±JOIN OUR NEWSLETTER
±Compare Expat Providers
±Expat Focus Partners
±Latest Financial Articles
· How To Make The Most Of Your Retirement Abroad
· Expat Focus Financial Update September 2017
· 10 Things To Think About Before You Move Abroad In Your Middle Age
· Expat Focus Financial Update August 2017
· What Could Higher Interest Rates Mean For Your Overseas Property Purchase?
· Expat Focus Financial Update July 2017
· The Lifestyles And Cultures Of Great Expat Locations
· Understanding Exchange Rates for Your Overseas Property Purchase
· Interview With Duncan Khoury, Head of Marketing, World First Australia
Culture, Society and ReligionBack to top Back to main Skip to menu
Malaysia - Culture, Society and Religion
Malaysia’s rich and varied social and geographical history mean that its culture has been influenced by a wide range of individual beliefs. It is a multi-racial country which is leading the way in terms of social integration and mutual cultural awareness and respect. There are three principle races in Malaysia. Firstly there are the Malays, who are traditionally Muslims and who make up the largest sector of the Malaysian population. The next racial group is formed by the Chinese people living in Malaysia, the majority of whom are Buddhists; and finally there is the Indian sector of the population who are mostly Hindus. But in addition to these main racial groups, there are also a large number of Sikhs and Christians who live and practise in Malaysia.
Respect for all
Although Malaysia is officially a Muslim country, all three of the above religions are extremely important across the whole country. The Constitution of Malaysia lays down the right of each religion to practise freely in an atmosphere of acceptance and tolerance. Respecting more than one religion and cultural tradition has given Malaysia an incredibly rich culture. The different races all have customs and traditions which give the country as a whole a very colourful heritage.
The most important festivals celebrated by each religion are public holidays observed by the whole nation, so people get a lot of days off work! Each festival is celebrated by everyone, regardless of race or religion, giving the country a very inclusive feel as the public respect and observe each other’s differences.
Despite most people adhering to one religion or another, most Malaysians wear western clothing. But during special occasions they go all out, wearing traditional dress with all of the accessories to match. It is not uncommon to see women whose hair and torsos are covered, but this is a choice that they themselves take. There are no laws dictating clothing regulations for Malaysian women. Although the country is very liberal and westernised in many ways, remember to be respectful. If travelling out of the major cities, make sure you don’t wear clothes which are too revealing as this could be offensive, especially to the more traditional slightly older generation.
Festivals and Public Holidays
The following days are all national holidays in Malaysia, but most of the dates change year on year as they are subject to lunar phases. You will find a calendar marked with all the public holidays by following this link:
Listed below are some of the festivals which are celebrated with public holidays each year in Malaysia:
- Hari Raya Aidilfitri (Malay)
- Thaipusam (Indian)
- Chinese New Year (Chinese)
- Hari Raya Aidil Adha (Malay)
- Awal Muharram (Malay)
- Wesak Day (Chinese & Indian)
- Sabah Kaamatan Festival
- Sarawak Gawai Festival
- The Birthday of SPB Yang Di Pertuan Agong
- Prophet Muhammad's Birthday
- National Day
- Moon Cake Festival (Chinese)
- Deepavali (Indian)
- Christmas (Indian & Chinese)
Expat Health Insurance Partners
Our award-winning expatriate business provides health benefits to more than 650,000 members worldwide. In addition, we have helped develop world-class health systems for governments, corporations and providers around the world. We want to be the global leader in delivering world-class health solutions, making quality health care more accessible and empowering people to live healthier lives.
At Bupa we have been helping individuals and families live longer, healthier, happier lives for over 60 years. We are trusted by expats in 190 different countries and have links with healthcare organisations throughout the world. So whether you're moving abroad for a change of career or a change of scene, with our international private health insurance you will always be in safe hands.
Cigna has worked in international health insurance for more than 30 years. Today, Cigna has over 71 million customer relationships around the world. Looking after them is an international workforce of 31,000 people, plus a network of over 1 million hospitals, physicians, clinics and health and wellness specialists worldwide, meaning you have easy access to treatment.