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Tips For Visitors

Social Etiquette

For foreigner, Malaysian etiquette is formidable. It is easy to make a mistake. Do not worry, Malaysians are most considerate and understanding. First thing to realize is that you are dealing with a multi-cultural and multi-racial society where each ethnic group has its own customs and way of life. Food and drink is a good example, the non-Muslim drinks alcohol and consume pork both of which are against the teaching of Islam and forbidden to Muslims. Although it is perfectly acceptable for a non-Muslim foreigner to drink and consume pork, good manners dictate that you should be aware of your Muslim host’s sensitivity.


Women have a special place in Muslim society. A male normally would not shake hands with Muslim women unless she lends her hand. Again you would not be offended if you erred innocently but is would be best if you are aware of the surrounding custom.


There are many titles bestowed by Governor of Melaka to the individuals. Some of the titles are; 'Datuk Seri Utama', 'Datuk Seri', 'Datuk Wira' and 'Datuk'. All recipients should be addressed by their titles. For example Datuk Wira Mohd Ali bin Mohd Rustam.



Surnames in the Western sense do not exist. A Malay is referred to as the son or daughter of their father using his first name. For example:

Datuk Wira Mohd Ali bin Mohd Rustam
     (Title)      (name) (son of)(father’s name)   

Encik Mustadza bin Abu Bakar
(Title) (name)(son of)(father's name)               

A Malay is always referred to by his or her proper name, not the family of father's name. Title infront signify the status.

Encik is equivalent to Mr.
Puan is equivalent to Mrs.
Cik is equivalent to Miss


Traditionally Chinese name starts with the family name followed by the proper name.

Lim Boon Huat

You should address him as Mr. Lim. A close friend might address him as Boon Huat, Ah Boon or Ah Huat. Quite a number of Chinese l carry Christian name infront of this name, say Mr. Jimmy Lim Boon Huat.


Usually you find they have an initial followed by a proper name. Mr. M Ramayah would be commonly called Mr. Ramayah with the M being the initial of his father’s name. Many Indians carry Christian name before their first names.



# subject to change without prior notice


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