During my younger days I always wondered how people wrote the Malay language before the introduction of Jawi scripts. Have you heard about Rencong script? Rencong script is a writing system used to write Malay in Sumatra (Kerinci, Bengkulu, Palembang and Lampung). The script lasted until the 18th century which was before the Dutch colonised Indonesia. It was gradually replaced by the Jawi script, a slightly modified Arabic script.
The Malay used Rencong or Rencang script, Kawi script and Lampung script in ancient times. Studies showed that these writings are related to the ancient Cambodian writings. The script is also related to the Batak script. Rencong script was written on tree bark, bamboo, horns and palmyra-palm leaves.