The Malay world constitute the countries of Malaysia, Indonesia, Brunei, Singapore and the island of Mindanao in Phillipines. While Muslims are in the majority in Indonesia and Malaysia and both these counties have large Chinese minorities, the percentage of Chinese Muslims is quite small. Thus Indonesia has the largest population of Chinese people outside of China but only 0.4% of the Chinese people in Indonesia are Muslims. The situation in Malaysia is also similar i.e., only 0.5% of the Chinese people in Malaysia are Muslims. There are a number of reasons for this.
Chinese Muslims were instrumental in spreading Islam in the Malay world and thus many communities of Muslims in the Malay world are the direct consequence of daw’ah done by Chinese Muslims. Here we should note that in most cases the Chinese Muslims assimilated into the local culture and their traces of Chineseness were lost. Another factor is that during the colonial period the Dutch in Indonesia and the British in Malaysia adopted a policy of seperating different races and fostering a sense of difference between different people in these countries. As a consequence the social identification of Islam with the Malays because stronger both amongst the Malays and amongst non-Malays. This created a barries for many people who would want to convert to Islam. Additionally Islam came to be associated with people in the lower socio-economic and thus the incentive of converting Islam was even lesser. After independence the vestiges of such kind of thinking still survived in the minds of the people. To change these perceptions what is needed is for people, especially Muslims, to reach out to other people and to show that Islam in a religion for all. However I should add that one should not just have good relations with other people because on wants to convert them but because it is the right thing to do.