35+ Common Malay Phrases You Should Never Forget

Whether you’re an ex-pat living in Malaysia, a tourist out for a week-long jaunt across Kuala Lumpur and beyond, or just curious about the Malay language, this blog is for you! We’re listing some common Malay phrases that make communicating with Malaysians much easier.

These phrases in Bahasa Melayu are some of the most common that you’ll hear being used by locals themselves. These help you get the point across quite quickly without the need for cumbersome translation either by a translator or an app.

We’ll cover Malay greetings, how to ask for help in Bahasa Malaysia, and some basic Malay phrases for expressing yourself and your opinion. It’s going to be great!


Common Malay Phrases | More Than Apa Khabar

What are some common Malay phrases that can help you in your travels?

Here at Ling, we’ve covered a few topics about Malay phrases that people can use to communicate with locals when they visit Malaysia. These essential phrases are helpful to have on hand when you want to talk with Malaysians effectively!

Greetings In Malay

These greetings are used by people who speak Malay as their mother tongue. Malaysians will find you polite and have no excuse to fault you if you open a greeting in their mother language! Check these out:

Good morning Selamat pagi
Good afternoon/eveningSelamat petang
Good nightSelamat malam
How are you?Apa khabar?
I’m fine.Khabar baik
Goodbye Selamat jalan
Goodbye (speaker staying)Selamat tinggal.
Welcome!Selamat datang
Peace be with youAssalamualaikum

Expressing Gratitude And Apologies In Malay

Gratitude is an essential part of Malay culture. In fact, the phrase terima kasih means “accept my love and affection.” So here are some useful phrases to express your thanks and how to apologize in Malay terms!

Thank you Terima kasih
You’re welcomeSama-sama
SorryMaaf/maafkan saya
Sorry, broSori la beb
I’m sorry, I promise I won’t do it againMaafkan saya, saya janji tak buat lagi.

Asking/Offering Help In Malay

Collaborate better with your Malaysian teammates with these essential phrases.

Malaysia is known as an accommodating country. If you need help during your travels, you should use these helpful phrases in a conversation to connect with locals better using their own local language.

Can you help me?Boleh tolojng saya?
If you need my help, please tell me. Sekiranya anda butuh pertolongan, sila beritahu saya.
Can you speak English? Boleh cakap Bahasa Inggeris?
I don’t understand.Saya tidak faham.

Malay Words Asking/Providing Information

When you visit the country of Malaysia, you might find yourself grasping for phrases in Malay that can help you get around or can assist with getting the information you need to get where you need to go.

I’m lostSaya tersesat
Where Di mana?
Where is the toilet? Di mana tandas?
How much is it? Berapa harganya?
Anything else? Ada apa-apa lagi?
Have you eaten? Sudah makan?
How do I get to…? Bagaimana pergi ke…?
What is this? Apa saya?
My name is… Nama saya…
Anything else? Ada apa-apa lagi?
What does this mean? Apakah maksud?
I do not. Saya tidak

Words To Explore Malaysia With

Explore Malaysia better with these helpful phrases!

The following words are going to be essential when you explore Malaysia! Most of the time, you must take a taxi or public transportation to get around. So pick out a word or phrase from this list if you need help exploring this wonderful country!

Taxi, please Teksi, tolong
Can I rent a car? Boleh saya sewa kereta?
How far is it? Berapa jauh lagi?
Please stop here Tolong berhenti di sini
Don’t forget to pay Jangan lupa bayar
Go fast Laju
Go slow Lambat
Sightseeing Jalan-jalan
Driver Pemandu kereta

Common Malay Phrases For Food

Malaysia has a thriving food culture, one that is recognized worldwide for its savory, spicy, and succulent hits: nasi goreng, satay, and teh tarik are just some of the dishes you need to try! Here are some words that can help you next time you visit a hawker market:

Fried rice, please Nasi goreng, tolong
One teh tarik Teh tarik satu
Iced coffee Kopi-o ais
Fried chicken Ayam goreng
Malaysian sweets Kuih-muih
Where to eat? Makan di mana
Delicious Sedap
Too spicy Terlalu pedas
Can I have more? Boleh tambah lagi?

Phrases For Shopping In Bahasa Melayu

Of course, you can’t go to Malaysia without spending yourself silly in its many shopping districts. However, you’ll be happy to know that haggling for discounts is not just accepted – it is expected! These phrases will help you score that bargain you’re looking for:

I want to buy this Saya nak beli ini
Do you have other sizes? Ada saiz lain?
Can I try this on? Boleh cuba ini?
I don’t like this color Saya tak suka warna ini
Can you give me a discount? Boleh beri saya diskaun?
Too expensive Terlalu mahal
Can you lower the price? Boleh kurang harga?
Cash or credit? Cash atau kad kredit?
Thank you, I’m okay Terima kasih, tidak apa
Is there a guarantee? Ada jaminan
Change money Tukar duit

Malay Phrases For Health And Safety

While Malaysia is considered a relatively safe country, there may come a time in your travels when you find yourself in a situation that jeopardizes your safety. In moments like those, time is of the essence, and communication should be fast!

The following Malay phrases will help you talk about what you need in terms of health and safety:

I’m not feeling well Saya tak sihat
Where is the hospital? Di mana hospital?
Can you please call a doctor? Boleh tolong panggil doktor?
Be careful Berhati-hati
Ambulance, quickly! Ambulans, cepat!
There’s a fire! Ada kebakaran!
Police, help! Polis, tolong!
Emergency numberNombor kecemasan


Learn More Malay Words With Ling

Learn Malay with Ling App

Of course, you can only get more immersed in Malaysia if you know how to speak the language… so why don’t you get started with the Ling app?

The Ling app offers hours of Malay language courses and 60+ other languages. Each lesson comes with audio and visual aids to facilitate learning for all skill levels.

So whether you’re a total beginner or a student looking to brush up on their foreign languages, download the Ling app for your Android or iPhone.

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