The official language of Malaysia is Malay. Eighty percent of the population speaks Malay. Mandarin and Tamil are also spoken.

Fortunately for ex-pats and travelers, the second language of Malaysia is English.

With ten dialects of Malay, it is a difficult language for ex-pats to learn.

Here is a list of some common phrases:

Hello Hallo

Goodbye Selamatjalan/ selamattinggal

Yes Ya

No Tidak

Thank you Terimakasih

Please Sila


About fifty percent of the Malaysian population speaks English. English language is used widely in education, communication, and government offices. College examinations are held in British English. British English is also the language used for business negotiations and deals.

Learning Malay

Though not necessary in Malaysia, there are some valid reasons for attending Malay classes at a local language academy. Attempting a few simple Malay phrases in your everyday interactions will earn you respect and a deeper level of friendships. It will also help you to immerse yourself in your new adopted country.

Some reputable language schools in Kuala Lumpur are: