6.5% of the Malaysian population are Indians

Indian traders came to Malaya as early as the 14th century. It was only in the latter half of the 19th century that an influx of Indian immigrants came to Malaya, due to its rapid economic development. The largest annual flow into Malaya occurred during the period of 1911-30, when more than 90,000 persons landed each year. They were recruited and solicited by the British, mostly as indentured laborers to work on rubber plantations. A large number of clerical workers were also brought in from Ceylon, while a number of professionals, doctors, and teachers were brought in from India, particularly after World War I. Almost every Indian ethnic subgroup is represented in Malaysia. This includes the Tamils, Gujaratis, Malayalis, Punjabi, Sindhis, Pathans, Telegus, Kannarese, and the Sri Lankan Tamil and Singhalese. They came from many parts of India and belonged to different faiths. Nevertheless, Malaysian Indians are mostly Tamils, forming 87.6 per cent of the population in Malaysia.