Comparison of Malaysian and Indonesian

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The Indonesian (Bahasa Indonesia) and Malaysian (Bahasa Malaysia) standards of the Malay language (Bahasa Melayu) are mutually intelligible, but differ in spelling, pronunciation, and vocabulary. The differences can range from those mutually unintelligible with one another to those having a closer familial resemblance. The regionalized and localized varieties of Malay can become a catalyst for intercultural conflict, especially in higher education.[1]


To non-native speakers both varieties may seem identical, but to native speakers, the differences are noticeable through diction and accent. These differences often lead to incomprehension when used in formal conversation or written communication.[citation needed] They also affect broadcasting business in relation to foreign language subtitling, for example DVD movies or TV cable subscriptions. In order to reach a wider audience, sometimes both Indonesian and Malaysian subtitles are displayed in a movie with other language subtitles. Another example is Malaysian TV provides Malaysian subtitling on Indonesian sinetrons (TV drama) aired in Malaysia.[2]

The Malay language in Indonesia and Malaysia also differs in recognition and general perception by the people and government of the two countries. Ignorance of these subtleties may result in misconceptions.

The term "Malay" (Bahasa Melayu) in Indonesia and Malaysia invites different perceptions. To Malaysians, the Malay language is generally the national language of Malaysia. "Malaysian" (Bahasa Malaysia) is the Malaysian standardized form of Malay. Between 1986 and 2007, the term Bahasa Melayu was used instead of Bahasa Malaysia, until the latter was reinstated, in order to instil a sense of belonging among Malaysians of all races, rather than just Malays.[3] Therefore, there is no clear distinction between the use of the term Malay (Bahasa Melayu) and the national language of Malaysia (Bahasa Malaysia). In Brunei, where Malay is also an official language, the language is known as Bahasa Melayu and in English as "Malay".[4]

In Indonesia, however, there is a clear distinction between "Malay" (Bahasa Melayu) and the "Indonesian" (Bahasa Indonesia). Indonesian is the national language which serves as the unifying language of Indonesia. The term "Malay" is reserved for the language indigenous to the Malay people. Thus, "Malay" is considered a regional language in Indonesia, enjoying the same status as Javanese, Bataknese, Sundanese, Buginese, Balinese and others. Moreover, to Indonesians, the term "Malay" is more often associated with Malaysia and the Malaysian national language.

In Malaysia, the terms "Indonesian Malay" and "Malaysian Malay" are sometimes used for Indonesian and Malaysian as spoken in Malaysia. In Indonesia, "Indonesian Malay" refers to the Malay spoken by the Malay people in Indonesia, that is, to Malay as a regional language in Sumatra, though it is rarely used. Bahasa Malaysia and Bahasa Melayu are used interchangeably in reference to Malay in Malaysia.


Before the 20th century, Malay was written in a modified form of the Arabic alphabet known as Jawi. After the 20th century, Malay written with Roman letters, known as Rumi, has almost completely replaced Jawi in everyday life. The romanisations originally used in Malaya (now part of Malaysia) and the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia) reflected their positions as British and Dutch possessions respectively. In Malaya, the romanisation of Malay, devised by Richard Wilkinson[5] was influenced by English, whereas in the Dutch East Indies, the system devised by C A Van Ophuijsen was influenced by Dutch.[6]

As a result, in Indonesia, the vowel in the English word 'moon' was formerly represented oe, as in Dutch, although the official spelling of this sound was changed to u in 1947.

Similarly, until 1972, the initial consonant of the English 'chin' was represented in Malaysia as ch, whereas in Indonesia, it continued to follow Dutch and used tj. Hence the word for 'grandchild' used to be written as chuchu in Malaysia and tjoetjoe in Indonesia, until a unified spelling system was introduced in 1972 (known in Indonesia as Ejaan Yang Disempurnakan or the 'Perfected Spelling') which removed most differences between the two varieties: Malaysian ch and Indonesian tj became c: hence cucu.

Indonesia abandoned the spelling dj (for the consonant at the beginning of the word 'Jakarta') to conform to the j already in use in Malaysia, while the old Indonesian j for the semivowel at the beginning of the English 'young', was replaced with y as in Malaysia. Likewise, the velar fricative which occurs in many Arabic loanwords, which used to be written 'ch' in Indonesian, became kh in both languages.

