Jah Hut people

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Jah Hut people
Jahut / Jahet / Cheres
Modern Day Orang Asli (28552311563).jpg
Jah Hut performers in Selangor, Malaysia.
Total population
4,191 (2010)[1]
Regions with significant populations
 Malaysia (Pahang)
Jah Hut language, Malay language
Animism (predominantly), Islam, Christianity
Related ethnic groups
Semai people,[2] Temiar people[2]

Jah Hut people are one of the Orang Asli tribes living in Pahang, Malaysia. As of 2000, the population of the Jah Hut people are 2,442[3] and by 2005, it is estimated that there are approximately 4,000 people[4] living in 11 kampungs (villages) that are located along the west bank of the Pahang River from the north in Jerantut to the south in Temerloh, Pahang.

These 11 kampungs also includes Kampung Pos Penderas[5] and Kampung Keboi which are situated in the tropical jungles of Jerantut, Pahang. Kampung Keboi is one of the smallest kampungs among the Jah Hut settlements with only about 100 people. The Jah Hut people live in houses built on stilts, similar to Malay Houses.


Location of Jah Hut language speakers as seen in the Peninsula Malaysia map.

The population dynamics of the Jah Hut people are as the following:-

Year 1960[6] 1965[6] 1969[6] 1974[6] 1980[6] 1993[7] 1996[6] 2000[8] 2003[8] 2004[9] 2010[1]
Population 1,703 1,893 2,103 2,280 2,442 3,193 3,193 2,594 5,104 5,194 4,191


The language spoken by the Jah Hut people is known as Jah Hut language and it is recognized as part of the Mon-Khmer languages; of which is also a branch of the Austro-Asiatic languages. In the Jah Hut language, Jah means "people" and Hut means "not". However this literal translation does not bring any meaning to its name as the word "not people" is not the actual meaning of their name. According to the Jah Hut people, Jah means "people" and Hut means "different".[10] The Jah Hut language itself have absorbed a lot of words from the Malay language into its vocabulary. Among the Jah Hut dialects includes Kerdau, Krau, Ketiar Krau (Terengganu), Kuala Tembeling, Pulau Guai, Ulu Ceres (Cheres), and Ulu Tembeling.

Economic activities

The main agricultural activities of the Jah Hut people are such as rubber tapping, rice cultivation, hunting, gathering[11] and poultry. Wood carving activity is still being practiced and it is not only regarded as a source of income but also seen as a part of keeping their traditional faith alive.[12] Although the Jah Hut people reside in the jungles, they are not entirely isolated to themselves but they have been trading with other nearby groups of people for hundreds of years.[13]

Traditional medicine

Traditional herbal knowledge are passed down from one generation to another in a form of oral narrative by the bomoh (meaning, "witch doctor") that specializes in traditional medicine. The Indian Journal of Medical Sciences have documented at least 16 Jah Hut medicines. Among the medicines that have been verified by scientific researchers includes the Hedyotis capitellata, Melastoma malabathricum, Lycopodiella cernua, and the following:-[14][15]

  • Eurycoma longifolia: Used as an aphrodisiac to boost orgasm, this herb is a popular herb among many races in Malaysia and can be obtained from the market.
  • Morinda citrifolia: The Jah Hut people use this herb to treat boils through the topical formation of its leaves and fruits. This coincides with the verification of pharmacology that ulcers are often caused by Staphylococcus aureus bacteria. Since Morinda citrifolia has antibacterial properties to combat it, this treatment is not an unfounded treatment.
  • Vernonia cinerea: Used by Jah Hut people to relieve asthma, as recent research shows that Vernonia cinerea has anti-inflammatory properties and therefore, this treatment is effective.
  • Vernonia arborea: Used for treating tumors.

Other medicines that have not been verified are such as:-

In recent years, most of this people's medicines are no longer attractive to younger generation who relies more on western medicine. The current generation of Jah Hut people mostly do no longer recognize herbs and does not have much knowledge of traditional herbs.

At present, most of the younger generation had migrate to urban areas for education and employment. Therefore, only the older generation have the knowledge of herbs and it is estimated that only a few people are able to use traditional medicine to treat diseases.


  1. ^ a b Kirk Endicott (2015). Malaysia's Original People: Past, Present and Future of the Orang Asli. NUS Press. p. 3. ISBN 99-716-9861-7.
  2. ^ a b G. Diffloath (January 1976). "Jah Hut, An Austroasiatic Language Of Malaysia" (PDF). SEAlang. p. 75. Retrieved 2018-01-19.
  3. ^ "Jah Hut". Ethnologue. Retrieved 2016-01-28.
  4. ^ "Ethnobotanical study of medicinal plants used by the Jah Hut peoples in Malaysia". Indian Journal of Medical Sciences. Retrieved 2016-01-28.
  5. ^ Kyōto Daigaku & Tōnan Ajia Kenkyū Sentā (2001). Tuck-Po Lye (ed.). Orang asli of Peninsular Malaysia: a comprehensive and annotated bibliography. Center for Southeast Asian Studies, Kyoto University. ISBN 49-016-6800-5.
  6. ^ a b c d e f Nobuta Toshihiro (2009). "Living On The Periphery: Development and Islamization Among Orang Asli in Malaysia" (PDF). Center for Orang Asli Concerns. Retrieved 2017-10-27.
  7. ^ Colin Nicholas (2000). "The Orang Asli and the Contest for Resources. Indigenous Politics, Development and Identity in Peninsular Malaysia" (PDF). Center for Orang Asli Concerns & International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs. ISBN 87-90730-15-1. Retrieved 2017-10-27.
  8. ^ a b "Basic Data / Statistics". Center for Orang Asli Concerns. Retrieved 2017-10-27.
  9. ^ Alberto Gomes (2004). Modernity and Malaysia: Settling the Menraq Forest Nomads. Routledge. ISBN 11-341-0076-0.
  10. ^ Mohd. Razha b. Hj. Abd. Rashid & Wazir-Jahan Begum Karim (2001). Minority Cultures of Peninsular Malaysia: Survivals of Indigenous Heritage. Academy of Social Sciences. ISBN 98-397-0077-4.
  11. ^ Katia Iankova & Azizul Hassan (2016). Indigenous People and Economic Development: An International Perspective. Routledge. ISBN 13-171-1730-1.
  12. ^ Premilla Mohanlall (2012). Green Malaysia: Rainforest Encounters. MTC, Malaysian Timber Council. ISBN 98-140-6853-5.
  13. ^ Teoh Boon Seong (1986). "Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland. Malaysian Branch". Journal of the Malaysian Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, Volume 59, Issue 2. The Branch. ISBN 98-140-6853-5.
  14. ^ Lin K.W. (April 2005). Ethnobotanical Study of Medicinal Plants Used by the Jah Hut Peoples in Malaysia. Indian Journal of Medical Sciences, Volume 59, No.4.
  15. ^ H.C. Ong, A.W. Faezah & P. Milow (2012). "Institute of Biological Sciences, University of Malaya". Medicinal Plants Used By the Jah Hut Orang Asli at Kampung Pos Penderas, Pahang, Malaysia (PDF). Kamla-Raj Enterprises. Retrieved 2016-01-28.
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