For centuries, many Bugis have left their villages in search for a new life and settlements. In the Malay culture, such practice is called as ‘merantau’ or pasompe in Bugis. The ‘merantau’ activities have over time strengthened the historical ties, blood connections and cultural linkages between the Bugis community and the people on the Malay Peninsula.
The migration of Bugis to the peninsula occurred as early as the Malacca Sultanate. During the seventeenth century, there were already settlements of the Bugis people in the Malay Peninsula. Large-group migration, however, only occurred during the British colonial period, particularly the last quarter of the nineteenth century. Their migration to Malaysia has persisted until the present day. Although the exact number of the migrants cannot be determined due to the lack of written and oral sources, the majority of them have settled in Johor and Selangor states in Peninsular Malaysia.
In Johor, their roles as jungle settlers and pioneers of new rural settlements are among the important aspects that form the historiography of Johor. Until today, their existence can still be observed in some settlements, which spread over a few villages within the Johor territories. Ever since their first arrival to the peninsula, the Bugis have not only successfully marked their name in the local history, but they have also made their presence much more prominent than that of other groups.
The study of the history of the Bugis people coming to the Peninsula, especially to Johor is actually not a new historical phenomenon. It has long been accepted. In the Bugis community, sailing, travel, trade and travel is a whole tradition in their lives. As a well-known tribe in shipping activity, Bugis sailors have developed a maritime culture over the last century. Their boats of the type phinisi and lambo has weathered the waters of the archipelago to trade and travel. The term "competitive" (sailing) in Bugis society also means to go abroad, is as a catalyst factor in people to leave their homes if they feel depressed.
The occurrence of large-scale migration in the 17th century and early 18th century in South Sulawesi Bugis society is because one of the consequences of such distress. They have migrated to Sumbawa, Lombok, Bali, Java, Sumatra, Borneo According Soehartoko, 'pasompe' is the process of moving residents out Sulewesi Wajo South in order to go abroad, looking for life experience and a new life in another area with a sailing. See Soehartoko, Roam For People Wajo Makassar: Summary of Research, Research Training Centre of Social Sciences University of Hasanuddin, 1971. See also Andi Kesuma Ima, Migration & The Bugis, Opu Daeng search presence Rilaka In Century XVIII in Johor, Yogyakarta, Waves, 2004.
Within the Bugis people of Borneo in Pontianak and Mampawa and Sea Island, rubber, sand, Kutei ( Samarinda), Bolongan and Powder Mountain, is responsible for the control of trade in the river valley. Most of the Bugis community was chosen as a destination Johor migration. They have been exploring and build home for settlements in several areas in Johor. Their role as forest settlers and builders rural settlements are among the most important aspects in the history of the state.