However, oe was retained in some proper names, such as the name of the first President, Sukarno (written as Soekarno), and his successor Suharto, (written as Soeharto). The ch and dj letter combinations are still encountered in names such as Achmad and Djojo (pronounced as Akhmad and Joyo respectively), although the post-1972 spelling is now favoured.

Although the representations of speech sounds are now largely identical in the Indonesian and Malaysian standards, a number of minor spelling differences remain, usually for historical reasons. For instance, the word for 'money' is written as wang in Malaysia, but uang in Indonesia, the word for 'try' is written as cuba in Malaysia, but coba in Indonesia, the word for 'because' is written as kerana in Malaysia, but karena in Indonesia, while the word for 'cake' is written as kuih in Malaysia, but kue in Indonesia.

One notable difference in punctuation between the two languages is the use of different decimal marks; Indonesian, influenced by Dutch, uses the decimal comma,[7] whereas Malaysian, influenced by English, uses the decimal point.[8]


Pronunciation also tends to be very different, with East Malaysia, Brunei and Indonesia pronouncing words in a form called Bahasa Baku,[citation needed] where the words are pronounced as spelt and enunciation tends to be clipped, staccato and faster than on the Malay Peninsula, which is spoken at a more languorous pace. Many vowels are pronounced (and were formerly spelt) differently in Peninsular Malaysia, Singapore, and Sumatra: tujuh is pronounced (and was spelt) tujoh, pilih as pileh, etc., and many final a's tend to be pronounced as schwas; [e] and [o] are also allophones of /i/ and /u/ in closed final syllables in peninsular Malaysian, Singaporean, and Sumatran.

Speakers of Malaysian in Peninsular Malaysia tend to speak at a more flowing pace, while words that end with the letter "a" often come out as a schwa (/ə/). Indonesian speakers speak in clipped staccato tones, their "r"s are more markedly trilled (rolled r), and all words are pronounced exactly as they are spelled.


Vocabulary differences[edit]

Indonesian differs from Malaysian in the quantity of words of among others, Javanese and Dutch origin. For example, the word for 'post office' in Malaysia is "pejabat pos" (in Indonesia this means 'post officer'), whereas in Indonesia it is "kantor pos", from the Dutch word for office, kantoor. There are also some Portuguese influences: in Indonesia, Christmas is known as "Natal", whereas Malaysia uses "Krismas", derived from English (or in some cases also "Natal", due to Indonesian influence). Pronunciation of some loanwords in Malaysian follows English, while some in Indonesian follows Dutch, for example Malaysian "televisyen" (from English: television) and Indonesian "televisi" (from Dutch: televisie), the "-syen" and "-si" also prevail in some other words. There are also instances where the Malaysian version derives from English pronunciation while the Indonesian version takes its cue from Latin. The Latin preference of the (older) Indonesian intellectuals in these instances may be ascribed to the influence of their classical-oriented education when Gymnasium schools were established during the Dutch colonial period : compare Malaysian kualiti, kuantiti, majoriti, minoriti and universiti with Indonesian kualitas, kuantitas, mayoritas, minoritas and universitas.

Some words which are spelt the same in both languages may even carry entirely different meanings in the other language, potentially leading to humorous or embarrassing situations: while baja means "steel" in Indonesian, in Malaysian it means "fertiliser". Also, whereas the Indonesian word butuh means "require" or "need", in Malaysia it is a vulgar slang term equivalent to "cunt/cock". Conversely, where the word "banci" seems innocuous enough in Malaysia ("census"), in Indonesia it is a derogatory term for "transvestite".

The relatively large share of Islamic (Arabic or Persian) loan words shared by Malaysian and Indonesian often poses no difficulty in comprehension and usage, although some forms may have developed a (slightly) different meaning or have become obsolete either in Malaysian or in Indonesian, e.g. khidmat, wakil (see below).

Vocabulary comparison[edit]

