An essay on the diverse yet progressive culture of Malaysia

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A thorough essay on Malaysian history and culture

Malaysia is a country known for its cultural diversity. It is also the place that has caught the world's eyes for its beauty, which is why it attracts a huge number of tourists. The Malaysian population consists of Indian, Chinese, and native Malaysian people. Moreover, the natives of Malaysia, known as Malay, also reside in other parts of the world. They are spread across the world but make sure to stay close to their religious and cultural beliefs. Thus, one essential aspect of studying in the life of Malaysian people is their culture and religion. This is why this essay enlightens the readers about the various cultural values possessed by Malaysia's people.

History of Malaysia

Malaysia has its tribal history dated back to approximately 40,000 years ago. However, the Hindu and Buddhist monarchy's kingdoms started to spread in the time zone of 3rd century BC. Further, the Muslims entered the peninsula in the 13th century with Indian and Arab traders' entry. Furthermore, with time, Dutch and Portuguese established their colonial powers in the country. However, from the 18th century, the British began to dominate the country at a highly increasing speed. This resulted in creating an even wider dominance of the British empire over the Malaysian regions.

In 1857, the port cities of Georgetown, along with Malacca, were conjoined by a new city called Kuala Lumpur. This came out to be the first capital of the province and then the national capital of Malaysia. Starting from the years 1948-1960, there were many violent incidents known as Emergency. This resulted in a wedge between the native Malaysian and the Chinese population. After a course of negotiations and incidents, Malaysia became independent in 1965.

After attaining independence, Malaysia has been experiencing an upward movement in the developmental graph. The country has emerged to be one of the most powerful nations in the Southeast Asian region.

Culture of Malaysia

Malaysia as a country has been recognized as the blend of three cultures. The country has been blessed with the diversity of three cultures, namely Malay, Chinese and Indian. The country has also been referred to as the ‘Asia in Miniature.’ Further, the cultural origin of the region has been said to stem from ancient times. That is when the Malays moved to the region, followed by Indians and Chinese who entered the region as traders. The country also influences regions like Arab, Persia, and Britain.

The country, therefore, enjoys a variety of cultural beliefs practiced by the people belonging to different cultural groups. Unity in Diversity is the concept that drives the cultural and social behavior of Malaysian people. There is a huge variety of ethnic values which the people of Malaysia solely own. Moving further, art and music form an important part of the Malaysian culture. Which dates back to the Malay Sultanates. The traditional art forms of the country include weaving, silversmithing, and carving. Also, India's cultural influence over Malaysia can be seen with the popularity of performing arts and puppet shows in the various regions of the country. Moving further, the music of Malaysia has originated from various backgrounds and is operated by percussion instruments. The literature has also expanded in recent years, with new Indian and Chinese literature additions added a few years back.

Population groups

Population groups

The country of Malaysia is divided into various population groups. The country experiences an uneven distribution of population in the Peninsular and East Malaysian regions. The maximum population of the country resides in Peninsular Malaysia. In this region, the population can be divided into four groups. These people generally vary based on their appearance, including the Orang Asli and the people who do not originally belong to that region. There are Malays, Chinese, and other South Asians living in the region. Additionally, the people situated in this region comprise smaller groups such as Europeans, Thais, Americans, Arabs, and Eurasians.

The first group Orang Asli can be first classified into further small groups. One is Jakun, the people who speak the Malay dialect, while the other is Semang and Senoi, who are known to use the Mon Khmer family's language.

The next group is Malays, which are known to have originated in various regions of peninsula and archipelagic Southeast Asia. These people form the country's most powerful group, with half of the population constituted by them. Along with being a numerically dominant group, they have little variation in their cultural practices. Though the language they speak is Malay, the difference in their culture is largely due to the place they live in.

Next is the Chinese group, which constitutes 1/4th of the population of Malaysia. These have been said to have migrated from the regions of southeastern China. Also, these are known to be culturally diverse and speak varied languages.

Further, there are population groups formed by people from India, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. However, these people are comparatively less in number but form a significant part of the Malaysian population. Also, these people speak various languages, but Tamil speakers form the largest group.

