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Malaysians are generally very polite and dislike confrontation, and you'd do well to bear in mind the following points of etiquette:

  • Keep calm Try to avoid raising your voice in anger. A dispute is more likely to be resolved through calm discussion, and a smile often goes a long way.

  • Greetings Handshakes are usual when meeting someone for the first time, although some Muslims prefer not to shake hands with someone of the opposite sex.

  • Pointing Don't use your index finger to point; use your thumb instead.

  • Shoes off Always remove your footwear before entering someone's home.

  • Right handed Use your right hand to eat, in shops, when shaking hands or for any other transaction. The left hand is reserved for unclean acts.