English Malaysian Indonesian
abroad luar negara luar negeri
account (bank, bills) akaun rekening from Dutch rekening, akun
accountant akauntan akuntan
after selepas, setelah sesudah, setelah (also used in Malaysian to indicate consecutive actions)
afternoon petang sore, petang less frequent
agent ejen, agen agen
air force tentera udara tentara angkatan udara
airport lapangan terbang ('airfield' in Indonesian) bandar udara (bandara), Airport
Algeria Algeria Aljazair from Arabic al-Jazā'ir
alliance perikatan, persekutuan, pakatan aliansi influenced by Dutch alliantie, persekutuan
apartment pangsapuri, rumah pangsa, rumah kondo (only for 'condominium') apartemen influenced by Dutch appartement, rumah susun (rusun), kondominium
archive arkib arsip from Dutch archief
armed forces tentera tentara, angkatan bersenjata
army tentera darat tentara angkatan darat
assembly majlis, perhimpunan (from the root verb 'himpun' meaning 'to gather/assemble') majelis
assets aset harta, aset, aktiva from Dutch activa
association persatuan asosiasi from Dutch associatie, perhimpunan, perkumpulan
Athens Athens Athena influenced by Dutch Athene or from native Greek Athina
auction lelong lelang
August Ogos Agustus from Dutch Augustus
auntie makcik (also used in bahasa Melayu Riau in Indonesia), emak saudara, ibu saudara bibi, tante from Dutch
autobiography autobiografi autobiografi - otobiografi is a substandard spelling
automatic automatik (formerly otomatik) otomatis derived from Dutch pronunciation of automatisch
autonomy autonomi otonomi
awkward janggal; kekok (of gesture) aneh, janggal; canggung, kikuk (of gesture)
backpack beg sandang literally "sling bag" ransel from Dutch
bag beg tas from Dutch
basin (wash basin/sink) besen wastafel from Dutch
because kerana, sebab karena, sebab
bed katil matras influenced by Dutch matras, tempat tidur, ranjang, kasur
Belgium Belgium Belgia influenced by Dutch België
Belgrade Belgrade Beograd
belt(of a seat) tali keledar sabuk
bicycle basikal sepeda influenced by French velocipede
billboard papan iklan papan iklan, papan reklame from Dutch reclame (advertisement)
billion bilion miliar from Dutch miljard
bishop biskop, bisyop uskup
bonnet, hood (of a car) bonet, bumbung, hud kap from Dutch
boot, trunk (of a car) but bagasi
Britain Britain Britania influenced by Dutch Brittannië
Brussels Brussels Brussel influenced by Dutch
Bucharest Bucharest Bukarest
bucket; pail baldi ember from Dutch emmer
bus bas bus, bis substandard
bus station stesen bas terminal bis
bus stop perhentian bas pemberhentian bus, halte bus substandard, from Dutch bushalte
Cairo Kaherah from Arabic Kairo
Cambodia Kemboja Kamboja
Cameroon Cameroon Kamerun
campaign kempen kampanye from Dutch campagne (which is a French loanword)
can (to be able) boleh, dapat dapat, bisa
cancer kanser, barah kanker from Dutch
capital city ibu negara ibu kota
car kereta
(means carriage in Indonesian, commonly used as a shorthand for kereta api, which means train. Malaysian followed English derivation of car which was a contraction of horseless carriage)
mobil from Dutch/mid-English automobile
Caribbean Caribbean Karibia
card kad kartu from Dutch kaart
carrot lobak merah wortel from Dutch
case kes kasus, hal
cash wang tunai uang tunai, kas
cashier juruwang kasir from Dutch kassier, juru uang
census banci sensus
centipede lipan kelabang, lipan
chilli cili, lada('pepper' in Indonesian), cabai (used in the northern states of Malaysia) cabai, cabe, Lombok
China China China proper name appealed by the Chinese embassy,
Cina still in common use but discouraged by the Chinese embassy due to possible racist connotations,
Tiongkok archaic
Christmas Krismas, Natal Natal from Portuguese
cinema panggung wayang bergambar (more popularly abbreviated as pawagam), panggung wayang bioskop from Dutch bioscoop
civil sivil sipil
city bandar, bandaraya big city, kota kota
club (association) kelab klub, perkumpulan infrequent
coat kot jas from Dutch jas
cockroach lipas kecoak from the Chinese Min Nan ka chuah
Cologne Cologne Köln, Koeln
Colombia Colombia Kolombia
college kolej, maktab perguruan tinggi, kolese
comment ulasan, komen komentar from Dutch commentaar
commission suruhanjaya komisi
commissioner pesuruhjaya komisaris from Dutch commissaris
