Your DSP Relcoations Asia Office in Malaysia

DSP Relocations Malaysia
B-19-G, Jalan Medan Selayang 1, Medan Selayang 68100,
Batu Caves, Selangor, Malaysia
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Tel        : +603 6187 7777
Fax       : +603 6187 6767
E-mail  : malaysia@dsprelocations.com


Local time :
MALAYSIA - FACTS AND FIGURES
Capital : Kuala Lumpur
Location : Southeastern Asia, peninsula bordering Thailand and Northern one-third of the island of Borneo, bordering Indonesia, Brunei, and the South China sea, South of Vietnam
Total Area : 329,847 sq km
Climate : Tropical; annual Southwest (April to October) and Northeast (Oct to Feb) monsoons
Population : 29,179,952 (July 2012 – estimated); Malay 50.4%, Chinese 23.7%, indigenous 11%, Indian 7.1 %, others 7.8%
Government Type : Constitutional Monarchy
Official Languages : Bahasa Malaysia (official), English, Chinese (Cantonse, Mandarin, Hokkien, Hakka, Hainan, Foochow), Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Panjabi, Thai
Religions : Muslim (or Islam – official) 60.4%, Buddhist 19.2%, Christian 9.1%, Hindu 6.3%, Confucianism, Taoism, other traditional Chinese religions 2.6%, other or unknown 1.5%, none 0.8%
Currency : Ringgits (MYR)
Country Code : +60
GENERAL
Peninsular Malaysia is made up of 11 states and the Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur. East Malaysia is composed of Sabah, Sarawak and the federal territory of Labuan.

The Malay Peninsula has been a key location on trade routes to and from the Orient as Malacca was a main trading port. Malaysia was colonized by the Portuguese, the Dutch and later the British. After almost 90 years of British Colonial rule, independence was granted in 1963 and the Federation of Malaya was formed.

Similar to Great Britain, Malaysia is a parliamentary democracy with a constitutional monarchy. The 9 states in peninsula Malaysia are headed by 9 different sultans and every 5 years the 9 ‘Sultans’ elect one of their fellow rulers as the ‘Agong’ (King), the supreme head of the federation.

There are 3 major ethnic groups in Malaysia: the Malays, the Chinese and the Indians. The indigenous groups and other mixed ethnic groups make up the remaining 1% of the population. Bahasa Malaysia is the official language but English is widely spoken especially in business circles.

Malaysia is a leading producers of palm oil, tin, rubber and timber. Large petroleum and natural gas resources also attract many petroleum companies from around the globe. Malaysia has seen remarkable economic growth in the past years and has become a choice for international companies setting up in Asia.

Though the hustling and bustling cities continue to develop, Malaysia still offers diverse options for weekend getaways between the beautiful beaches, rainforests and the highlands.
LOCAL CUSTOMS & ETIQUETTE
SPECIAL BELIEFS
Visitors to Malaysia should be aware of the following special beliefs :
Malay Population
  • The left hand is considered unclean and should not be used for giving, receiving or pointing at a person; it should also not be used to point at a person.
  • Consumption of pork and alcohol is forbidden for Muslims
  • Midday on Friday is the most important time of the week for praying. Many companies allow for 3 hour lunch break to Muslim men on this day.
  • Ramadan (Bulan Puasa), the month of fasting, followed by the celebration of Hari Raya Aidilfitri, is the most important event of the year.
  • Great respect should be shown towards the most senior person in families and organisations.
  • Muslims are required to wash themselves before their next prayer session. Should they have touched a dog, a more rigorous washing process is required. The hands, elbows, face, head, ears and feet are cleansed
  • Unmarried couples are not permitted to engage in intimate contact before marriage, and should not spend time alone together without a chaperone.
Chinese Population
  • Some Malaysian Chinese are Christian or Muslim; however most practice a religion that combines elements of Buddhism, Confucianism and Taoism.
  • The number 4 is considered very unlucky, as it is associated with death
  • The number 8 or any combination of eight is considered very lucky
  • “X” or a cross signifies death. The act of crossing e.g. chopsticks or any act that can result in the appearance of a cross is considered an omen of impeding death
  • The colours red (prosperity) and yellow (gold, wealth) are desirable colours. Green is also acceptable (longevity) however dark purple, dark blue, white and black are not favoured
  • Believe in “feng shui” in all things
  • Celebrates Chinese New Year which marks the first day of the first month of the Chinese calendar. It’s the longest (15 days) and most important festivity for the Chinese population.
Indian Population
  • Most Indians are Hindus however a small number are Sikhs, Muslims or Christians
  • The left hand is considered unclean and should not be used to eat with
  • Beef products are not widely consumed; many Hindus are vegetarian
  • Products made from cowhide are not used
  • Books are considered sacred
  • Smoking is not permitted by Sikhs, or Indian women
  • Fridays are important for temple visiting and therefore Hindus are vegetarian on this day
  • Celebrates Deepavali which symbolises the triumph of good over evil. It is called the  festival of lights
  • Indian food is eaten with the fingers
When interacting with Malaysians, don’t :
Malay don’t
  • Pass an item, especially food, using the left hand – Islam considers this hand a ‘dirty hand’.
  • Make jocular remarks or criticise the Islamic religion, Mohammed or Allah. The Islamic term Insh’Allah (‘if God is willing’) should also not be taken lightly or denigrated.
  • Point with the index finger. Rather use the open palm of the right hand, or better still, make a fist keeping the thumb at the top of the fist and point with the thumb. Only the right hand should be used for pointing.
  • Show anger to a superior, or disagree with a superior in public – deference should be shown to elders and seniors.
  • A woman should not extend her hand to shake with a Muslim man or  man should not extend his hand to shake with a Muslim woman, unless they offer their hand first. In these cases a smile and acknowledgment is appropriate.
  • Display affection, in public, with a member of the opposite sex.
  • In the interests of cleanliness and hygiene, shoes should be removed when entering a Malay home. This is because they usually sit on the floor when socialising and praying.
Chinese Population
  • Use the crooked index finger to beckon someone; rather use the standard Asian method of palm down and flapping the hand
  • Write a person’s name in red ink
  • Wink at a person
  • Present items such as name cards with one hand – this should be done with both hands
  • Display feelings through facial expressions
  • Give unacceptable gifts such as watch or clock (as it denotes death), etc.
  • Wrap a gift in white wrapping paper (as it symbolises death or mourning)
Indians Population
  • Gesture at a person with the forefinger
  • Pat a child on the head
  • Hand over items with the left hand
  • Smoke in the company of a Sikh
  • Use the left hand for eating, touch someone, pass money or pick up merchandise
  • Point with a single finger or two fingers at someone
  • Consume alcohol especially women