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Market Cultural Report Of Malaysia

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Malaysia is Astronesian dominant nation. It has mostly Islamic people with a great hierarchy-based social circle. On the other hand, Singapore has mainly Chinese people who behave in a slightly different manner.  Malaysia and Singapore have quite a similar culture because at some point in time these two countries had been ruled together by British Malaya. From the stage arts to cusines, and dance kinds to music, Asian culture is delectably vivacious. Malaysian and Singaporean culture is filled of life and shades. Malaysian culture is derived directly from the tribes that primarily inhabitated Malaysia while the Singaporean culture is an incorporation of lots of cultures. The Malaysian society and its culture have been chosen for the study since this place is wonderful because of its directness to diversity, which is a delightful expense of Malaysia’s multicultural heritage.

Malaysia is a large place to reside, particularly with the welcoming character of the individuals and the diverse types of foodstuff they have to put forward. The Malaysian culture and lifestyle are exceptionally lively.

Market Cultural Report of Malaysia

The main attribute of Malaysian culture is that in business Malaysians dependably have confidence in regard and concession to expert due to abilities as opposed to on position or power. Malaysian organizations likewise join awesome significance to cooperation and coordinated effort with all individuals from the association. The run of the mill administration style likewise takes after a comprehensive approach instead of being solely objective driven. Understanding this can raise congruity and participation among groups in an association. In business one has to constantly explain the respect for power and seek to uphold a polite and courteous approach in all circumstances, whoever one is talking to. They have the attribute of grabbing the opportunity to work inside a team and move in the direction of one’s goals.

Outsiders generally mistakenly talk about “Malaysian things” as "Malay”, depicting just single ethnic groups in the community (Asmawi and Mohan, 2011). The Malaysians talk about their countrywide culture as Kebudyaan Malaysia in the countrywide language. Talking about the community of Malaysia, there is:

  • A Malay culture,
  • An Indian culture,
  • A Chinese culture,
  • Eurasian culture and
  • The cultures of indigenous people from the Peninsula and North Borneo. 

A combined culture is formed to create the national culture. The key social difference in the rising national culture is among non-Malay and Malay, which is shown by two kinds of people:  The elite class of Malay i.e. dominating the national politics and mainly Chinese middle-class people who have a prosperous way of living which brings Malaysia's trend of customer-based society (Norliza Rofli. and Khoo, 2009).  These two kinds of people generally live in the urban regions of Malaysian peninsula's West Coast and they're usually competing with each other. A few times, their parallel influences lead to the shared living of Malaysian people. The two Malaysians state situated in North Borneo name Sarawak and Sabah are not as much as influential in nationwide culture and their dynamic local cultures are controlled by larger, wealthier peninsular community (Romprasert, 2015).

Language: Malay turned out to be Malaysia has only national language in the year 1967 and was institutionalised with a great extent of approval. The Austronesian language has an exemplary past being a lingua franca all over the area, although English is largely used for the remaining people. English is highly used as it had been the administrative language of the British colonisers.  Apart from Malay and English, a few more languages are well-known, which are combinations of Cantonese, Mandarin and/or Hokkien (, 2017). This combination is usually utilised by the Chinese Malaysians however many of the Indian people use Tamil. Various other languages are there which are utilised by the aboriginal people in the Peninsula. The Malaysian government approves this multilingualism by broadcasting of the TV news in four languages, which are Tamil, Mandarin, Malay and English. Since the country has linguist diversified unity, their formulations can easily adapt to learning languages and they are aware of many languages. The industrialisation has brought in the significance of English and also improved it as the business language. 


Malaysia's ancient cultural mixture is symbol of a lot of diverse cultures; one of the widespread is the primeval Malay culture and the culture of its two well-known trading partners all through the past (Chinese and Indian). Regardless of the diverse historical environment and religious viewpoint of Malaysians, the individuals have been capable of accepting one another, adjusting to the cultural differences and bearing individual spiritual faiths. The Malaysian government has also laid stress on a mission of bumping collectively the mosaic of individuals of despite of their cultural surroundings, belief, verbal communication and other characteristics. This technique to equality of the population will go far off to fetch peace and agreement to the nation and consequently, cooperation and wealth turn out to be feasible.

Malaysia has an expansive Muslim populace and thusly there are regulations set up, which sponsors must comply with, to abstain from culpable the populace. The tenets are broad and cases of sensitivities include:

  • No alcohol or cocktail/ mocktail promoting
  • No scenes of a passionate, close or suggestive nature
  • No kissing amid grown-ups
  • No portrayal of a disco scene.