committee jawatankuasa komite
commonwealth komanwel persemakmuran
Comoros Comoros Komoro
company syarikat perusahaan, firma, maskapai from Dutch maatschappij - almost exclusively used to refer to airline companies, i.e. maskapai penerbangan
concrete (building) konkrit beton from Portuguese betão or Dutch
Congo Congo Kongo
constitution of a country perlembagaan undang-undang dasar influenced by Dutch grondwet (basic law), konstitusi from Dutch constitutie
counter kaunter loket from Dutch, konter/kaunter non-standard
country negara negara, negeri in Malaysia, negeri only refers to a state within a federation
court mahkamah pengadilan, mahkamah only refers to the institution
Costa Rica Costa Rica Kosta Rika
cracker keropok kerupuk
Croatia Croatia Kroasia
Cuba Cuba Kuba
cupboard almari from Portuguese armário lemari from older term almari, which also came from Portuguese armário
current (adjective, of time) semasa saat ini, kini, terkini, aktual from Dutch actueel
current affairs hal ehwal semasa peristiwa terkini
curtain langsir, tirai tirai, gorden from Dutch gordijn
customs (authority) kastam pabean refers to the administrative institution, bea dan cukai (bea-cukai) lit. tariff-and-tax, duty
cute comel imut, menggemaskan
Cyprus Cyprus Siprus
Czech Republic Republik Czech Republik Ceko, Ceko, (Republik) Ceska substandard
dandruff kelemumur ketombe
decree dekri surat keputusan, dekrit from Dutch decreet
degree (of temperature) darjah derajat
delicious, tasty lazat, sedap, enak lezat, enak, sedap
democratic demokratik demokratis from Dutch demokratisch
note: "democratic republic" (in country names) translates as republik demokratik, such as in Republik Demokratik Kongo (Democratic Republic of the Congo)
department jabatan departemen
departure pelepasan keberangkatan
different - difference beza, berbeza - perbezaan beda, berbeda - perbedaan
diocese kawasan uskup, keuskupan keuskupan
director pengarah direktur from Dutch (and French) directeur, (of a film) sutradara from Sanskrit (through Javanese)
discount diskaun, rebat, potongan harga diskon, rabat, potongan harga, korting from Dutch, less frequent
driver pemandu sopir from French chauffeur through Dutch, pengemudi formal
driver's license (U.S.)/
driving licence (UK)
lesen memandu surat izin mengemudi (SIM)
December Disember Desember influenced by Dutch
Dutch East Indies Hindia Timur Belanda Hindia-Belanda
duty (economics) duti, cukai bea, cukai
Easter Easter Paskah from Portuguese Pascoa
editor penyunting editor, penyunting, redaktur from French rédacteur through Dutch - refers to editors of mass media, esp. newspapers, magazines, etc.
effectiveness keberkesanan keefektivan, efektivitas from Dutch effectiviteit
Eid ul-Fitr Hari Raya Aidilfitri Idulfitri - Idul Fitri substandard spelling, but common, Lebaran colloquial - from Javanese
eight lapan used as colloquial abbreviation in Indonesian delapan used in Malaysia before the spelling reform
electricity tenaga elektrik lit. electric energy listrik, kelistrikan, setrum from Dutch Stroom
emergency kecemasan darurat from Arabic - also used in Malaysia to express a state of emergency
emperor maharaja kaisar from Dutch keizer, raja, maharaja from Sanskrit
empire empayar kekaisaran, kerajaan, imperium
enamel enamel email from Dutch emaille
e-mail e-mel surel standard, shortened of surat elektronik (electronic mail), email rarely used in everyday spelling, often used on online spelling (e.g. website-based registration or social account)
engine enjin mesin also translates as machine in English
Ecuador Ecuador Ekuador
eraser getah pemadam penghapus
Europe Eropah Eropa, Europa
extinct pupus padam (of flame or light), punah (of species)
export eksport ekspor
factory kilang ('refinery' in Indonesian) pabrik from Dutch fabriek
faction (politics) puak fraksi from English through Dutch suffix fractie
federal persekutuan federal
federation persekutuan federasi from English through Dutch suffix federatie
financial kewangan keuangan, finansial from English through Dutch suffix financieel
Finland Finland Finlandia
firefighter squad bomba pemadam kebakaran lit. fire extinguisher, branwir from Dutch brandweer (fire defense)
