Do’s and Don’ts for OFWs in Malaysia

Malaysia is a beautiful country with friendly people, but there are still some rules that all OFWs and tourists need to know. If you follow these tips and guidelines (do’s and don’ts for OFWs), you’ll be sure to have a safe and fun time visiting Malaysia!

To be a guest in another country is kind of an exciting event especially if it’s your first time traveling overseas. When the time comes, you will have so many things on your mind that maybe some important information will be neglected. And if you plan to stay for longer, as in those working in the country, there are certain things that you need to get accustomed to and avoid doing so that you won’t get into trouble or challenges during your stay in the country. Read on.

Dos and Donts for OFWs in Malaysia

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The majority of Malaysians are of Malay descent, however, the country is home to people of a diverse range of other ethnicities and cultures. In addition, there are sizeable populations of both Chinese and Indian people in Malaysia.

The first significant fact to keep in mind is that the majority of the population in Malaysia is Muslim. Point of fact, Muslims account for 61 percentage of the total population.

Some areas of Malaysia are markedly more conducive to calm and relaxation than others. For instance, Kuala Lumpur is a somewhat laid-back city, and it has plenty of pubs where you may get alcoholic beverages. It is essential to show respect for the cultural standards of the country you are visiting, as Malaysia retains some of its traditional values.

As long as you keep in mind the differences in culture that exist between Malaysia and the West, you will have a wonderful experience throughout your stay in Malaysia. Here are some of the most common and important ones:

 1. Don’t Shake Hands With Muslim Women

Because of their religious views, a significant number of Muslim women do not shake hands with men. It is appropriate to wait for the woman to extend her hand before shaking it; if she does not want to, a smile and a nod would do.

The religion of Islam prohibits men and women from having any kind of physical contact with one another. Although the majority of women are comfortable shaking hands, there are some who are not. The exchange of handshakes between men is common and ought not to be looked down upon.

The Malay greeting gesture known as the salam is similar to a handshake but without the hard grasp. It involves the man lightly touching his friend’s hands before lifting them and saying “I greet you from my heart.” The visitor then extends his hand and gives the other one a similar response.

When greeting someone, put your hands together in a prayer position. There are various variations of this bow, and it can be done for different people depending on their status and age. For instance, if you are greeting an elder or a monk, your hands may be placed higher at the nose. The deeper the bow, the more prominent your hands are on the body.

When greeting a monk or elder, put both hands in the center of your chest and bow your head slightly. This is a great way to show appreciation and show respect. It’s also important to remember that these individuals are more likely to value the traditions of the Malaysian people.

2. Dress Appropriately At Religious Sites

Visits to places of worship, such as mosques and temples, require visitors to dress appropriately and behave respectfully. If you do not have your elbows and knees covered, you run the danger of being denied access and offending other people.

There is a possibility that you will be requested to remove your shoes before entering a mosque or temple; however, this is not always the case.

You are not needed to dress as modestly in other parts of the city; for instance, you will frequently see non-Muslim Malaysians and foreigners wearing shorts, t-shirts, and other types of clothing in certain parts of the city.

3. Only Wear A Bikini On The Beach

On the beaches of Malaysia, you are free to wear a bikini. Just keep in mind that you need to cover it up before you go inside a restaurant or when you leave the beach. It is considered rude to stroll about town or the streets in a bikini, therefore you should avoid doing so if you are in public.

You won’t see many Malaysians wearing bikinis on the beaches; in fact, many women will be entirely clothed even when they are at the beach. Bikinis and swimming suits are acceptable attire for guests to wear.

Sunbathing without a top is frowned upon in Malaysia, despite the fact that it is acceptable in certain other nations. You should avoid doing so.

While traveling through Southeast Asia, it’s important to consider the use of natural fabrics and lightweight clothing such as cotton or other natural materials. These will keep you comfortable and will not make you sweat. In Malaysia, dressing conservatively is considered to be a sign of cultural sensitivity.