Each of conventional costumes are generally customized to fit and lots of these tailors are still in trade from the many years proving that Malaysians have a precedence to celebrate the nationwide pleasure and identity.

For business clothing, Malaysian males usually are dressed in Western clothes, extensive sleeve shirt, with tie by means of slack pants, whereas khakis might be acceptable at a few places of work. Suits are usually just worn throughout presentations or conferences. Ladies clothing for job and formal events is usually flexible and clothing and skirt in addition to conventional dresses are suitable, whichever clothes are chosen they must not be excessively exposing.

Comparison of Market Culture of Malaysia and Singapore

I have chosen to Study about the Malaysian culture because of my personal interest in history. I am aware that at one point in time both the Singapore and Malaysia cultures were quite similar. Islam is the native religion and majority of people follow Islam in Malaysia whereas lots of Singaporeans claim themselves to be Buddhists (Heng, 2011). This is because there is a majority of the Chinese population in Singapore.  In Singapore, just the Orang Malayu and the very few of Indian, Chinese and white individuals term themselves as Muslims and the remaining of the Singaporeans are not Muslims.  The huge amount of Malaysians are followers of Islam which mean over 60% are followers of Islam and next are the Buddhists- around 25%, and the remaining of Malaysians belong to Christianity, Hinduism, Confucianism and other religions. 

Due to their similar past, Malaysia and Singapore utilise the British English but the Malaysians also make use of traditional Chinese signs, though Singapore utilises the simple Chinese signs.

Hofstede's cultural dimensions theory is an outline for cross-cultural communiqué, created by Geert Hofstede. It explains the impacts of a community's culture on the principles of its people and the way these principles link to actions, utilising an arrangement obtained as of factor analysis. There is a big association among the Muslim faith and the Hofstede Dimensions of Power Distance (PDI) and Uncertainty Avoidance (UAI) scoring (Bardhan and Weaver, 2011).

The amalgamation of these two increasing counts (UAI) and (PDI) generate communities that are extremely rule-based with regulations, policy, directives, and controls so as to decrease the extent of uncertainty, whereas disparities of power and riches have been permitted to develop inside the community (Matsumoto, 2003). These cultures of Malaysia are further likely to pursue a caste method that does not permit important rising mobility of its nationals.

At the time of combining of two aspects, it leads to a condition where leaders have almost critical power and influence. The regulations, laws and policies are created by those in power and they strengthen their own headship and control.


Investigation of Malaysia’s culture applying Hofstede’s Cultural aspects

Psychologist Dr Geert Hofstede issued his cultural dimensions form at the finish of the 1970s, on the basis of a research for a decade. After that only it has turned out to be a globally familiar standard for knowing the cultural differences.

Hofstede considered persons who were in job at IBM in above 50 nations. Originally, he recognized four aspects that could discriminate one culture as of any other. Afterwards, he inserted 5th and 6th aspects, together with Drs Michael H. Bond and Michael Minkov. These are:

  1. Power Distance Index (low vs high).
  2. individuality vs communism.
  3. manliness vs womanliness.
  4. Uncertainty prevention Index (low vs high).
  5. Pragmatic vs Normative.
  6. Indulgence vs Restraint.
  • Power distance index PDI, soaring – there is high inequality represented in Malaysian culture. It suggests the extent to which the less influential members of the businesses and institutions such as family is approved and anticipate that Power distribution is uneven. It suggests that society’s extent of inequality is permitted by the followers similar to the leaders.
  • Individualism (IDV)/ less-collectivism: this means the extent to which people are integrated into teams. Since the IDV index of Malaysia is not high, it shows that collectivism is highly manifested rather than individualism in the culture.  When the individualist aspect is considered then the society’s connections among people is loose. In this aspect, each person is anticipated to take care of himself and his family members. But in the collectivist aspect, there are societies wherein individuals get connected to each other since birth and usually there are extended families.  These extended families and their members continue to protect one another and there is unquestioned devotion. The phrase "collectivism" possesses no political significance as it is with respect to groups and not states.
  • Masculinity (MAS) Average- there isn't a clear difference of the roles and responsibilities segregated in Malaysian people, due to gender. The index represents moderately low to average - for masculinity. The difference between the two genders roles and responsibilities is not so much, therefore, it can be said that these two genders have similar roles (Azman, 2012).
  • Uncertainty avoiding index (UAI), moderately less – the culture of Malaysia has similar uncertainty avoiding cultures, which attempts to lessen the possibility of those circumstances by strict rules and regulations, protection and safety methods and as for the religious and philosophical extent that have faith in complete reality. Malaysia shows a moderately lesser index which means that the nation’s culture is tolerant towards risk, ambiguity and uncertainty.  The nation’s culture might be quiet comfortable in unarranged conditions which are new, surprising, latest and unique 

