General Health Information
Vaccinations are not required to enter Malaysia
unless you are coming from a "yellow"
infected area. However, always check with your
doctor as to if any vaccinations are needed when
planning to travel internationally.
The U.S. Embassy in Kuala Lumpur can provide a
list of doctors and hospitals upon request. Medical
facilities and services are adequate in the larger
cities, where Western-trained, English-speaking
doctors can easily be found. Doctors and hospitals
often prefer immediate cash payment for health
services although major credit cards are acceptable.
Medical insurance is not always valid outside
the United States. Supplemental overseas medical
insurance, including coverage for medical evacuation,
may prove useful. The Medicare/Medicaid program
does not provide payment of medical services outside
the United States.
is generally safe to drink water straight from
the tap. Bottled mineral water, however, is easily
available in shops and supermarkets.
When visiting Malaysia, the visitor should observe
local customs and practices. Some common courtesies
and customs are as follow:
- Handshakes usually suffice for men and
women, although some Muslim ladies may simply
nod her head and smile to acknowledge an introduction
with a gentleman. A handshake is reciprocated
only if the lady offers her hand first. A handshake
with both hands but without the grasp is the traditional
greeting of "salam". The man offers
both hands and touches his friend's outstretched
hands lightly, and brings his hands to his chest.
This is to say " I greet you from my heart"
and should be returned by the visitor.
- When visiting a friend's home it is polite to
call beforehand and shoes are to be removed. Removal
of shoes also applies for entering a mosque or
and Indian temple.
-Eating is always done with the right hand. The
same is true for giving and receiving objects.
Pointing at people, places, or objects with the
right forefinger is not used. The preferred use
is the thumb of the right hand folded under with
the four fingers.
- Toasting is not a common practice because Malaysia
has a large Muslim population, which does not
- Meetings are often held during lunch or dinner.
Your contact will meet you at your hotel or at
his or her office. Malaysians tend to be late
however, they expect others to be on time for
- Malaysians are usually called by their given
names preceded by Mr., Mrs., or Miss. The Chinese
use their family names preceded by Mr., Mrs.,
- Business cards are always exchanged. Both hands
are used when giving or receiving cards. Then
study the card before placing in your pocket.
- A suit and tie, for men, is acceptable attire.
Long sleeved batik shirts are always suitable.
A blouse and skirt or a suit are best for women.
Due to the different religions and cultures, giving
gifts can be somewhat complicated. Never give
liquor to a Muslim (alcohol is forbidden in the
Muslim religion). Never give a clock, watch, knife,
or white flowers to a Chinese person (all of these
are associated with death in Chinese culture).
A pen or object with a company logo is usually
the safest gift
What to wear:
It is ideal to have light clothing to wear year
round. In the evenings, a light wrap may be advised.
It is also advisable for ladies to wear long sleeves
and loose pants or long skirts when entering mosques
is usually not necessary, unless service is excellent.
Most hotels and large restaurants add a 10% service
charge automatically. This is in addition to the
5% government tax. (indicated by a ++ sign on
menus and rate cards)
Restaurants: 10% service charge added automatically.
Additional tipping is unnecessary, unless service
tipping for porters is M$1 per bag. Any tip smaller
than 50 sen would be considered an insult.
Hotel maids: A
service charge is automatically added. Unless
acknowledging excellent service, additional tipping
is not necessary.
Taxis: Most taxis
are fitted with meters. Taxi rates are currently
RM 2 for the first 2km and 10 sen for every 200
meters thereon. A surcharge of 50% is levied between
midnight and 6.00am.