27 Easy Tips: How To Read Time And Date In Malay

Thanks to the previous blog on Malay numbers and counting, you may already know how to articulate this number – 4507. But, do you know how to read time and date in Bahasa Malaysia? You probably don’t. Similar to how it works in English, knowing numbers and basic counting helps you significantly in terms of basic calculation and reading. But telling the time and date may be out of your comprehension. Today, we’ll look at the tips and guide on how to read time and date in the Malay language.

Time Zone In Malaysia

The time zone here in Malaysia, with Kuala Lumpur as its capital city, is Greenwich Mean Time + 8 hours (GMT +8). Simply put, it is 8 hours ahead of Coordinated Universal Time (UTC). The local time in Malaysia is called Malaysia Standard Time (MST) or Malay Time (MT). For your information, there are a few neighboring locations and cities that share the same time zone as Malaysia (GMT +8) namely Singapore, Indonesia, Brunei, Hong Kong, Beijing, Macau, Perth, Taiwan, and Shanghai.

As London is UTC +1, Malaysia is 7 hours ahead of London, UK. Also, the time difference between Malaysia and Washington, DC, United States of America is 12 hours. Malaysia is 12 hours ahead of Washington – so if the time strikes 12 noon in Kuala Lumpur, it’s 12 midnight in Washington.

Currently, Malaysia uses the Malaysia Time (MYT) all year. Daylight Saving Time (DST) isn’t used in Malaysia, unlike most European countries. So, phrases like “Spring forward, fall back” don’t really work here because Malaysia has a non-seasonal climate.

Time And Date In Malay: How To Tell Time

As I’ve introduced you to the basics of time in Malaysia, let’s see the basic words and phrases beginners need to learn to be able to tell and read time in the Malay language.

1) Jam/Pukul – O’clock

O’clock, the indication of time we learn in English is known as jam or pukul in the Malay language. What’s the difference between the two? Semantically, both hold the same meaning. In terms of the spoken context, the Malay native speakers often use jam informal settings. Pukul, on the other hand, is casually used.

Saya akan mulakan kelas pada jam 10 pagi = I will start the class at 10 o’clock in the morning.

Sekarang pukul berapa? Pukul 3 = What time is it? It’s 3 o’clock.

2) Jam – Hour

The equivalent of the hour in Bahasa Melayu is jam.

Kamu ada 3 jam untuk jawab peperiksaan ini. = You have 3 hours to answer this exam

Saya akan sampai rumah dalam masa sejam = I will arrive home in 1 hour.

*LOCAL TIP – From the previous Malay numbers blog, you have learned that one translates to satu in Bahasa Malaysia. However, one also translates to se in the Malay language. Due to that, most numbers that start with the number “1” will be spelled and read using se instead of satu. Remember that this condition only applies when 1 is in front. Here are a few examples to clarify:

One thousand (1,000) = Seribu

One hour = Sejam

One second = Sesaat

However, when it comes to reading the time, like 1:00 o’clock, it translates to pukul satu or jam satu.

3) Minit – Minute

This is an easy one. The pronunciation doesn’t change – the spelling does.

Bagi saya beberapa minit untuk siap. = Give me a few minutes to get ready.

4) Saat – Second

The word for second in the Malay language is saat. It functions the same as how it works in English.

Saya boleh terlelap dalam masa beberapa saat sahaja = I can fall asleep in a matter of seconds.

5) Pukul … – … O’clock 

  • Pukul Satu – One O’clock (1:00)

How to say one o’clock in Malay? This is the answer you need. In literal terms, satu means one and pukul is o’clock. Yep, we locals commonly use pukul satu instead of jam satu (because jam sounds a bit too formal and official). So, there you go. How to read time in Malay? Once you know basic counting in Malay and the related time vocabulary, you’re good to go! 

