The Malays, historically the dominant cultural group, probably came originally from S China (c.2,000 B.C.), but marriages with other peoples have modified their ethnic characteristics. The Chinese are now nearly as numerous as the Malays; Indians and Thais form important minority groups. Small tribes of aborigines, descendants of pre-Malay immigrants, are found in the hills and jungles.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.