Timorese in Malaysia

Last updated
Malaysians of Timorese origin
Total population
Hundreds [1]
Regions with significant populations
Johore, Sabah
Malay, Indonesian, Tetum and Portuguese
Roman Catholicism, Protestant, Islam
Related ethnic groups
Demographics of East Timor, other ethnic groups in Indonesia

The Timorese Malaysians or Florenese Malaysians consists of people of full or partial Timorese descent who were born in or immigrated to Malaysia. Timorese in Malaysia consist mainly of Timorese formerly resident in Indonesian West Timor as well as recent migrants from East Timor. Most of the Timorese arrived following the occupation of East Timor by Indonesia. Most of these Timorese reside in the state of Sabah especially on the east coast area of Tawau Division with some of them intermarried with the local peoples. [1] [2]

Timor island at the southern end of Maritime Southeast Asia

Timor is an island at the southern end of Maritime Southeast Asia, north of the Timor Sea. The island is divided between the sovereign states of East Timor on the eastern part and Indonesia on the western part. The Indonesian part, also known as West Timor, constitutes part of the province of East Nusa Tenggara. Within West Timor lies an exclave of East Timor called Oecusse District. The island covers an area of 30,777 square kilometres. The name is a variant of timur, Malay for "east"; it is so called because it lies at the eastern end of the Lesser Sunda Islands. Mainland Australia is less than 500 km away, separated by the mentioned Timor Sea.

Malaysia Federal constitutional monarchy in Southeast Asia

Malaysia is a country in Southeast Asia. The federal constitutional monarchy consists of 13 states and three federal territories, separated by the South China Sea into two similarly sized regions, Peninsular Malaysia and East Malaysia. Peninsular Malaysia shares a land and maritime border with Thailand and maritime borders with Singapore, Vietnam, and Indonesia. East Malaysia shares land and maritime borders with Brunei and Indonesia and a maritime border with the Philippines and Vietnam. Kuala Lumpur is the national capital and largest city while Putrajaya is the seat of federal government. With a population of over 30 million, Malaysia is the world's 44th most populous country. The southernmost point of continental Eurasia, Tanjung Piai, is in Malaysia. In the tropics, Malaysia is one of 17 megadiverse countries, with large numbers of endemic species.

West Timor Region in East Nusa Tenggara, Indonesia

West Timor is an area covering the western part of Timor island, except for the district of Oecussi-Ambeno. Administratively, West Timor is part of East Nusa Tenggara Province, Indonesia. The capital as well as its main port is Kupang. During the colonial period, the area was named Dutch Timor and was a centre of Dutch loyalists during the Indonesian National Revolution (1945-1949). From 1949 to 1975 it was named Indonesian Timor.


Relations between the state of Sabah and East Timor

Since the independence of East Timor from Indonesia, the first President of East Timor Xanana Gusmão has paid a visit to the state of Sabah on a working visit and to see the Timorese communities there. [3] [4]

Xanana Gusmão former President and Prime Minister of East Timor

Kay Rala Xanana Gusmão, GColIH, GCL, GCMG is an East Timorese politician. A former militant, he was the first President of East Timor, serving from May 2002 to May 2007. He then became the fourth Prime Minister of East Timor, serving from 8 August 2007 to 16 February 2015. He has been Minister of Planning and Strategic Investment since February 2015.

See also

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Borneo island

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Sabah State of Malaysia

Sabah is a state of Malaysia located on the northern portion of Borneo. Sabah has land borders with the Malaysian state of Sarawak to the southwest and Indonesia's Kalimantan region to the south. The Federal Territory of Labuan is an island just off the Sabah coast. Sabah shares maritime borders with Vietnam to the west and the Philippines to the north and east. Kota Kinabalu is the state capital city, the economic centre of the state and the seat of the Sabah state government. Other major towns in Sabah include Sandakan and Tawau. As of the 2015 census in Malaysia, the state's population is 3,543,500. Sabah has an equatorial climate with tropical rainforests and abundant animal and plant species. The state has long mountain ranges on the west side which form part of the Crocker Range National Park. Kinabatangan River, second longest river in Malaysia runs through Sabah and Mount Kinabalu is the highest point of Sabah as well as of Malaysia.

Portuguese Timor Name of the Portuguese colony, now known as East Timor (Timor-Leste), an independent country

Portuguese Timor refers to East Timor during the historic period when it was a Portuguese colony that existed between 1702 and 1975. During most of this period, Portugal shared the island of Timor with the Dutch East Indies.

