- Greetings are very important in Malaysia and are thought to indicate the respect you will show an individual from then on.
- When greeting a group of people, the oldest person should be greeted first.
- Always address individuals according to their appropriate titles (i.e. Mr, Mrs, Doctor) unless they specifically ask you speak more casually. If you indicate that you prefer to be addressed on a first name basis, you may find they feel more comfortable to continue to use your title and last name.
- The common Malay verbal greeting is “Salaam”.
- Elders may be address as “pakcik” (uncle) or “makcik” (aunty) out of respect. You may similarly be referred to in this way by people younger than yourself.
- The common greeting across all is a handshake. However, physical contact between men and women is not permitted in all circumstances. If greeting a Malaysian woman, wait to see if she extends her hand first before offering to shake.
- People may put one hand over their chest and give a slight nod to greet those they perceive are unaccustomed to being touched.
- Muslim Malays may greet people of the same gender by using both hands to grasp the other person’s.
- Formal greetings involve extending both hands to the recipient's right hand and placing it between one’s own. The individual then makes a small bow and place their own right hand on their heart.
- Bow the head slightly to greet someone older. If in a more formal setting, place the forehead or the tip of the nose on the back of the elder recipient's hand.
- Older Chinese-Malaysians may lower their gaze out of respect during a greeting.
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Population30,949,962[July 2016 est.]
LanguagesBahasa Malaysian [official]EnglishChinese (Cantonese, Mandarin, Hokkien, Hakka, Hainan, Foochow)TamilTeluguIbanKadazanOther indigenous languages
ReligionsIslam [official] (61.3%)Buddhism (19.8%)Christianity (9.2%)Hinduism (6.3%)Confucianism, Taoism and other traditional Chinese religions (1.3%)Other (0.4%)No Religion (0.7%)[2010 census]
EthnicitiesBumiputera [Malay (50.1%) & Orang Asli/indigenous (11.8%)] (61.5%)Chinese (22.6%)Indian (6.7%)Other (1%)Non-citizens (8.2%)[2010 census]
Power Distance 100 Individualism 26 Masculinity 50 Uncertainty Avoidance 36 Long Term Orientation 41 Indugence 57 What's this?
Australians with Malay Ancestry46,079 [2016 census]
Malaysians in Australia
Population138,364[2016 census]This figure refers to the number of Australian residents that were born in Malaysia.
GenderMales (45.5%)Females (54.5%)
ReligionBuddhism (25.2%)No Religion (16.3%)Catholic Christianity (14.5%)Islam (6.2%)Other (37.7%)
AncestryChinese (62.1%)Malay (13.2%)Indian (5.8%)English (4.2%)Other (14.7%)
Language Spoken at HomeEnglish (32.6%)Mandarin (24%)Cantonese (23.1%)Malay (8.1%)Other (12.2%)Of those who speak a language other than English at home, 92.5% speak English fluently.
DiasporaVictoria (34.2%)New South Wales (23.5%)Western Australia (21.5%)Queensland (11%)
ArrivalPrior to 2001 (56.3%)2001-2006 (16.3%)2007-2011 (24.1%)
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Cultural Profile PDF - Malaysia
Cultural Profile PDF - Malaysia
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