4. Avoid Public Displays of Affection

As much as is humanly possible, try to limit public shows of affection. This covers behaviours that are commonly considered unacceptable, such as kissing and hugging in public such as public hugs.

The grasping of hands, a quick peck on the cheek, or a brief embrace are all appropriate forms of physical contact, but anything beyond that may make locals uncomfortable. Even those who are married to one other are affected by this.

Signs that ban public displays of affection can be found quite frequently in public places in Malaysia, such as shopping malls and parks.

5. Remove Your Shoes Before Entering A Malaysian Home

Take your shoes off at the door of a Malaysian house before entering. This is an admirable course of action.

It is considered extremely impolite to enter the home of another person without first removing your shoes. A significant number of Asian nations continue to follow this custom.

6. Don’t Use Your Forefinger To Point At Things

In Malaysia, showing disrespect by making a motion with your fingertip is regarded as extremely rude. If you are required to point to something, you can either use your four fingers or your thumb to indicate the direction.

7. Don’t Get Drunk in Public

It is best to sober up before going out in public. Since alcohol consumption is forbidden in Islam and since it is possible to buy and consume alcohol in Malaysia, it is possible that being exceedingly inebriated in public could be seen as an insult.

In large cities like Kuala Lumpur that have a variety of bars, going out for a few drinks is not only acceptable but encouraged.

Consuming alcohol in Malaysia may be financially impossible due to the country’s high tax rate on alcoholic beverages. A few beers can easily mount up to a sizeable number of money over the course of an evening.

8. Don’t Bring Drugs Into Malaysia

Steer clear of any and all drugs while you’re in Malaysia because the possession of any narcotic, even marijuana, carries severe penalties.

If you use opioids, particularly oils derived from cannabis, you put yourself at risk of receiving a significant prison sentence.

It is sufficient to have possession of 200 grammes of marijuana in order to be convicted of trafficking, which includes the possibility of the death penalty. Possession of fewer than fifty grams of cannabis can result in a prison sentence of up to ten years.

9. You Don’t Need To Tip In Malaysia

I kindly ask that you not leave a tip. Tipping is not widespread in Malaysia since wait staff do not rely on gratuities as a primary source of income.

It is not mandatory that you leave a tip for your server, but they will certainly appreciate it if you do. They may occasionally follow you down the street if they suspect that you have accidentally abandoned the area where they are searching for you in.

10. Ask Before Taking Photos Of Locals

Always make sure to get permission from residents before taking their photographs. Even though most people will let you take their picture, it is still polite to seek their permission beforehand.

In Malaysia, people tend to smile even when they are uncomfortable or shy. This means that it’s not a big deal if you ask and get a nod without being nervous.

11. Don’t Touch Anyone On The Head

Avoid making contact with the head of anyone. It is regarded as extremely disrespectful to touch someone on the head in Malaysia because the head is revered as the holiest portion of the body, and so it should not be touched by anyone other than a close family member or friend. If you do need to touch someone on the head, it is best to ask permission first.

12. Avoid Using Public Taxis

Avoid taking public taxis in Malaysia. Grab should be used in its place; the app can be downloaded onto your mobile device. Grab functions in a manner analogous to that of Uber, and customers have the option of paying with cash.

The reason for this is that taxi drivers habitually refuse to utilize the meter and frequently charge prices that are more than what they should be for their services. There is a possibility that you will be charged up to four times the price that is displayed on Grab! To circumvent the challenge, it is recommended that you use Grab.

If you are planning for a long stay in Malaysia, always keep these tips under your hat. Remember, it’s better to have this advice now, as you plan your journey here than to learn them after you arrive. If you think it’s valuable, share it with your loved ones and friends who are planning to work here as OFWs. It will help them save time and money. Let us know what other tips you have for OFWs in Malaysia. Enjoy your stay!

READ NEXT: The Definitive Guide to Working as an Expat in Malaysia

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