Business culture of Malaysia

The Work culture of Malaysia:

  • While making arrangements for business meetings with Malaysian people, one has to consider the significance of prayer timings because it is majorly a Muslim nation. Friday is seen as especially religious day in the week and if it is possible then the conferences must not be organised on this day (Wafa, Kharina and Hassan, 2012).
  • The behaviour of punctuality also differs as per the nation because the people of Singapore that are mainly the Chinese anticipate punctuality although the Malaysia’s individuals have a further undisturbed approach for timing. 
  • In case there is a need for interacting with Malaysia’s bureaucrats then it is important to make sure that entire communication happens in the language of Bahasa Malaysia (Naqshbandi, Garib Singh and Ma, 2016).  The most of the dealings and communication with Malaysia's businesses will usually be carried out in English.

Arrangement and Hierarchy in Malaysian firms

  • In spite of the dimension and kind of business, the hierarchy is an important element of Malaysia's business culture. These businesses usually have a vertical hierarchy in which the authority/ control moves from top to bottom. 
  • For maintaining the Malaysians culture, the titles and job roles have an important role in lots of Malaysian businesses.  There are significant roles for workers so as to lay stress on the line of authority inside the company.

Working Relations inside Malaysia

  • The Malaysia's admiration for authority is clear from lots of business transactions.  The relation among the members and their superiors is different and extremely administrative (Naqshbandi and Kaur, 2015).  The Malaysia’s people do not call their bosses with the first name rather they make use of prefixes like Mr and madam after which comes the honorific kind of naming.
  • The relations among colleagues of Malaysia are on the basis of mutual respect and similarly, this respect is shown when dealing with the leaders or administrators.

Business Practices in Malaysia

  • When going for a conference with Malaysian people for the initial times, a strong shaking of hand is the model kind of gesture.  But one must do a handshake with the lady only when she initiates this kind of greeting (Amir Zal, 2016).  Or else nodding or bowing once is apt.
  • It can be difficult to address Malaysian citizens properly because there are different cultures seen in Malaysia. It is advisable to detect beforehand how one has to greet another person with whom the meeting is there (Leal Filho, 2013). Generally, the first name of a person is the given name, whereas the second and third name is the name of father and grandfather.  In a few of the situations, the expressions "bin" that is son or "binti” that is daughter can be a joint following the given name. 
  • Generally, the gifts are not given and taken because they might be considered to be a bribe. But in case one is provided with a gift then it is traditional to admit the same with the hands and one can open it once the counterpart is gone. It is also important to respond with a present of equivalent worth so as to prevent the loss of face value. 
  • Business cards are usually given and taken once the initial meeting is done and it is beneficial if the card is printed in both Chinese and English, wherein the information of one’s education, qualifications and the designations are printed. The give and take of these cards have to be both through the hands, and time must be utilised in analysing the details prior to putting it on the table or inside a suitcase

Looking at the culture of Malaysia and Singapore, it is advisable to Singapore people that they don't need to be impatient with their Malaysians associates while making any trade negotiations. The procedure is usually an extended an extensive one that shouldn't be carried out in a quick manner (Hagiwara, 2012).

Singapore people must always keep polite and show great etiquette. For example, the old aged Malaysian trade individuals have to be regarded respectfully and must get acknowledgement prior to younger individuals of the business. This is an important aspect to achieve successful business deals in Malaysian culture. It is important that the people of Singapore take time for setting up successful trade relations with the Malaysian people.  The meetings at the beginning are usually focused on creating the relations which are to be maintained further and past the negotiations. When these relationships are not built only then the business plans might turn out to be futile (Craig, 2009).  Also, the Singapore citizen's must not think that signed agreements show a final contract. It is usual that the negotiations carry on beyond the signing of contracts. The people of Malaysia can also ask certain things which seem to be personal in nature to the Singapore people. In Malaysia, enquiring individuals regarding their body weight, earnings and the marital situation is usual and is seen to be an acceptable way to initiate the communication. It is important for Singapore business to have a letter of introduction for getting into trade relations with Malaysian business.  This would be a letter from a banking institution or any party which is mutually known to both.  This will assist the future meetings to take place because Malaysia’s people usually like to carry out the trade with people whom they know.