floor, level (storey) tingkat may be used in Indonesian to express the number of storeys/levels a building has, e.g. a 5-storey building = gedung bertingkat 5 lantai also refers to floor as ground surface in both languages
football bola sepak sepak bola
free of charge percuma in Indonesian means "worthless" gratis from Dutch, cuma-cuma, cecuma
furniture perabot rumah, perkakas rumah mebel from Dutch meubelen furnitur, perabot rumah tangga
garage garaj garasi influenced by Dutch pronunciation'
garrison garrison garnisun from Dutch garnizoen
gangster samseng preman from Dutch vrijman (lit. free-man), gangster from English
general (military) jeneral jenderal from Dutch generaal
ginger halia jahe
golf club (stick) kayu golf stik golf, pemukul golf, tongkat golf
government kerajaan
derived from raja (king) - used in Malaysia and Brunei - in Indonesian means "kingdom"
derived from perintah (order/instruction) - used in Indonesia and also in Singapore, despite the fact that Malaysian is the official language
governor gabenor, Yang di-Pertua Negeri (in Malaysian states) gubernur from Dutch gouverneur
graduate siswazah, sarjana lulusan, sarjana
grandfather datuk kakek
Greece Greece of recent use, Yunani Yunani from Arabic Yūnān يُونَان
group sekumpulan, kumpulan kelompok, grup from Dutch pronunciation of groep
hammer tukul palu, martil
head office ibu pejabat "ibu" also means "mother" or "ma'am" in both languages. kantor pusat "kantor" - from Dutch kantoor (office)
headscarf, hijab tudung kerudung, jilbab though these words have different meaning
healthy sihat sehat
herb herba jamu often understood as traditional potion made from rhizomes, also means "guest" ("tamu") and "treat the guest" ("menjamu").
hospital hospital rumah sakit influenced by Dutch ziekenhuis (house of the sicks) - This term is still used in Brunei, but in Malaysia, "hospital" has replaced the term completely since the 1960s.
Hungary Hungary Hungaria, Hongaria substandard, influenced by Dutch Hongarije
I saya, aku saya, aku, gue/gua (slang, informal; from Chinese dialects "ua")
ice ais es
ice cream ais krim es krim
Iceland Iceland Islandia
illegal drugs dadah colloquial use in Indonesia means "goodbye"e. narkoba an acronym for NARKotika dan OBat-obatan terlArang (narcotics and illegal drugs),
NAPZA less frequent - an acronym for NArkotika, Psikotropika dan Zat-zat Adiktif (narcotics, psychotropics, and addictive chemical substances)
image citra, imej (of reputation), gambar (pictorial image) citra (of reputation), gambar (pictorial image)
immigration imigresen imigrasi from English through Dutch suffix immigratie
import import impor
Indian Ocean Lautan Hindi Samudra Hindia
impotence mati pucuk, impotensi, lemah syahwat impotensi from English through Dutch suffix impotentie, lemah syahwat colloquial
ink dakwat from Arabic tinta from Dutch tinte
installment (payment) ansuran angsuran, cicilan
insurance insurans asuransi from Dutch assurantie
international antarabangsa internasional, antarnegara (sometimes used: mancanegara from Javanese meaning: foreign land)
internet cafe kafe internet, kafe cyber warnet an acronym for "WARung interNET" (internet shop/cafe)
Iraq Iraq Irak
Ireland Ireland Irlandia
Italy Itali Italia the original name for the country
Japan Jepun from Chinese dialect Jepang
Jordan (country) Jordan Yordania from Dutch Jordanië
journalist wartawan wartawan, jurnalis
June Jun Juni
July Julai Juli
lane lorong lajur
lawyer peguam advokat from Dutch advocaat, pengacara
Lebanon Lubnan from Arabic Lebanon, Libanon influenced from Dutch
liabilitity liabiliti kewajiban
licence lesen izin, lisensi from English through Dutch suffix licentie
lift, elevator lif lift
Lisbon Lisbon Lisboa from Portuguese, Lisabon influenced by Dutch Lissabon
list senarai daftar
local tempatan lokal, setempat
Luxembourg Luxembourg Luksemburg influenced by Dutch/German Luxemburg
Macau Macau Makau
Macedonia, Republic of Republik Macedonia Republik Makedonia
magistrate majistret hakim from Arabic حَكِم - used in Malaysian to refer to judges, magistrat less common
Maldives Maldives Maladewa
male lelaki, laki-laki, jantan (for animals, depending on the context, it can mean masculine or used as a derogatory term on men) laki-laki, pria, lelaki, jantan (on animals, used on men to describe masculinity)
