12+ Short Malay Phrases To Remember For Your Trip To Malaysia

These short Malay phrases are key to having a fun trip!

Booking a flight to Kuala Lumpur? Good idea! Malaysia is a land of beautiful people, stunning sceneries, and fantastic food – we can’t wait for you to try everything out! However, you should bring this guide to short Malay phrases along with you!

We curated some of the most useful phrases you can employ on your trip. Having these phrases will help you communicate better with the locals and even give you a chance to make a new friend or two!

Check out this list of short Malay phrases to bring on your trip to Malaysia. You can bookmark this page or print out the lists we provided for easy access!

Short Malay Phrases For Greeting

Selamat datang to our guide for today!

Selamat Datang

Selamat datang means “welcome” and is often said when welcoming someone into a location, such as a restaurant, their home, and more.

General Greetings

There are three general greetings to note: selamat pagi, which means “good morning;” selamat petang, which means “good afternoon;” and selamat malam, which means “good night.”

Malay Muslims greet each other with assalamu alaikum – “peace be with you” – in Arabic.

Apa Khabar

Apa khabar means “how are you” and is considered a polite greeting for everyone! Use it on people you meet on the street, friends you make along the way, and even your GrabCar driver.

Khabar Baik

Khabar baik  means “I’m fine,” but the more polite way to say it is khabar baik, terima kasih. And that last phrase means…

Terima Kasih

Terima kasih means “thank you.” It is considered polite to say it whenever you are being served, asked about, or have anything done for you!

Sama Sama

Sama-sama means “you’re welcome” in Bahasa Melayu. It is typically used as a response to terima kasih. It should not be confused with selamat datang.

WelcomeSelamat datang
Good morningSelamat pagi
Good afternoonSelamat petang
Good night Selamat malam
How are youApa khabar
I’m fine, thanksKhabar baik, terima kasih.
Thank youTerima kasih
You’re welcomeSama-sama

Short Malay Phrases For Pleasantries

Meeting someone for coffee? Check out these Malay phrases!

Parting phrases

These three phrases in Bahasa Malaysia are essential to remember, especially when bidding someone goodbye: selamat tinggal is to be said if you are leaving; selamat jalan if you’re the one staying; and sampal jumpa lagi means “see you again.”

Selamat Maju Jaya

When wishing someone luck, this phrase will be appropriate. Selamat maju jaya translates to “Go forward and win!” and is Malaysia’s version of “break a leg.” So use it when you want to give someone good vibes!

It is also acceptable to say semoga berjaya in situations like these.

Sihat Selalu

When out having drinks with friends, it is customary to toast to everyone’s good health. The phrase “cheers to your good health!” is sihat selalu! Make sure your drink is topped up before you call for a toast!

Semoga Hari Anda Baik Sahaja

Bowing off after a fun night at Pasar Minggu? Part ways with your friends in suitable terms by saying semoga hari anda baik sahaja. It translates to “I hope you have a good day!” and is considered a friendly way to say goodbye.

Jemput Makan

About to dig into your nasi goreng? Before eating, invite everyone else to the table by saying jemput makan, which means “Please eat!” It is Malaysia’s own version of bon appetit in French.

Selamat Jalan

Seeing someone off at the lapangan terbang (airport?) Make sure to bid them a bon voyage with selamat jalan, which translates to “have a good journey.”

Goodbye (speaker leaving)Selamat tinggal.
Goodbye (speaker staying)Selamat jalan.
See you againSampal jumpa lagi.
Go forward and winSelamat maju jaya
Good luckSemoga berjaya
Cheers to your healthSihat selalu
Have a good day Semoga hari anda baik sahaja
Please eatJemput makan
Have a good trip Selamat jalan

Getting To Know People In Malay

Get to know someone better with these helpful Malay phrases.

Sudah Lama Tidak Berjumpa

Meeting someone after a long time? Say Sudah lama tidak berjumpa – “Long time no see!” It is appropriate to say this when meeting someone again after a while.

Siapa Nama Anda?

Want to get to know a stranger a little better? Say siapa nama anda, which means “what’s your name.” You might expect to hear this next one in response…

Nama Saya…

Nama saya means “My name is…” and is followed by the speaker’s name. This is the perfect response to the question siapa nama anda.

Dari Mana Asal Saudara?

The next thing you should ask when meeting someone new is dari mana asal saudara, which means “where are you from?” This can be shortened to asal dari mana, which is the more informal way to ask this question.

Saya Dari…

Your new friend should answer with the following phrase: “Saya dari…” which means “I’m from…” and is followed by their place of origin.

Selamat Berkenalan

To wrap up this conversation, Malays usually use the phrase selamat berkenalan, which means “Nice to meet you.” Use it to punctuate a dialogue on a high note.

Long time no seeSudah lama tidak berjumpa
What’s your name?Siapa nama anda?
My name is…Nama saya…
Where are you from?Dari mana asal saudara?
I am from… Saya dari…
Nice to meet you.Selamat berkenalan.

Answering Questions In Malay

Someone has a question? Here's the answer -- in Malay, of course.

Adakah Saudara Faham?

During a conversation, especially when practicing basic Malay phrases with a local, you might be asked: adakah saudara faham? This means “Do you understand?” and is asked to confirm your understanding of something.

Saya Faham

The typical response to the previous phrase, if you did understand, is Saya faham. It means “I understand” and confirms your understanding of the subject of discussion.

Saya Tidak Faham

If you didn’t understand, you could say saya tidak faham – “I didn’t understand.” You may also say sila ulang to ask someone to repeat what they said, so you can hear it better.


When you want to answer in the affirmative in Bahasa Melayu, you may say ya, which means yes, or…


You may also say tidak, which means “no.” However, there is a shorter way to say no — locals usually say tak instead of the full tidak, especially when talking to someone familiar.

Boleh Jadi

Not sure about the answer? You may say boleh jadi, which translates to “maybe,” when you are not sure how to answer affirmatively or negatively to a particular question.

Saya Tidak Tahu

If you don’t know the answer, you can also respond with saya tidak tahu, which translates to “I don’t know.” An informal way to say this is tak tau.

Maafkan Saya

Need to ask for someone’s attention, or get in someone’s way? Say it with maafkan saya, which translates to “excuse me.”

Saya Tersesat

Confused in the conversation? If you need to get the conversation back on track, you may say saya tersesat – “I’m lost.” It signifies to the listener that you require clarity.

Di Mana

Di mana translates to “where,” and is used to ask about the location of something. So, this phrase will serve you well if you find yourself looking for a place or object.

Do you understand?Adarah saudara faham?
I understand.Saya faham.
I didn’t understand.Saya tidak faham.
Excuse me.Maafkan saya.
I’m lostSaya tersesat
Where?Di mana?

Learn More Malay With Ling

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Ready to take your education to the next level? While knowing a few helpful phrases in Malay is well and good, nothing beats being fluent in the language. To do that, you need the Ling app!

Our app offers lessons in Malay and over 60 more languages, such as Japanese, Korean, Tagalog, and more! These lessons were created with native speakers and educators, who crafted a learning experience that works great for everyone – from beginners to experts.

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