The Work Culture In Malaysia

Plan To Work In Malaysia?

Malaysia is a country where tradition and modernity meets. Home to varying cultures, Malaysia plays a host to Chinese, Indians, Westerners and other Asians. Because of this rich diversity and the mix of multiple cultures, it is very hard to pinpoint which traits stand out among others. That being the case, younger generations and non-locals tend to be unsure of how to interact and how to conform to avoid seeming rude or offending others. To help, here are a few key points on Malaysian Work Culture for local and non-local jobseekers.

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Check out this video to learn about the experience of an expat living and working in Malaysia:

1. Work Schedule

Malaysian companies usually follow a 9:00AM-05:00PM, Monday to Saturday schedule with a 1-hour lunch break. And similar to most countries, Malaysia sticks to a 48 hours maximum workweek schedule. Three items  to take note in connection to the work schedule: (1) lunchtime is sacred, so no schedules of meetings or working lunch; (2) arriving earlier and leaving later is a sign of working hard; and (3) leaving before the employer may mean you are not working hard enough. This custom may be attributed to the hierarchal structure adhered to by other Asian countries, where a wide gap exists between superiors and subordinates. 

2. Meetings

As practised in most corporate settings, meetings are always scheduled in advance to allow time for preparation. One limitation is that, as mentioned above, meetings are not to be scheduled during lunch breaks. With that in mind, here are some reminders. Before the meeting, if the venue is in your office, be sure to greet the visitors at the entrance to show respect and hospitality. If the venue is in another office, always come on time and not earlier or late. Coming on time ensures that the host has finished all preparations and is ready to be the host for the meeting. Lastly, at the start of the meeting, introductions will be made and as custom dictates, women and high-ranking officials should be given first introductions. 

3. Negotiation

In keeping with its Asian roots, Malaysians tend to be cautious and diplomatic. It is imperative that transactions are based on careful evaluation to ensure a long-term partnership. In addition, instead of giving a “no” for an answer, a more diplomatic approach will be given. Akin to other Asian nations, “soft power” is the preferred show of leadership and authority.

4. After Office Hours Work

Like most countries, after-hours work is a part of the Malaysian Work Culture. If there are emails or messages received after work, an employee is still obligated to respond. It is a norm to still be connected to work emails even after hours.

To sum up, the listed key points are given to help you navigate the work culture in Malaysia and make your transition from newbie to the rookie as smooth as possible. The main purpose of the enumeration is to give you an overview of what to expect in most Malaysian offices and not to stereotype all companies. Being a newcomer is always an awkward phase because this is an adjustment period for you and the people you mingle with. Just remember that this phase is temporary and is an essential point of learning. Thus, with the pointers above and your readiness for the job, may you have an easier time in starting a new phase in your career. If you are looking to change your career, you should visit Kerija.my, one of the largest job portal.

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