From the start of its history, Malaysia has been an assembling location for a diverse range of exterior cultures and beliefs. Due to these exterior factors, a fresh united but famous Malay culture has come up. The modern Malaysia signifies an exceptional blend of Malay, Chinese, and Indian customs, leading to a pluralistic and multicultural country. This country has its personality robustly based on social peace, belief and pleasure in its inherited setting. Having such a well-off cultural heritage, with the significant skills and cultural knowledge with the intention of carrying out business in Malaysia is critical to the achievement. After many years of conflict for searching independence, Malaysia was set up in September 1963 by the amalgamation of the Independent Federation of Malay, the previous British regions of Singapore and the East Malaysian States of Sabah and Sarawak. In the most recent few decades, the nation has come up from a thriving manufacturer of raw materials to a multi-segment country. Nowadays, Malaysia presents an exceptional mix of old conventional culture and fresh technical innovations. With the Malaysian market continuing to grow and flourish, it is turning to be ever more important for those getting into business in Malaysia that they understand the cultural aspects that form the structure of this nation (Sam, 2015).

Becoming more acquainted with the culture and traditions demonstrates imperative regardless of in case you are simply on a short visit to Malaysia to meet a business relate or for recreation or even choose to live in Malaysia. The accompanying tips and traps will put you in front of others and get the best gives you are searching for.



Amir Zal, W. (2016). Fragility and capacity building of social capital of Malaysian

fishermen. Ocean & Coastal Management, 119, pp.177-183.

Asmawi, A. and Mohan, A. (2011). Unveiling dimensions of organizational culture: an

exploratory study in Malaysian R&D organizations. R&D Management, 41(5), pp.509-523.

Azman, N. (2012). Malaysian Public Universities Governance System. The International

Journal of Knowledge, Culture, and Change Management: Annual Review, 11(5), pp.115-134.

Bardhan, N. and Weaver, C. (2011). Public relations in global cultural contexts. New York:


Craig, J. (2009). Culture shock. Singapore: Times Books International. (2017). Culture of Malaysia - history, people, clothing, traditions, women,

beliefs, food, customs, family. [online] Available at: [Accessed 24 Jul. 2017].

Hagiwara, Y. (2012). Political culture and communalism in west Malaysia. The Developing

Economies, 10(3), pp.250-266.

Heng, D. (2011). Singapore. Studies in Malaysian and Singapore history. Edited by Bruce

Lockhart and Lim Tse Siang. MBRAS monograph 42 (Kuala Lumpur: Malaysian Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, 2010). Pp. 199. Figures, Tables. Journal of Southeast Asian Studies, 42(03), pp.558-560.

Leal Filho, W. (2013). Climate change and disaster risk management. Heidelberg: Springer.

Matsumoto, D. (2003). The Discrepancy between Consensual-Level Culture and Individual-

Level Culture. Culture & Psychology, 9(1), pp.89-95.

Naqshbandi, M. and Kaur, S. (2015). Effectiveness of innovation protection mechanisms in

Malaysian high-tech sector. Management Research Review, 38(9), pp.952-969.

Naqshbandi, M., Garib Singh, S. and Ma, P. (2016). The link between organisational

citizenship behaviours and open innovation: A case of Malaysian high-tech sector. IIMB Management Review, 28(4), pp.200-211.

Norliza Rofli. and Khoo, E. (2009). Malaysian culture. [Kuala Lumpur]: Jabatan Kebudayaan

& Kesenian Negara.

Romprasert, S. (2015). Malaysia-Singapore-Thailand Capital Accumulation Growth (MST-

CAG). International Journal of Trade, Economics and Finance, 6(2), pp.85-89.

Sam, Y. (2015). Boesenbergia Basispicata (Zingiberaceae), a New Record for Peninsular

Malaysia. Gardens’ Bulletin Singapore, 67(02), p.261.

Wafa, S., Kharina, U. and Hassan, R. (2012). Influence Strategies of Malaysian Managers

Kuwait Chapter of Arabian Journal of Business and Management Review .- 2012, Vol. 1, No. 12, pp. 137-142. Kuwait: American University.


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