Greeting style of Malaysia

Greeting style of Malaysia

The societal practices in Malaysia's country are dominated by the cultural and religious beliefs of the people. The majority of the practices can be seen dominated by the Muslim Malays, Hindus of Indian origin, and believers of the Chinese religions. One of the most popular greetings is Selamat, which Bahasa Melayu uses, but the Malays even more practice Assalamualaikum. In Malay society, males are generally titled as Encik and women as Cik, whereas married women are Puan.

Moreover, a greeting is considered the first step to form a relationship with the other person. The way a person greets the other conveys his feelings about him. Also, the oldest person is supposed to be greeted first and should be given high respect. Further, each individual should be addressed as Mr, Ms, or Mrs as a matter of regard for their individuality. The elders of the society are called ``pakcik” (uncle) or “makcik” (aunty). In addition to this, the common verbal used by Malay people is Salaam.

The Malaysian culture people believe that touching their hands to the chest is a sign of giving respect. Also, while shaking hands, the touch should be gentle, and a relaxed wrist should be proposed to the other person. The people of Chinese and Indian origin have been believed to practice western cultures. Further, hospitality practice should always be carried out on a warmer note, and the guests should be given the highest authority. Moreover, while entering the house, the footwear should be removed outside, and the religious beliefs of all the people should be respected in an equal way.


Malaysia's official religion has been declared to be Islam as around 60% of the country’s population follows the Muslim religion. However, the country has a significant population of Hindus and Buddhists. The country also has Chinese Malaysians who follow the traditions of Taoist and Confucianism. It also forms a habitat for the tribal people of Borneo and other areas with remote presence.

Further, Islam is the factor that differentiates Malays from non- Malays as, by lay, all the Malays are Muslims. Moving to the Chinese population, they do not have any particularly dominant religion. However, they follow the moral principles of Buddhism or Daoism. Moving to the Indian population, the maximum number of Indians practice Hinduism, whereas the Sikhs who belong to the Punjab region practice Sikhism. Malaysia also has a Pakistan's country population, and its people largely follow the Muslim religion and practice its values. Thus, it will not be wrong to say that different ethnicities and religions co-exist in Malayasia without much discrimination.

The Non- Malay Indigenous people constitute Orang Asli, who have adopted Islam as their religion. Many of them still follow their local religions and respect the ethnic values of the same.

Malaysian family traditions

Malaysia is a country that is not only culturally diverse but also respects the individuality of every religion. Maintaining the dignity of every religion is the utmost duty of every Malaysian. Same has been imbibed in the family traditions of the country. Though the traditional practices vary as per the regional difference, giving due respect to every person as per their age is very much in the blood of Malaysians.

One prominent culture that is practiced in the various regions of Malaysia is the culture of extended family. Though modern Malaysia is now adopting the nuclear family's values, there are still some agricultural and rural areas, which still include the practice of extended family. One prominent exercise which can be seen followed in the Malaysian society is the difference in age-gap of husband and wife. The Malaysian men prefer to have a large number of children, due to which they prefer to marry women who are younger than them. This is one way in which the patriarchal society of Malaysia promotes the evil practice of child abuse. To explain, as men indulge in polygamy to have many children, they cannot provide sufficient education and nutrition to each kid.

Father or the male figure is often considered as the patriarch of the house. He takes most of the important decisions of the family. Furthermore, the home's older people are consulted before taking a final decision on some important matters.

Malaysian cultural etiquette

Malaysia is a country known for its cultural values and traditions. Its people are known to love each other with great respect. Few of the common cultural etiquettes followed by the Malaysian society include:

  • Shaking of hands as a gesture to meet and greet at the meeting time and saying goodbye.
  • A person has to be polite towards the other and show respect to him in every manner. The people of Malaysia essentially follow the traditional concept of ‘Budi.’
  • The word ‘Budi’ is known to comprehend the ethics of wisdom, virtue, good etiquette, and respective moral values in a person.
  • Malaysians generally portray nice and calm behavior while talking to people in society.
  • They are also known to be gentle and kind human beings who are often modest and follow a patient approach towards life.
  • The people who follow this refined and positive behavior are called to follow ‘Budi Bahasa. Whereas the ones who are contrary and aggressive or loud or called as ‘kasar’ or rough people of the society.
  • However, the younger generation is moving towards a more direct and open form of communication. It is much because of the online communication space, which needs a more direct and progressive manner of communication. The country has also experienced a major shift in its cultural practices after the concept of globalization.

