As with all countries, culture and history very heavily influence the Malaysian approach to business. Anybody wishing to do business in Malaysia needs to become as conversant as possible with the cultural complexities of its business world in order to be able to develop the all-important relationships as quickly and as smoothly as possible.
With such a diverse cultural make-up, it is obvious that differences will occur within Malaysia itself with regard to attitudes to some aspects of business. Fortunately, however, there are certain common threads which run through the three major ethnic groupings and which will help the overseas visitor make sense of everything. This country profile attempts to pull together some of these common approaches. (It is also recommended that you read the country section on Singapore and India, which will help if working specifically with Chinese Malays or Indian Malays).
The Influence of Islam
Although Malaysia is an Islamic country, fundamentalist principles have not affected the conduct of business. This does not mean that religious duties are not observed and the working day is punctuated by prayer in many offices. Some provinces observe Friday as the day of rest and close for business. Kuala Lumpur maintains a more Western weekly pattern - although some offices open on Saturday morning.
Ramadan, the month of fasting, is observed and levels of...