workers Needed
People ID 15475
ROP3 Code 110044
ROP25 Code 308152
ROP25 Name Tidung / Tidong
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 Sabah state: Tawau and Kalabakan districts.   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 Sabah state: Tawau and Kalabakan districts..   Source:  Ethnologue 2016

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Primary Religion: Ethnic Religions
Major Religion Percent
0.00 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 1.64 %)
12.00 %
Ethnic Religions
75.00 %
0.00 %
13.00 %
0.00 %
Other / Small
0.00 %
0.00 %
Primary Language Tidung, Southern (3,400 speakers)
Language Code itd   Ethnologue Listing
Language Written Yes   ScriptSource Listing
Total Languages 1
Primary Language Tidung, Southern (3,400 speakers)
Language Code itd   Ethnologue Listing
Total Languages 1
People Groups Speaking Tidung, Southern

Primary Language:  Tidung, Southern

Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Bible-Portions Yes  (2021)
Bible-New Testament No
Bible-Complete No
Possible Print Bibles
World Bibles
Forum Bible Agencies
National Bible Societies
World Bible Finder
Virtual Storehouse
Resource Type Resource Name Source
Audio Recordings Audio Bible teaching Global Recordings Network
Film / Video Jesus Film: view in Tidung, Southern Jesus Film Project
General Scripture Earth Gospel resources links Scripture Earth
Photo Source Copyrighted © 2024  Anonymous  All rights reserved.  Used with permission
Profile Source IPN, 2011  Copyrighted ©  Used with permission 
Data Sources Data is compiled from various sources. Learn more.

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