Semang black/negarito boys (see their dark skin color) of Malaysia.

Semang black/negarito boys (see their dark skin color) of Malaysia.

Semang black/negarito boys (see their dark skin color) of Malaysia. These Semang blacks are the original inhabitants of Malaysia before the Mongolians came to found their Malay Kingdom.


Semangs just like the negarito Aetas of Philippines, Andamaneses of India and other black tribes in Asia today are the remnants of the Homo Sapiens of African origin (blacks), who migrated out of Africa from about 80,000 to 70,000 years ago. The Africans migrated along the coast of Arabia to West Asia to India; a branch continued across the major islands off Asia -- Indonesia, Borneo, Papua New Guinea -- and some as far as Australia, marking the first major sea crossing of humans; a branch continued along the coast of Asia to West Asia to China; from China a branch went westward into Central Asia, and then some southward into Southeast Asia, particularly India, while a branch continued westward into Europe, these together forming the Indo-European group and then the last major group went from China across the Bering Straight into North America and from there some continued into South America.

According to Carey (1976), the Semang are the oldest to have been in the Peninsular Malaysia for at least 25,000 years.The Semang are also known as the Northern Aslian or ( Lowland Semang tribes are also known as Sakai, although this term is considered to be derogatory by the Semang people) and are commonly found in northern part of Peninsular Malaysia. They are concentrated in the highlands of Kelantan, Terengganu and the northern regions of Perak, Kedah and Pahang. They are broadly classified under the sub-divisions of western and eastern groups. They comprises six different sub-groups namely: (i) the Kensiu.people (Northeast of Kedah), (ii) Kintak (Kedah-Perak border), (iii) Jahai (Northeast Perak and West Kelantan), (iv) Lanoh (North-central Perak), (v) Mendriq (Southeast Kelantan), and (vi) Bateq (Northwest of Terengganu, Northeast Pahang and South Kelantan). The Department of Orang Asli Affairs (JHEOA) on the other hand, classifies the Semang under the Negrito sub-group of Orang Asli.

BY: Kweku Darko Ankrah

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