1) What can you tell me about Malaysian names?

Unlike in the West, Malays do not have family names. They attach their father's name to their personal names. Example: Razak bin Osman. In this case, Razak is the man's personal name while Osman is his father's name. Bin means 'son of'  . In business, this person is often referred to as Encik Razak (Encik means 'Mr'). His friends would call him Razak. If you were writing a letter to him, you would address it to Encik Razak bin Osman. Then begin, Dear Razak.


Married Malay women do not take their husband's name but retain their own names. In the case of a female Malay name 'binti' is substituted for bin, and means 'daughter of'. Chinese names are made up of the family name followed by the personal name which is normally made up of two words. Example: Tan Me Ling. In this case, Tan is the family name and the woman's name is Mei Ling. Formally, she would be referred to as Ms Tan and her friends would refer to her as Mei Ling. If she had taken a Western name or was a Christian, she may add that name before her family name. Example, Emily Tan Mei Ling. She would then choose to be known as Ms Emily Tan.


Most Indian Malaysians do not use their family names. They use their father's name. Example: Nagaratnam s/o Suppiah. The man's personal name is Nagaratnam and s/o means 'son of'. Suppiah is his father's name. In the case of females, d/o denotes 'daughter of'. Some Indians who are Christians have adopted Western surnames. Example: William Joseph or may add a Christian name before their personal name. Example: Michael Nagaratnam. All male Sikhs have the name Singh which is not a family name. Example: Manjit Singh s/o Karamjit Singh. All female Sikhs adopt the name Kaur; again it is not a family name.


Many distinguished persons' academics, businessmen and politicians have honorary titles conferred on them by the King of Malaysia or the Sultan of their State. These titles such as Dato', Datuk or Tan Sri are equivalent to the British 'sir' and should always be used in written or verbal addresses. For example, Dato' Razak bin Osman would be used in the written form but in introducing him, you would refer to him as Dato' Razak.


Many Muslim Malaysians, who have made the pilgrimage to Mecca , are entitled to use the term Haji (abbreviated to Hj) in the written form of their name. Although it is not a name, it denotes that the person has been to Mecca . As a form of respect to an older person who is not a relative, Malaysian children may refer to them as 'Uncle' or 'Aunty' , Bapa saudara or Emak saudara.


2) What can you tell me about gift giving?


There are several taboos associated with the giving of gifts to Malaysians. Malays are Muslims and the following gifts are forbidden: foodstuff containing pork or made using animal fat; alcoholic drinks or perfume containing alcohol; toy dogs or pigs, or anything made of pigskin.


For the Chinese, the following gifts connote an element of bad luck and should never be given them; clocks, straw sandals, handkerchiefs, sharp objects such as set of knives. If a gift consists of a number of small items, bring an even number of them as this a sign of happiness. Also never give anything having a picture of a stork to a Chinese woman because a stork symbolises a woman's death.


Some Indians are Hindus while others are vegetarians. So avoid giving foodstuff containing beef or meat extracts. In contrast to the Chinese, Indians prefer odd numbers to even numbers, which they consider luckier. Don't be disappointed if the recipient doesn't open the gift in front of you. Malaysians of all races consider it rude to open a gift in front of the giver.


3) What can you tell me about driving in Malaysia ?


As in New Zealand, traffic moves on the left side of the road. However, both right hand and left hand drive cars may be driven on Malaysian roads. There are many excellent highways and toll roads and traffic regulations are almost similar to those in New Zealand . 


4) How do I obtain a copy of a birth, death or marriage certificate from Malaysia?


You should contact the national headquarters of the National Registration Department (Jabatan Pendaftaran Negara) in Putrajaya. The details that NRD will seek from you include the individual's name, occupation, parents, place of residence in Malaysia and other details deem necessary by NRD. Payment is to be made by bank draft payable in Malaysian Ringgit. There might be a lapse of time to retrace the documents required, especially the record dated more than 10 years ago. Further details can be referred to website www.jpn.gov.my


5) Can I apply for Malaysian IC (MyKad)/lost of Malaysian IC/Malaysian Driving Licence at the High Commission of Malaysia in New Zealand?


No, you can't. You must return to Malaysia to apply in person for the missing identification cards. Supporting documents that you must have with you include passport, birth certificate (for child) and parents' IC.


If you have lost your MyKad and Malaysian driving licence, you need to lodge a police report first at the nearby Police Station. With this report, you may apply a new one to NRD or Road Transport Department (RTD). Further information can be found at www.jpn.gov.my and www.jpj.gov.my


Other FAQs on identification and registration matters can be referred at http://www.jpn.gov.my/en/frequently-asked-questions


6) What is the Malaysia My Second Home?


Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) is a programme to allow foreigners who have fulfilled certain criteria, to stay in Malaysia on a social visit pass with a multiple entry visa for 10 years and is renewable depending on the validity of an applicant's passport. Information about the visa procedures can be found at www.imi.gov.my and more information about MM2H is available on the web at http://www.mm2h.gov.my


You can also write in to the High Commission of Malaysia in New Zealand at mwwelton@xtra.co.nz and we will be happy to assist you. 


7) Can I get materials about Malaysia e.g. brochures, e-newsletter, songs, pamphlets and etc?


Yes, you can. Please write to us at mwwelton@xtra.co.nz for assistance and we will be able to provide you with the electronic copies of the materials you need. You can also visit the High Commission in person to collect the materials. 


8) Do I have to register and  inform the High Commission of Malaysia if I am going to New Zealand for business or personal? 


Yes, we would appreciate it if you would do so so the High Commission will be in the know of your whereabouts in New Zealand. Please email us the date of arrival and period of stay, purpose of visit, contact details, accommodation and flight details for our record.