malfunction kerosakan, malfungsi, pincang tugas kerusakan, malfungsi
March (month) Mac Maret influenced by Dutch Maart
mattress tilam kasur, matras
mathematics matematik, ilmu hisab matematika, ilmu pasti
mean (verb) bererti berarti
medicine ubat obat
Mexico Mexico Meksiko
military tentera, militari militer from French militaire through Dutch militair
minibus bas mini bis mini, minibus
minute minit menit
Mrs. Puan Ibu, Nyonya (Ny.)
mobile phone, cellphone telefon bimbit handphone (HP) (colloquial), telepon selular (ponsel), telepon genggam
Monday Isnin Senin
money wang, duit uang, duit (colloquial)
Morocco Maghribi from Arabic Maroko
mortgage gadai janji hipotek from Dutch hypotheek, gadai
motorcycle motosikal motor, sepeda motor lit. "motorized bicycle" - influenced by Dutch motorfiets
Monaco Monaco Monako
Moscow Moscow Moskwa, Moskow
Mozambique Mozambique Mozambik
music muzik musik
naked bogel, telanjang telanjang, bugil (colloquial)
natural semulajadi alami, natural
navy tentera laut angkatan laut
newspaper surat khabar coined from two Arabic words: ṣūrat - صورة / صورت (form, appearance) and khabar خبر (news) koran, surat kabar (more formal - lit. news letter)
Nicosia Nicosia Nikosia
New Zealand New Zealand Selandia Baru
noisy bising, kecoh in Indonesian means "disturb" or "distract", memekak berisik, ribut, ramai, bising
noon tengah hari siang
Norway Norway Norwegia
number nombor angka, nomor - nomer substandard spelling from Dutch/German nummer
nurse jururawat perawat, suster from Dutch zuster
ocean lautan samudra
Oceania Oceania Oseania
office pejabat kantor (from Dutch kantoor)
officer pegawai, kaki tangan (a negative connotation usually means accomplice in criminal activity in Indonesian) pejabat
official (adj.) rasmi resmi (from Arabo-Persian rasmi رَسمِي)
orange (fruit) oren, limau jeruk, limau
orange (colour) jingga, oren jingga, oranye (from Dutch oranje)
order order, perintah orde (from Dutch), perintah
Pacific Ocean Lautan Pasifik, Lautan Teduh Samudra Pasifik
Palestine Palestin Palestina
papaya (buah) betik (buah) pepaya
Papua New Guinea Papua New Guinea Papua Guinea Baru, Papua Nugini
parliament parlimen parlemen (from Franco-Dutch parlement)
party (political) parti partai (most probably originating from Dutch "Partij")
passport pasport paspor
pavement, sidewalk jalan pinggir, jalur jalan untuk pejalan kaki, laluan jalan kaki, kaki lima pinggir jalan, trotoar (from Franco-Dutch trottoir)
penis zakar from Arabic ذَكَر "male"- this word is extremely vulgar in Indonesian, "buah zakar" means testicles, batang lelaki, konek (slang) alat kelamin laki-laki, kemaluan lelaki, burung (vulgar), titit (children's slang like "pee-pee"), kontol (slang, extremely vulgar)
percent peratus persen, per seratus
perfume haruman, minyak wangi parfum from Dutch, minyak wangi
Persia Parsi Persia
pharmacy farmasi apotek (from Dutch apotheek), farmasi (usually for medicine manufacturers)
photograph gambar, foto fotografi (photograph), foto (literally means photo)
pickpocket noun penyeluk saku copet (contraction of colong dompet- wallet thief), pencopet
pirate (maritime) lanun bajak laut, perompak (perompak in Malaysian, means "robber")
pipe paip pipa
platform (train) platform peron from Dutch perron
Poland Poland Polandia
police polis polisi from Dutch politie
post code poskod kode pos
Prague Prague Praha (also used in Malaysian)
prayer (Islam) solat, sembahyang salat, shalat, sholat (from Arabic, 'sh' is usually pronounced as 's'), sembahyang
prayer room (Islam) surau surau, musala, mushollah (from Arabic, 'sh' is usually pronounced as 's')
pregnant mengandung, hamil (formal, from Arabic حَامِل), berbadan dua lit. "two bodied", bunting for animals mengandung, hamil, berbadan dua, bunting (informal)
press media massa, surat khabar (see above) pers (from Dutch), media massa
Private Limited Company Sendirian Berhad
abbreviated as Sdn Bhd (suffix), "sendirian" alone means "alone"
Perseroan Terbatas
abbreviated as PT(prefix)
prostitute pelacur, perempuan sundal (vulgar) pelacur, Wanita Tuna Susila (WTS) (Sanskrit, pronounced 'way-tay-es', i.e. "moral-less women"), Pekerja Seks Komersial (PSK) (formal, pronounced 'pay-es-ka' (commercial sex workers)), perek (slang)
