Malaysia is a multi-ethnic, multi-cultural and multilingual society. The population is 28 million. Figures from 2007 show the population consisting of 62% Bumiputeras, 24% Chinese, 8% Indians, with other minorities along with foreigners.
The Malays, who form the largest community, are defined as Muslims in the Constitution of Malaysia. The Malays play a dominant role politically and are included in a grouping identified as bumiputra. Their native language is Malay (Bahasa Melaysia), which is the national language of the country. However, English is also widely spoken in major towns and cities across the country.
The largest non-Malay indigenous tribe is the Iban of Sarawak, who number over 600,000.
The Chinese population in Malaysia are mostly Buddhist (of Mahayana sect) or Taoist, although some of the younger generations are choosing Christianity as their religion. The Chinese community in Malaysia speak a variety of Chinese dialects including Mandarin Chinese, Hokkien, Cantonese, Hakka, and Teochew. A large majority of Chinese in Malaysia, especially those from the larger cities such as Kuala Lumpur, Petaling Jaya, Ipoh, Klang and Penang speak decent English as well. There has also been an increasing number of the present generation Chinese who consider English as their first language. The Chinese have historically been dominant in the Malaysian business and commerce community.
The Indians in Malaysia are mainly Hindu Tamils from southern India whose native language is Tamil.
Eurasians, Cambodians, Vietnamese, Thais, Bugis, Javanese and indigenous tribes make up the remaining population.
In addition, there have been many foreigners and expatriates who have made Malaysia their second home, also contributing to Malaysia's population.