The name comes from Indonesian/Malay word jala, which means net. The prefix pa- is an equivalent to English suffix -or/-er. Thus the name "pajala" can be translated as "fishing boat that use net".
Pajala is an undecked coasting boat which usually has a tripod mast carrying a single large tanja sail. It is carvel-built, and like other Malay boat, it is a double ender (the bow and stern of the boat is sharp, i.e. having stem and sternpost).:22–23 The bow and stern were similar in shape, usually turn sharply because the board is cut, not bent, into shapes. The pattern of the planks indicates that it was no different than traditional boats from 1000 years ago. The first plank is longer than the keel. The plank is arranged from corner to corner with internal dowels. While mainly deckless, there is a low deck abaft the stempost, behind it is a place for washing. It is built using smooth curved planks, with double quarter rudders, used as a frame and the ribs are placed thereafter.
- Horridge. (1981). p. 190-191.
- Vuuren 1917 op.cit., e.g., Nooteboom, C. 1940: ‘Vaartuigen van Mandar’. Tijdschrift voor Indische Taal-, Land- en Volkenkunde, 80.
- Horridge. (1981). p. 14-15.
- Liebner, Horst H. (2002). Perahu-Perahu Tradisional Nusantara. Jakarta.