Malay Language - Bahasa Malaysia

The national language of Malaysia is Bahasa Malaysia, also known as Malay, Bahasa Melayu, or just Bahasa. The language is quite similar to Indonesian. Most, but certainly not all, Malaysians are fluent in Malay. It is also one of Singapore's official languages.

In village areas in Malaysia, is it very helpful to know some Malay, but in large cities you will find that English is sufficient. In fact, in wealthy, educated Kuala Lumpur, English often works better.

It is taken for granted that foreigners will speak English, and it is not rude to begin a conversation with a stranger in that language. However, if you are approaching a Malay, you can add an extra touch of politeness by beginning with a greeting in the Malay language before switching to English.

In the large cities near the west coast of Peninsular Malaysia (Kuala Lumpur, Penang, etc.), ethnic Chinese usually make up the majority of the population. Many of these people are fluent in Malay, English, and one or more Chinese dialect (such as Cantonese, Hokkien, Hakka, Teochew, or Mandarin). Some speak only Chinese, and a surprising number only really speak English.

Depending on family background and the school they attended, ethnic Indians will speak either an Indian language (typically Tamil), English, or both. Muslim Indians may not speak Indian languages and often prefer Malay.


Tak apa It's ok, no problem
Sudah siap? Are you ready?
Sekejap, ya Just a minute
Sebentar lagi Shortly (more formal)
Tunggu! Wait!
Dengar-lah Listen
Perlahan sikit (sedikit) Slow down
Cepat sikit/ cepat lah Hurry up, quickly
Boleh Can-lah Wink
Tak boleh/ tidak boleh Cannot lah
Saya terlupa! I forgot
Jangan lupa Don't forget
Tak penting Not important
Jom! Let's go!
Keluar Exit
Masuk Entry
Penuh Full
Dilarang masuk No entry
Ikut kiri Keep left
Ikut kanan Keep right
Awas Caution!
Berhenti Stop
Terima kaseh banyak banyak Thank you very much
Kata Laluan Password