Malaysian Business Culture

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Malaysia is a multi-ethnic, multi-cultural, multi-religious, and multi-lingual country. It is made up of mostly Malay, Chinese, Indian and other ethnic groups. Most Malaysians are Muslim, Chinese maybe believe in Buddhist, Christian or Taoism, and the Indians are generally Hindus. The official language of Malaysia is Bahasa Malaysia. English, Chinese dialects and Tamil are also widely spoken. Malaysians live in a harmonic and peaceful environment, enjoying various cultural and religious festivals around the year. Therefore, understand the cultures of different ethnic groups is essential in doing business.

According to Jodie R. Gorrill, in Malaysia, a predominantly Muslim country, a businessperson should perceive to understand Malay's customs and taboos. For example, Fridays are a particularly religious day of the week for Malays and the business meeting should not be arranged at this time. Instead of this, when entertaining Malay associates (who are Muslim), avoid conducting business on Friday or during the Ramadan month. Pork and alcohol also are taboos for Malays. So, avoid products made from pig and alcohol as these goods conflict the law of Islam. Besides that, remember to always accept things from Malaysians using the right hand. Muslims regard that left hand as unclean, and thus it has become a custom for Malaysians of all religions and races to accept gift using the right hand.

A businessperson should also respect to Chinese business etiquette in order to success in business. From the article, "Doing Business with Chinese", the author mentions that punctuality is extremely important when doing business with a business partner. Chinese appreciates punctuality compared to Malays and Indians. As a result, being on time is essential. On the other hand, Chinese only deal with those they know or trust. A proper introduction with them is vital before entering the business. Small talk is very important before entering a business meeting....
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