Sunday, 15 September, 2019 05:27:24 PM

The people of Sabah  >  Cocos Malays

Orang Melayu Cocos
Traditional Scottish Reel Dance of the Cocos Malays
the dancers perform a type of Scottish Reel in their colorful costumes

Orang Melayu Cocos
- Cocos Malays of Sabah -

The Orang Cocos are originally from the Cocos (Keeling) Islands who settled in Malaysia in the 1950s. Along with them they brought their unique blend of Scottish and Malay descent.

The Orang Cocos of Sabah are mostly living in Lahad Datu, Kunak, Sandakan and in Tawau.
Orang Cocos now has a population of 4,000 in Sabah. (About 10 times larger than the population remaining in the Cocos Islands themselves) and with a home village of Kampung Cocos near Lahad Datu in Tawau Division in Sabah.
Their ancestors in Cocos Island worked in coconut plantations owned by the English. These early Cocoa Malay families shown a remarkable flair for adaptation. Elements of the English-Scottish traditions were absorbed into Cocos Malay cultural practices. Certain foods, dances and musical influences have a western flavor.

More about Cocoa Malay's Scottish traditional dance

Tawau Cultural Festival 2011Orang Melayu Cocos

Baju Kurung of the woman consists of a loose tunic (in which it refers to a long collarless shirt with a short neckline that is pinned together with a brooch) and is worn over a skirt or sarong.
The dance of Dansa or Nona Mansaya of Orang Cocos usually performed by 4 or more couples.
They wear an eclectic mix of ruffled tops and native sarongs while dancing to the beat of the rythmic drum & violin. The men wear the Songkok and leather shoes while the women wear the Kebayak with heels.

Map of Cocos Island

The Island where Orang Cocos originally from.
Cocos (Keeling) Islands, is a territory of Australia. There are two atolls and twenty-seven coral islands in the group. The islands are located in the Indian Ocean, about one-half of the way from Australia to Sri Lanka.


Kampung Balung Cocos-the Cooperative Society of the Cocos Malay
Kampung Balung Cocos
the Cooperative Society of the Cocos Malay
Tawau 40Km

Kg Balung Cocos is 40Km from Tawau (13Km from Tawau Airport or 5Km from Balung Town). Reachable via the Pan Borneo Highway
This village is a Cooperative Society of the Cocos Malay Community where each of the 100 families gets about 20 acres of land for agriculture. Oil palm is the primary crop planted. This cooperative society is one of the more successful cooperatives in Malaysia.

Till now the village has no piped water supply yet. Villagers have to rely on rain water or purchase water from water-supply-lorries.
The village has electricity supply. With this power they have all modern home appliances like refrigerators, television sets, air-conditioners etc.

The village has facilities like Primary school, Kindergarten, Surau. A 'R&R' was open in 2005 beside the main Pan-Borneo Highway.
The village's "Giram Nek Legek - Columnar Basalt" is a new Eco tourism destination of Malaysia open to the public in 2016. This geographical wonder is just 1 km walking distance from the village.

More about Kampung Balung Cocos - the Cooperative Society of the Cocos Malay

The Cocos Malay of Borneo
2018 Tawau International Cultural Festival
7th April 2018 Tawau Town

Cocos Malay numbered only 5,000 in the whole world.
They live only in Borneo Island (Malaysia), Cocos Island and Christmas Island (Australia). Most of the population (3/4 three quarter) are living in Sabah, Borneo Island.
Kg. Balung Cocos is a Cocos Malay Village in Balung, Tawau District.

SK Balung Primary School in Balung village where most of the Cocos Malay children went for primary schooling.
Kg Balung Cocos is a clean, tranquil, and beautiful village. The village is few kilometers from Tawau Airport on the way to Semporna. Lovely houses surrounded with flowers

Many foreign tourists like to drop in for a sightseeing on route to Semporna. Add one hour to your trip for dropping in for the beautiful village sightseeing. Or two hours for include visit the "Giram Nek Legek - Columnar Basalt"

The Cocos Malay community is a minority ethnic group living in several locations in Sabah. Among their locations are Lahad Datu, Kunak, Sandakan and most of Tawau, Sabah. The Cocos people originally settled on the Cocos Islands or otherwise known as the Keeling Islands, which are now part of Australia. They also obtained bumiputra status by the Malaysian federal government and used the Malay language as an intermediate language.

The arrival of the Cocos Malay Society to Sabah also brought together the uniqueness of Scottish and Malay culture in the dance. Dance is very popular among the Cocos Society.

The history of the Cocos Malay dance began as soon as the people of Java and  Asian regions  brought to the Cocos Islands were introduced to English and Scottish dances and adapted to the current circumstances.

Dances are presented at weddings and festivals as a form of entertainment as well as to foster closer relationships between members of the community.

Orang Melayu Cocos merupakan komuniti masyarakat yang membentuk kumpulan etnik terbesar yang menetap di Kepulauan Cocos (Keeling), yang kini menjadi sebahagian daripada wilayah milik Australia.
Orang Melayu Cocos berasal dari keturunan peneroka Melayu dari bekas negeri tanah jajahan British seperti British Malaya (kini Malaysia), Singapura, Brunei dan Kepulauan Riau (dahulunya dibawah pemerintahan Hindia Timur Belanda).
Pada asalnya Pulau Cocos (Keeling) tidak dihuni oleh manusia sehinggalah masyarakat Melayu membentuk komuniti utama disini.

Golongan Melayu perintis yang dipercayai pertama kali tiba dan menetap di Kepulauan Cocos (Keeling) adalah dar kalangan harem dan hamba abdi. Mereka dibawa masuk oleh Alexander Hare, petualang Inggeris pada tahun 1826. Pada tahun 1827 John Clunies-Ross menukar kehidupan para penduduk Melayu ketika beliau tinggal di Kepulauan Cocos bersama dengan keluarganya. Terdapat orang Melayu yang sejumlah besarnya berasal dari Tanah Melayu bekerja dengan Clunies-Ross untuk membantunya menanam pokok kelapa dan menuai hasil kelapa. Pada bulan September 1978, keluarga Clunies-Ross telah menjual Kepulauan Cocos (Keeling) kepada kerajaan Australia. Sejak itu, Ketua Negara ialah Ratu Elizabeth II, diwakili oleh Penyelia Gabenor Jeneral pada masa ini B. Cunningham. Ketua Dewan Kepulauan Haji Wahin Bynie.


Culture of the People in Sabah