Communication styles followed by Malaysian people

The land of Malaysia is a multicultural and multilingual country. One can witness several languages being spoken in the country due to considerable population growth since its independence journey. However, Bahasa Melayu is the official language of Malaysia and English is much accepted and used by the locals due to its global accessibility. Other languages, including the Chinese languages such as Cantonese and Hokkien and even others like Tamil and Iban, are practiced by the people living in minority communities of Malaysia.

Moving further to the business style of communication, the country follows a very different way to convey the messages. In case of bad news, the people prefer to communicate the same in a coded form, so that it is tough to interpret. Further in-depth diplomacy and politeness are said to be the center of every business communication. The people of Malaysia make sure that no talk is done with rude or unethical behavior inside or outside the home. They further ensure to follow certain protocols when delivering bad news or in case of talking to seniors.

Furthermore, they also understand the importance of sharing pleasantries before beginning any formal communication. They do understand that this particular process helps in breaking the ice between two unknown people. This process even adds better results to the communication that is going to proceed shortly. Moreover, one important thing to mention is that Malaysia's people do not often use the word ‘No.’ It is used only on rare occasions. Talking about the business language, most people prefer English as the usual language for workplace conversations.

Some Do’s and Don'ts in Malaysia

To properly understand the Malaysian culture, one needs to grasp the Dos and don'ts of the Malaysian culture clearly.

The Don'ts.

  • One should never confuse between a Malay and a Malaysian. Malay is the ethnic group of Malaysia that follows Islam, whereas every citizen living in Malaysia is a Malaysian.
  • Do not shake hands with Malaysian women. It is often considered an offense to shake hands with women because it is not a part of their culture.
  • Public Display of attraction is often considered indecent and unacceptable in many parts of Malaysian society.
  • Pointing out with the finger is again considered immoral in the society of Malaysia.
  • One should not give tips when they go to Malaysia. The country's people believe in making their living by themselves and do not rely on service-driven benefits.


  • One should always adore Malaysian activates when in Malaysia. This includes the dining and communication styles that one should follow to accept the country's culture gracefully.
  • Making sure to follow the dressing code of Malaysia is again an important way to show respect towards the country's culture.
  • Further one should talk slowly and make use of polite and fewer words.
  • The next important way to stay connected with the culture of Malaysia is to learn the local language. This particular asset helps a person to adjust to the new environment easily.
  • Always respect the elders and not initiate any violent actions during a conversation with the Malaysian or any person in the country.

("25 Dos and Don'ts in Malaysia to Make You a Better Traveler • Sand In My Curls", 2020)

Essay on Malaysian culture

The students of the college usually get essays as a part of the college assignment. This section helps to write a descriptive essay on Malaysian culture. one can learn the formats and the structure to write a high-scoring essay through this example if a student cannot understand or does not have time to write an essay for a college assignment. Then he can easily contact Assignmenthelp4me . Our company ensures to write the essay in a much-defined way which will help the student to get HD grades in his college assignment. The essay example below talks about an essay on Malaysian culture and its growth in recent years.

Malaysia- An embodiment of success with a multicultural environment


The Asian countries of the world have been blessed with the power to embrace diversity at its best. From enjoying the diversity of being multilingual, these countries also practice the values of various religions. One such country which practices a mix of religions in Malaysia. It is truly Asia and is a highly preferred tourist destination by the people of the world. The country has made a mark in the world despite the cultural diversity it has. In fact, this diversity has helped the country achieve ambitious goals in terms of financial gains and progress. This essay defines the reasons cultural diversity has positively impacted Malaysia's growth as a country and brought more harmony and unity in the ideology of the people.

