Malaysia is made up of three distinct cultures: Malay, Indian and Chinese. Because of this there are three cultures at work. Therefore, you will encounter different behaviors depending upon who you are speaking with. There are few common polite behaviors.
It is impolite to disagree openly. If you want to say “no”, don’t. Say “yes”. “Yes” can mean many things here; “I agree” or “maybe” or “I don’t know” could be your meaning when agreeing.
Malaysians will only do business with those they know and like. You will have to take the time and make the effort to get to know personally any business partners you have. It will take time – most likely many months – but it is the only way to do business there.
Malaysians are normally quiet, calm people so you need to be the same with dealing with them. If you get frustrated with a situation, excuse yourself until you can calmly discuss the problem.Age and seniority is important to the Malaysians so know the order of precedence and use it. When making introductions, they should be made with the most senior person introduced first and down the line.
Business cards should be embossed in English. We also suggest you also translate your information on the reverse side into Chinese (use gold ink as it is the most prestigious for the translation).
Good topics of conversation are travel, food (especially local cuisine), plans for the future and general tourism. Do not talk about your success as this is considered rude. Talk instead about the organization’s success.