province wilayah (used in Indonesian to mean 'region'), daerah provinsi (from English through Dutch suffix provincie)
push, to (door) tolak (used less primarily in Indonesian to mean 'subtract', it also means 'to refuse/reject', also common meaning in Malaysian when used in arithmetics) dorong (means "to push" in Malaysian, but often used to mean "to support")
rabbit arnab (from Arabic) kelinci
rape rogol perkosa
raspberry rasberi frambus, frambosen (from Dutch framboos)
receipt resit, penerimaan kuitansi, kwitansi (from Dutch kwitantie), bon from Dutch, struk
refrigerator peti sejuk lit. cool box (rarely used in Indonesian) lemari es, lemari pendingin, kulkas (from Dutch koelkast)
religion agama, ugama (widely used before the 80s) agama
restaurant kedai makan lit. "eating shop", restoran rumah makan lit. "eating house", warung makan lit. "eating café", restoran
rob rompak (Indonesian for "to commit piracy") rampok, rampas
Rome Rom Roma
room bilik (usually used to mean "compartment" in Indonesian) kamar (from Dutch kamer), ruang (Javanese, for storage areas etc.)
roundabout (traffic) bulatan
e.g. Bulatan DBP in Kuala Lumpur
pusing keliling (in Brunei)
e.g. Bundaran HI in Jakarta
royal diraja kerajaan (in Malaysian means "kingdom" or "government")
rubber getah may also mean gum or sap or resin in both languages, also figure of speech for "cause of bad deed" karet
Sanskrit Sanskrit Sanskerta
sauce sos saus
salty masin asin
school (Islamic) sekolah pondok madrasah, pesantren, pondok pesantren
science sains ilmu (from Arabic 'ilm), sains
Scotland Scotland Skotlandia
secret rahsia rahasia
secretary setiausaha Indonesian lit. "loyal to work" sekretaris
section seksyen, bahagian seksi (from English through Dutch suffix sectie)
session sesyen, sesi sesi (from English through Dutch suffix sessie)
sewer saluran najis "najis" means dirty in both languages, saluran kumbahan selokan, parit (means 'ditch' in Malaysian), got, saluran air/pembuangan
shampoo syampu (from Anglo-Indian / Hindustani chāmpo, the imperative form of (Hindi) चाँप्ना chāmpnā 'to smear, knead the muscles, massage') sampo
shirt baju (also in Indonesian but more generally refers to clothes) kaos, kemeja (from Portuguese camisa)
shoe kasut generalized term for any footwear in Indonesian, but usually related to sandals or ancient shoes., sepatu sepatu (understood but less frequently used in Malaysia, from Portuguese sapatu)
shop kedai (Means eateries stall in Indonesia) toko
Slovakia Slovakia Slowakia
snow salji (from Arabic 'thalj) salju (from Arabic 'thalj')
solar solar, suria (from Sanskrit 'surya') surya
sodomy liwat (from Arabic) sodomi
sour masam asam, masam (obsolete, usually used in connotative expression: bermuka masam: sour faced (unsatisfied/unhappy expression))
soya beans kacang soya kacang kedelai
speak/talk berbicara, bercakap (means 'to chat' in Indonesian), bersembang, berborak berbicara, ngomong (Javanese ngoko, colloquial)
Spain Sepanyol Spanyol
spoon sudu sendok
sport sukan olahraga (means "athletics" in Sanskrit and Malaysian, lit. "to train the body")
spouse pasangan suami-isteri, kelamin colloquial, in Indonesian means "sex" or "gender" pasangan, suami-istri (husband-wife)
stadium stadium stadion, stadiun from Dutch
station stesen stasiun (formerly spelled "setasiun")
stamp setem perangko
state (within a federation) negeri negara bagian
stop (verb) berhenti berhenti, henti, stop
strawberry strawberi stroberi, arbei
stupid bodoh, bengap, tolol, bangang, bongok (slang) bodoh, dungu, tolol, goblok (slang), very demeaning in Malaysian, geblek (slang), bego (slang)
Sunday Ahad Minggu from Portuguese Domingo which means Lord's Day
sunglasses cermin mata gelap kacamata riben (from American brand of sunglasses 'Ray-Ban') [9]
suspend (hang) menggantung (it means 'hang' in Indonesian) menangguhkan (also 'adjourn' in Malaysian)
Sweden Sweden Swedia
Switzerland Switzerland Swiss
Syria Syria Suriah (from Arabic)
tapioca ubi kayu as in Indonesian, understood as the tuber cassava itself tapioka, tepung singkong
tap water air paip (piped water) air keran, air ledeng ("ledeng" also means "plumbing")
taxi teksi taksi
teacher cikgu, guru guru
teacher (religious, Islam) ustaz, ustad (ultimately from Persian اُستَاذ), ustadzah female ustad, ustadzah