History of East Timor aspect of history

East Timor is a country in Southeast Asia, officially known as Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste. The country comprises the eastern half of the island of Timor and the nearby islands of Atauro and Jaco. The first inhabitants are thought to be descendant of Australoid and Melanesian peoples. The Portuguese began to trade with Timor by the early 16th century and colonised it throughout the mid-century. Skirmishing with the Dutch in the region eventually resulted in an 1859 treaty for which Portugal ceded the western half of the island. Imperial Japan occupied East Timor during World War II, but Portugal resumed colonial authority after the Japanese surrender.

Timor Leste Defence Force combined military forces of East Timor

The Timor Leste Defence Force is the military body responsible for the defence of East Timor. The F-FDTL was established in February 2001 and comprised two small infantry battalions, a small naval component and several supporting units.

Tawau District Capital in Sabah, Malaysia

Tawau formerly known as Tawao, is the capital of the Tawau District in Sabah, Malaysia. It is the third-largest town in Sabah, after Kota Kinabalu and Sandakan. It is located on Semporna Peninsula and the south east coast of the state in the administrative centre of Tawau Division which bordered by the Sulu Sea to the east, the Celebes Sea to the south at Cowie Bay and shares a border with North Kalimantan. The town had an estimated population as of 2010 of 113,809, while the whole municipality area had a population of 397,673.

Tawau Division Administrative sub-divisions of Malaysia

Tawau Division is one of the five administrative sub-divisions of Sabah, Malaysia. It occupies a total of 14,905 square kilometres or 20% of Sabah's territory. The main towns include the capital of Tawau, Lahad Datu, Kunak and Semporna. Tawau division has 26% of Sabah's total population, with the main indigenous groups consisting of Bajau, Suluk, Ida'an, Tidong, Cocos, Murut, Lun Bawang/Lun Dayeh as well a minority of mixed ethnic groups. A large numbers of both legal and illegal immigrants from Indonesia such as Buginese and Tators, from East Timor the Timorese, from the Philippines the Tausūg and Visayans as well South and West Asian immigrants such as Pakistani, Indian, Arab can be found on this area. As with the rest of Sabah, the division also have a large numbers of ethnic Chinese.

East Timorese Portuguese

East Timorese Portuguese is a Portuguese dialect spoken in the country of Timor-Leste or East Timor. It is one of the official languages of Timor-Leste alongside Tetum.

Pre-colonial Timor

Timor is an island in South East Asia. Geologically considered a continental crustal fragment, it lies alongside the Sunda shelf, and is the largest in a cluster of islands between Java and New Guinea. European colonialism has shaped Timorese history since 1515 a period when it was divided between the Dutch in the west of the island, and the Portuguese in the east.

Religion in East Timor overview of religion practiced in East Timor

The majority of the population of East Timor is Catholic, and the Catholic Church is the dominant religious institution, although it is not formally the state religion. There are also small Protestant and Sunni Muslim communities.

East Timor Country in Maritime Southeast Asia

East Timor or Timor-Leste, officially the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste, is a country in Maritime Southeast Asia. It comprises the eastern half of the island of Timor, the nearby islands of Atauro and Jaco, and Oecusse, an exclave on the northwestern side of the island surrounded by Indonesian West Timor. Australia is the country's southern neighbour, separated by the Timor Sea. The country's size is about 15,410 km2.

History of Sabah

The history of Sabah can be traced back to about 23–30,000 years ago when evidence suggests the earliest human settlement in the region existed. The history is interwoven with the history of Brunei and the history of Malaysia, which Sabah was previously part of and is currently part of respectively. The earliest recorded history of Sabah being part of any organised civilisation began in the early 15th century during the thriving era of the Sultanate of Brunei. Prior to this, early inhabitants of the land lived in predominantly tribal societies, although such tribal societies had continued to exist until the 1900s. The eastern part of Sabah was ceded to the Sultan of Sulu by the Sultan of Brunei in 1658 for the former helping a victory over Brunei enemies, but many sources stated it had not been ceded at all. By the late 19th century, both territories previously owned by Sultan of Brunei and Sultan of Sulu was granted to British syndicate and later emerged as British North Borneo under the management of the North Borneo Chartered Company. Sabah became a protectorate of the United Kingdom in 1888 and subsequently became a Crown colony from 1946 until 1963, during which time it was known as Crown Colony of North Borneo. On 16 September 1963, Sabah merged with Malaya, Sarawak and Singapore to form the Federation of Malaysia.

