Malaysia-Borneo-Sabah-Semporna_Area-8798

The stateless Bajau ethnicity in Borneo, Malaysia

The stateless Nomads of the Sea. „Bajau“ or „Sama-Bajau“ is used to describe all closely related indigenous people who define themselves either as „Land Bajau (Bajau Kubang or Bajau Darat)“ or as „Sea Bajau (Bajau Laut)“. Superficially many terminologies for the Bajau people are common, such as refugees, reef people, sea gypsies, sea folk, sea hunters or sea nomads. Although the correct term would simply be „natives“. The whole ethnicity is endemic to this region since the dawn of time when no birth certificate was needed to define one’s identity. As a result, most Bajau remain stateless. They grew up on different islands of the Sulu Archipelago but have migrated to the neighboring area of Borneo, where they now feel more comfortable than in troublous Mindanao in the Southern Philippines.