  • Pukul Dua – Two O’clock (2:00)

  • Pukul Tiga – Three O‘clock (3:00)

  • Pukul Empat – Four O’clock (4:00)

  • Pukul Lima – Five O’clock (5:00)

  • Pukul Enam – Six O’clock (6:00)

  • Pukul Tujuh – Seven O’clock (7:00)

  • Pukul Lapan – Eight O’clock (8:00)

  • Pukul Sembilan – Nine O’clock (9:00)

  • Pukul Sepuluh – Ten O’clock (10:00)

  • Pukul Sebelas – Eleven O’clock (11:00)

  • Pukul Dua Belas – Twelve O’clock (12:00)

Time: Terms You Must Know

Timing in Malaysia according to the 24-hour system

1) Pagi = Morning (A.M.)

2) Tengahari = Noon (P.M.)

3) Petang = Evening (P.M.)

4) Malam = Evening/Night (P.M.)

5) Tengah Malam = Midnight (A.M.)

How To Ask For Time In Malay

Tumpang tanya, boleh saya tahu sekarang pukul berapa? Excuse me, may I know what time is it now?
Awak akan bertolak jam berapa? What time are you leaving?
Berapa lamakah masa yang kita ada? How much time do we have?
Berapa lama masa yang diperlukan untuk sampai ke Selangor? How long does it take to get to Selangor?

Malay Slang In Time

To add more to your local Malay knowledge, here are a few Malay slangs and expressions that you won’t find on any other websites because none of the Malay native speakers write about it! So, here you go; some of the time-related slang the Malay speakers use in Malaysia.

  1. Pagi-pagi buta = very early in the morning (normally 2 A.M. – 7 A.M., depending on context)
  2. Matahari atas kepala = noon/midday
  3. Senja/maghrib = twilight/dusk
  4. Subuh = Dawn
  5. Lewat malam = late midnight (normally 12 A.M. onwards)

Time And Date In Malay: How To Say Dates

As we’ve learned how to tell the time in Malay, let’s see how to say months, years, and days in Malay.

Saying Name Of Months In Bahasa Melayu


Months In Malay – How The Locals Do It?

In Malay, the translation for ‘month’ is bulan. In the Malay culture, sometimes the locals refer to the months using their hierarchical sequence, from 1 to 12. So instead of saying Januari, the Malays say bulan 1, which equates to the first month.

Januari = Bulan 1

Yup, as easy as that. Now you know Malay numbers and months, you’ll have no problem blending in the locals!

Now you’ve learned how all the twelve months sound in Malay, how do you read the dates? This is going to be an easy one since you’ve mastered all the elements that make a date, which are numbers, counting, and months.

Firstly, in Malaysia, the typical format for a date is DD/MM/YY. Now that the month part is covered, how would you pronounce the day and year? Well, it’s exactly the same as the Malay basic counting before! Let’s pick a date and make that as an example:

See? That’s not that hard, isn’t it? Try pick a few more random dates and read it out loud in Malay. With enough practice, you’ll master it in no time.

Saying Name Of Days In Bahasa Melayu

Isnin Monday is-nɪn
Selasa Tuesday sir-lɑ-sir
Rabu Wednesday rɑ-boo
Khamis Thursday car-mɪss
Jumaat Friday ʤu-mɑ-art
Sabtu Saturday sup-too
Ahad Sunday are-hut

Other Important Time-Related Vocabulary In Malay

  1. Hari = day
  2. Minggu = Week
  3. Tahun = Year
  4. Dekad = Decade
  5. Abad = Century
  6. Tarikh = date
  7. Waktu/Masa = time
  8. Tetapkan masa = set the time
  9. Tetapkan tarikh = set the date
  10. Pilih tarikh = choose a date

Learn Malay Language Today

Interested to know more about the Malay language? Feel free to read some of the best practices on speaking Malay, best ways to learn the language, and the common Malay greetings. For more comprehensive learning of the Malay language or any languages that strike your interest, try learning through Ling App. Ling App is one of the best, interactive free language app that can teach you essential Malay words, vocabulary, grammar, pronunciation, and spelling through games and quizzes. It has a specific page where you get to learn Malay. With such a fun way of learning, you’ll certainly get the hang of any new language in an instant!

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