eChutti

What is the etiquette for meeting in Malaysia?

  • The way of greeting depends on the faith a person belongs to. Persons who have adopted the western way of life greet with a handshake.
  • Due to conservative attitudes, people of opposite genders don’t shake hands. However, they can bend while placing their hands on the chest.
  • In case of Chinese ethnicities, handshakes will take a decent amount of time and will not be firm. It is alright for women to shake hands if she initiates the process. To convey respect, many people lower their gaze.
  • In case you are greeting an Indian, shake hands with people of the same sex. In case the person belongs to a different sex, nod and smile in acknowledgement.
  • Always introduce people starting from topmost level to lowermost. Women are introduced to men and elders are to Youngers.
  • The Chinese have three parts to their names. The first is the family name followed by two individual names. Some Chinese use western names instead to address.
  • Some ethnic Malays don’t have surnames. Instead they use the father’s names prefixed by bin- in case of sons and binti- in case of girls.
  • Some Indians use their father’s initials in front of their own names. Some use their father’s name after their first names prefixed with s/o, and d/o.



What is the proper etiquette for gift giving in Malaysia?

  • Cake or chocolates are good gifts for the hostess if invited to a Malaysian’s home.
  • Refrain from gifting anything with alcoholic content in it. Also don’t gift anything which signifies pigs or dogs.
  • Refrain from wrapping gifts in yellow or white gifting paper as they have negative connotations.
  • If bringing eatables, remember that they should be halal.
  • Hold the gift with the right hand alone or both hands together.
  • It is not appropriate to open gifts in the presence of the giver.
  • In case of Chinese people, get them sweets like cake or chocolates and state that it is meant for the children.
  • Initially, the gift will be denied to show humility.
  • Do not gift cutting tools as they signify the end of a relationship.
  • Flowers are not appropriate for the occasion.
  • White, blue and black coloured wrapping papers are meant for unhappy occasions.
  • Red, pink and yellow colours are suitable as they are considered as happy colours.
  • Elaborate wrapping is given prominence.
  • A gift meant for a baby should not include the image of birds, especially storks.
  • Give gifts in even numbers.
  • It is inappropriate to open gifts in the presence of the giver.
  • In case of Indians, refrain from gifting Frangipani.
  • If offering cash, make use it’s an odd amount.
  • Make use of the right hand to hold and offer gifts.
  • Don’t make use of white or black paper for wrapping as it has negative connotations.
  • Green, red and yellow are considered as happy colours.
  • Refrain from gifting anything that has an alcoholic content or leather products.
  • Don’t open presents in the presence of the giver.


What is the proper etiquette for eating in Malaysia?


Things you should know before going to Malaysia?

  • It is a conservative society and clothing should be such. Refrain from touching persons of the other sex in public.
  • There is a reliance on god for certain happenings which are beyond human control.
  • In order to gain respect in the society, be virtuous and trustworthy. You will lose trust and respect if cannot be relied upon.
  • In order to gain respect, you must save others from embarrassment also. Refrain from speaking without consultation with your seniors.
  • Remember, exaggerated statements in the personal or work context will deteriorate your relationship.
  • Do not be stubborn towards your stance even if you feel it is correct. It will not help in the business arena.
  • The power structuring in Malaysian institutions is unfair.
  • Out of respect, you must never be blunt and be indirect while speaking.
  • In a relationship, you are expected to stay loyal and also return favours bestowed upon you.
  • Malaysia is a self-reliant nation and the Malaysians are proud of it.


Also Read: Business etiquette to follow in Malaysia

Last update on February 2, 12:53 pm by Nidhi S.