Malaysian writer and historian Zaharah Sulaiman shared some interesting insights at a local forum held yesterday.
You might want to sit down for this.
Speaking at a forum titled 'The Origins of the Malay', Zaharah claimed that the Malays have the second oldest
set of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) in the world, second only to the Africans.
In other words, this means that the ethnicity is the world's second oldest!
According to Malay Mail
, she said that some of the shortest people migrated from Africa to Sundaland about 60,000 to 75,000 years ago.
This place is now more familiarly known to us as Southeast Asia
However, Zaharah did not just pull out these claims out of the clouds.
The findings were drawn from a study conducted by the Human Genome Organisation (HUGO) that was published in 2013.
The study discovered that the ancestors of the Malay people, known as the Semang and Senoi
, had migrated to the ancient kingdom of Champa, which is now located in parts of Vietnam and Cambodia.
"Their ancestors were the first African tribes that migrated to the lands around Saudi Arabia and the Middle East," Zaharah said.
"From Semang and Senoi came the rest of the ethnic tribes, including the indigenous peoples such as the orang Asli, Iban, Dayaks
and so on."
She added that the closest ancestors
to the Malays was actually the Jakun
If you're still following us, there is more to come.
According to Zaharah, she said that based on scientific evidence, the Malay set of mtDNA is older than the Chinese mtDNA. When compared, the former is 63,000 years old
, while the latter is 43,000 years
This theory was reportedly first proposed by Professor Stephen Oppenheimer of the School of Anthropology and Museum Archeology of the University of Oxford in his 1998 book titled Eden in the East: The Drowned Continent of Southeast Asia
Zaharah further made a claim that could be borderline controversial, that some of the Malay tribes residing in Champa and the Phillippine islands at the time had moved up north to settle in China and established the Chinese civilisation.
However, she stressed that this did not mean the Chinese were an offshoot of the Malay tribes.
"It takes tens and thousands of years for an ethinicity, for a civilisation or a race to evolve. The roots of the Greeks also came from the settlers in Champa but it does not make them Malays," she explained.
These findings will definitely take some time for people to accept. But we hope that more academics and historians will come forward with more studies and discoveries in the near future!
In the meantime, Zaharah is planning to approach the government with hopes to revise our Malaysian history with her recent findings.
What do you think about this new theory?