How To Say Happy Birthday In Malay

Saying ‘Happy Birthday’ in Malay can be tough if you don’t know the right words. As far as we know, celebrating birthdays is one of the most wonderful moments in life. Everyone gives good wishes and the amount of ‘Happy Birthday’ you’ll receive might knock your socks off, especially if you’re a social butterfly. Sometimes, if you’re lucky, you’ll get a day off to celebrate your special day. This special occasion transcends cultures, geographical areas, and nationalities – people from all around the globe celebrate birthdays and this particular event is inscribed in one’s language. Today, we’ll learn new Malay vocabulary by looking at the ways on how to say “Happy Birthday” in the Malay language.

Easy Ways To Say Happy Birthday In Bahasa Malaysia

In Malay, there are several ways for you to choose to wish a person a “Happy Birthday”.

1) Selamat Hari Jadi

This is the most typical way of wishing happy birthday to a Malaysian:

Selamat Hari Jadi = sɜlɑmʌt ˈhari ʤɑdi

In the Malay language, Selamat Hari Jadi is the phrase to use when you want to wish someone for his birthday. Let’s see the literal translation of this particular phrase.

Selamat Happy
Hari Day
Jadi Birth

If you want to see how the English Happy Birthday fits with its Malay equivalent, this is how it looks. However, the word selamat and jadi aren’t literally accurate. In Malay, selamat means safe while jadi means being or become. When you put them together into a phrase, selamat means happy and jadi refers to one’s being or birth, which corresponds to its English translation. These words are the classic method of saying happy birthday to a friend.

If you’re wondering when can you use these words, feel free to use them with everyone – your family, friends, superiors, the elderly, and even strangers! In Malay society, you’ll find that many people will wish Selamat Hari Jadi on your birthday. But then, you’ll find that a lot of the locals utter Happy Birthday instead of the Malay Selamat Hari Jadi – the English birthday wish is commonly preferred as it has become a trend in the past few decades, especially among the millennials.

2) Selamat Hari Lahir

This is another mainstream manner of saying happy birthday to someone in Malay.

Selamat Hari Lahir = sɜlɑmʌt ˈhari laher

The literal translation of this particular phrase identical to Selamat Hari Jadi – the evident difference you’ll see is the word ‘lahir’, which essentially means birth. In the Malay language, lahir is a verb that means give birth. When put together, it simply means happy birthday. Selamat Hari Lahir is also used interchangeably with Selamat Hari Jadi – both carry the same meaning and you can use these words in every formal and informal context.

3) Selamat Hari Ulang Tahun

In Malaysia, if you’re closely associated with the elderly or the older generation, you’ll agree with what I’ll say – Selamat Hari Ulang Tahun is often said by the earlier generation. Ulang and tahun are translated as repeat and year in English and it figuratively means happy birthday when attached together. In English, this accurate translation of this phrase is “Happy Anniversary” as the word Ulang Tahun connotes the meaning of anniversary.


Sometimes, the locals add the word “kelahiran” (which means birth in English) at the back to give it a wholesome meaning as some may view the phrase as incomplete without the word. So, if you want to wish a friend, acquaintance, or family member who’s much older than you, you can use “Selamat Hari Ulang Tahun Kelahiran” to let them have that nostalgic experience on their special day. Still, in Malaysia, wishing Selamat Hari Ulang Tahun on its own is already sufficient to put a smile on someone’s face.

How To Respond To Birthday Wishes In Malay

Now that you’ve known how to say happy birthday in Malay, do you have any clue on how to respond? Normally, you’d be genuinely happy hearing words of birthday wishes and celebrating your special occasion with your friends and family. So now, what do you reply in return? Most of the time, you’ll be awestruck and overwhelmed with joy but it’s most fitting to smile and utter thank you!

Other Related Birthday Phrases

Semoga panjang umur dan murah rezeki

You’ll find this to be the most frequently, regularly used phrase in the Malaysian community. This sentence often comes later after the wish. The English translation of this sentence is “May you’re blessed with longevity and bountiful livelihood”. Simply put, it means “wishing you great health and wealth”. It’s a good, typical wish that people usually say and share when celebrating the day of someone’s birth. This is how the locals usually use “semoga panjang umur dan murah rezeki“:

  1. Selamat Hari Lahir Adam! Semoga panjang umur dan murah rezeki (Happy Birthday Adam! Wishing you great health and wealth)
  2. Selamat Hari Ulang Tahun Nenek, semoga panjang umur dan murah rezeki! (Happy Birthday Grandma, wishing you great health and wealth!)


Sambutan hari jadi

The English version of this particular phrase is birthday celebration (the word sambutan means celebration). When a Malaysian is having a big party, this particular phrase is usually written on the banner, along with his name.

Ucapan hari jadi

This phrase simply means birthday speech (the word ucapan means speech in English). It’s normally written on birthday cards or spoken to call a person out to deliver a speech.

Learn Malay Language Today

Learning more about how to greet the local Malaysians in Malay will definitely make you popular among the Malay speakers. Feel free to discover new Malay basic phrases and expressions or even other languages through Ling App. It’s the place where you’ll find the best, interactive website that provides you access and countless information to learn languages for free!

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