GLOBAL CDWD INFOBASE

MALAYSIA

Country Population: 29.7 million

CDWD Community population: 1.2 million

CDWD Communities: Dalit diaspora from South Asian Countries

Traditional occupations: Plantation workers and other manual labours

Discrimination based on work and descent continues to affect diaspora communities in several countries, including Malaysia. Caste-based discrimination is visible among minority Indian communities in Malaysia. Most Malaysians of South Asian descent are Tamils, whose ancestors came from South India. Malaysia also has people from Sri Lanka, North India and from elsewhere in South Asia.

Traditionally, based on the concept of hierarchy, social segregation is particularly visible in the community’s attitude  towards intermarriage. Many families seeking to arrange marriages place matrimonial ads that include caste requirements, and marriage brokers may be expected to take caste into account when finding suitable matches.

Traditionally, they were plantation workers and are now mainly occupied as manual labourers. Social avoidance of commensality is also visible among the South Asian diaspora, though at a much lesser level than in India. Segregation based on caste is visible in access to employment as well as education. Malaysia constitutes almost 2 million Indians, out of which 60-65 percent are Dalits. Caste also plays a major role in politics, with very little representation from the community.