Malaysia- An embodiment of success with multicultural environment


The first and foremost thing is the diversity brings creativity to the workspace. It's when there are people from different religious backgrounds working at the same place; then they bring variety in their ideologies. It is further with this mixture; the employees adapt versatility in their creative outlook. They get to learn to think with different mindsets for people with different views. It even helps the company to cater to the contrasting demands of the client. In addition to this, it produces advantageous opportunities for the employees to learn and perform with excellence. One such example can be taken of the hotel industry of Malaysia. This particular sector enjoys a huge turnover and has a positive impact on the diversity of the country. Moreover, a workforce with a diverse background is beneficial for the hotel industry to serve clients from various religious and regional backgrounds. (2020)

Moving further, cultural diversity in an organization has witnessed the production of employees with a growth mindset. If a particular organization favors cultural diversity in its company’s work culture, it becomes effortless for the employees to adapt. Moreover, it brings an element of mutual respect between the two, and both of them invest their best interest in each other. This further leads to the generation of highly motivated employees, who are ready to put in their heart and sweat into the company's growth. These are the employees who see their personal growth with the growth of the company. In addition to this, in a company where cultural diversities are regarded and respected, they do not feel leftover. In fact, despite being an odd one, he feels to be a part of the company, which becomes the guiding force to his constant and conclusive contribution towards the company’s high productivity. A study has supported the same-named The Effect Of Diversity Inclusion On Employee Growth Mindset In Malaysian 4- And 5-Star Hotels. The study results state that it is important and constructive for the growth of a company to include the elements of cultural diversity in its working environment. It boosts the growth mindset of the employees and maintains a harmonious relationship between the employees. It also gives strength to the employee-employer relationship in a company. (2020)

In addition to the private and government sector companies, which are the major driver of economic growth in Malaysia. The education sector also experiences a great surge due to the adoption of cultural diversity in the country. It no denies the fact that students are the growth booster for any country. Suppose a particular nation invests significant resources in the upliftment of the education sector. Then, that country is sure to witness progressive growth in its financial stock figures. Students' education in their early years of schooling and college helps them define their true personality and potential. Moreover, when the students learn from other students of varied cultural backgrounds, then the intensity of the learning multiplies. The country, parents, and the students themselves can see a significant change in their attitude and belief towards society. These changes have helped the students of Malaysia adopt an optimistic attitude towards the diversity in the country. They have now started to embrace the change rather than putting down people's growth from other cultures. As per a study done by Najeemah Mohd of Yusof School of Educational Studies, Universiti Sains Malaysia, a teacher's role is instrumental in helping the students accept cultural diversity. In his study named MULTICULTURAL EDUCATION: MANAGING DIVERSITY IN MALAYSIAN SCHOOLS, he underlines the importance and tells how teachers can help the students accept the change. (2020)

On the contrary, some people and organizations state that cultural diversity can confuse the students' minds. They become more confused because of the various cultures, but it also becomes difficult for them to bring up their point. The language and the culture difference inhibits the students from bringing forth their true personality in front of the other students and teachers. The same is the case with the employees who tend to develop a communication gap because of the company's varying cultures. Often, an employee steps back from the job or even secludes himself from the rest of the company, just because of the diverse cultural environment.

("Educational Diversity, Social Learning, and Multicultural Citizenship — The Malaysian Experience," 2020)


To conclude, it can be said that multicultural societies have proven to be an element of a boon for the Malaysian economy rather than the bane. This very cultural concept has boosted the students' confidence, capability, and growth levels and the working class of Malaysian society. It is much because of these efforts of the country’s government that Malaysia's students are easily able to adjust to other countries of the world and pave a luring career for themselves. However, there are some drawbacks, but these can be dealt with by giving more attention to the flaws and working on them. The teachers can pay more attention to students and put in more effort in building positive relationships between the students with cultural variability. Similarly, the employers can employ some better policies to ensure no disrespect is given to any employee's culture or religion. Further, the government can also design strict rules to ensure the individuality of each religion and culture of the Malaysian country. With these positive steps, the Malaysian economy can continue to soar to greater heights with its multicultural environment.

The country of Malaysia has always welcomed new cultures and practices. This is why this country is growing fast and inviting new companies and businesses to grow on its land. Thus, cultural diversity has in every way helped the Malaysian nation experience growth and prosperity from the very beginning of its conception.


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