Malaysia is a rich mixture of cultures, modern buildings next to traditional spice markets, and rainforests teeming with rare and endangered species. The Malaysian diversity of ethnicities and religions is celebrated throughout the year with many different multicultural festivals. Because Malaysia’s population is so diverse, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, Christian and other holidays are observed throughout the country.

Host a Malaysian Student in the U.S.

Malaysian People and Community

Malaysian People

Families in Malaysia may belong to any one of the main ethnic groups: Malay, Chinese, or Indian. Extended families often live together, and elders are highly respected. Parents like to be included when their children make decisions. Cooperation and loyalty are valued in Malaysian families. Young married couples tend to live near their parents, and unmarried adults continue to live with their parents until they marry. Rural households are more likely to include parents, married sons and their families, and all unmarried children. Urban families tend to be smaller, with an average of two or three children.

Language and Communication Styles in Malaysia

Malaysian family

Malay is the official language of Malaysia.

Food in Malaysia

The variety of people in Malaysia makes for a very interesting mix of cuisine—spicy Malay dishes, an endless variety of Chinese food, exotic cuisine from North and South India, as well as local Nyonya and Portuguese dishes. Western cuisine is also easily accessible, and there are many international fast-food chains. Most dishes contain lots of spices, chilies, and coconut cream. Fish is made for any occasion and in many styles. Food on the table is shared by all the family. It is common to eat with the right hand and keep the left under the table.