United Nations Security Council resolution 1246, adopted unanimously on 11 June 1999, after recalling previous resolutions on East Timor, particularly Resolution 1236 (1999), the Council established the United Nations Mission in East Timor (UNAMET) to organise and conduct the East Timor Special Autonomy Referendum on the future status of East Timor, scheduled for August 1999.

Santa Cruz massacre

The Santa Cruz massacre was the shooting of at least 250 East Timorese pro-independence demonstrators in the Santa Cruz cemetery in the capital, Dili, on 12 November 1991, during the Indonesian occupation of East Timor and is part of the East Timorese genocide.

East Timor–Malaysia relations Diplomatic relations between East Timor and Malaysia

East Timor–Malaysia relations or Malaysia–Timor-Leste relations are foreign relations between Malaysia and East Timor. Malaysia has an embassy in Dili, and East Timor has an embassy in Kuala Lumpur. Relations between the two countries are very good and Malaysia is currently supporting East Timor to be one of the members of ASEAN and towards becoming a democratic country.

Roque Félix Rodrigues is a former East Timorese defense-minister who had to resign due to the 2006 East Timorese crisis. On 2 October 2006, the United Nations Independent Special Commission of Inquiry found that he, along with Interior Minister Rogerio Lobato and Defence Force Chief Taur Matan Ruak, acted illegally in transferring weapons to civilians during the crisis. His later role as a security consultant for José Ramos-Horta caused controversy and ultimately his dismissal.

East Timorese Australians are Australian citizens of East Timorese descent or an East Timor-born person who resides in the Commonwealth of Australia.

East Timor genocide state sponsored terror by the Indonesian government during its occupation of East Timor (1975–1999)

The East Timor genocide refers to the "pacification campaigns" of state terrorism by the Indonesian government during the US-backed Indonesian invasion and occupation of East Timor. University of Oxford held an academic consensus calling the Indonesian Occupation of East Timor a genocide and Yale university teaches it as part of its Genocide Studies program.

Refugees of the Philippines

Filipino refugees are persons originating from the country of the Philippines. Following the Moro conflict and subsequent major military operation in the islands of Mindanao during the administration of President Ferdinand Marcos in 1970s, thousands of Filipinos mainly from the Moro ancestry have sought refuge in neighbouring countries of Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei, with majority of them mostly heading to the state of Sabah in Malaysia.

Demographics of Sabah

The 2015 Malaysian Census reported the population of Sabah at 3,543,500, being the third most populous state in Malaysia and have the highest non-citizens population at 870,400. However, as Malaysia is one of the least densely populated countries in Asia, Sabah is particularly sparsely populated with most of the population concentrated in the coastal areas since towns and urban centres have massively expanded. The statistics in 1970 reported the population of Sabah with only 653,600, with both the state and its neighbour of Sarawak has about the same number of foreign nationals. By 1980, the state population saw a sudden increase to over 1,011,000 following the influx of refugees who fleeing a conflict in the neighbouring southern Philippines. At the same time, Sabah economic booms in the primary sector also attracted large legal workers from both Indonesia and the Philippines. This increase to over 1,863,600 in 1991, 2,603,485 in 2000, and by 2010 turned into 3,117,405. Sabah has 900,000 registered migrant workers working in agriculture, plantation, construction, services and domestic workers. While the total number of illegal immigrants are predicted to be as more than one million due to the past controversial regularisation for political reasons, with most of them are believed to have been categorised as "other bumiputera" category group in the country statistics. Sabah also seen a great increase in the number of expatriates, with most of them comes from China, Taiwan, South Korea, Japan, Australia and Europe.


  1. 1 2 Geoffrey C. Gunn (18 December 2010). Historical Dictionary of East Timor. Scarecrow Press. pp. 71–. ISBN   978-0-8108-7518-0.
  2. Geoffrey C. Gunn, Timor Loro Sae 500 years (Macau: Livros do Oriente, 1999). ISBN   972-9418-69-1
  3. "Timor-Leste PM arrives in Sabah". Bernama . New Straits Times. 2 April 2014. Retrieved 15 August 2015.
  4. "Sabah university, Timor-Leste ink MoU on oil and gas industrial training cooperation". Bernama. The Brunei Times. 3 April 2014. Retrieved 15 August 2015.

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