team pasukan used in Indonesian to refer to troops tim
telephone telefon (formerly talipon) telepon
terrorist pengganas terroris
testicles buah zakar, testis, buah keranjut biji kemaluan, buah zakar (slang, vulgar), kanjut (slang, vulgar)
traffic jam kesesakan lalulintas, jam (slang) kemacetan
turn pusing (means 'to spin' in Indonesian, commonly used to mean dizzy as a short form of kepala pusing), belok belok, putar
television televisyen, TV televisi (from English through Dutch suffix televisie) , TV
time masa(an expression for 'at a specific long period of time' in Indonesian), waktu waktu from Arabic al-Wak'tu
tofu tauhu tahu
toilet bilik air, tandas kamar kecil, toilet, WC (pronounced 'we-se') for watercloset
towel tuala (from Portuguese toalha) handuk (from Dutch handdoek)
The Hague The Hague Den Haag (from Dutch)
Thailand Negara Thai, Siam, Thailand Thailand, Siam, Muangthai used in old scripts
ticket tiket tiket, karcis (from Dutch kaartje)
tire (U.S.)/tyre (UK) tayar ban (from Dutch "[auto]band")
train kereta api, tren kereta, kereta api
transsexual pondan, bapok (slang), transseksual transseksual, waria (polite), bencong, banci
tree pokok in Indonesian means "principal" or "core" or "staple", in Sundanese poko means authentic, e.g. authentic cuisine, pohon pohon
try cuba coba
turkey (bird) ayam belanda kalkun (from Dutch kalkoen), ayam kalkun
ugly hodoh, teruk, buruk jelek, buruk
Ukraine Ukraine Ukraina
uncle pakcik paman, oom or om (derived from Dutch, pronounced and sometimes spelt as oom)
union kesatuan (in Indonesian means "unitary") persatuan, uni, serikat
United Arab Emirates Emiriah Arab Bersatu Uni Emirat Arab
United Nations Pertubuhan Bangsa-Bangsa Bersatu Perserikatan Bangsa-Bangsa
United States of America (USA) also the United States (US) Amerika Syarikat Amerika Serikat (AS)
university universiti universitas
until sehingga, sampai hingga, sampai
Vatican City Vatican City Vatikan
vagina faraj (from Arabic, in Indonesian means vulva), pepek/pepet (slang) alat kelamin wanita, liang peranakan, vagina, farji, memek (slang, vulgar), pepek (slang, vulgar)
Venice Venice Venesia (influenced by Dutch Venetië )
very sangat, amat, sekali sangat, amat, sekali, banget (from Javanese ngoko), cetar cetar membahana also used, Kepintarannya cetar membahana He is very smart, his smartiness is awesome
vice president naib presiden wakil presiden ('wapres')
victim mangsa in Indonesian means "prey" korban
Vienna Vienna Wina (influenced by Dutch Wenen)
virgin (anak) dara, (anak) gadis, perawan perawan (formal), gadis, (anak) dara
voucher baucer voucher
want mahu mau
warden warden, penjaga penjara sipir penjara (from Dutch cipier)
Warsaw Warsaw Warsawa
website laman web situs web
weekend hujung minggu akhir pekan, akhir minggu
well (water hole) perigi sumur, perigi (rarely used)
when bila, apabila, ketika, bilamana (rarely used) kapan, bilamana, bila, ketika
window tingkap (also used in Indonesian but less common), jendela jendela (from Portuguese janela)
wire dawai, wayar kawat (e.g. copper wire), kabel (e.g. electrical wire, cable)
you anda (very formal), awak, kamu, engkau, kau Anda (everyday formal), kamu (for very familiar people only), engkau ('kau) (prose), elu/loe (very vulgar Betawi slang, influenced by Chinese dialect leu)
zoo zoo, taman haiwan (kebun binatang was also frequently used in Malaysia before the mid-1960s) kebun binatang (derived from Dutch dierentuin (animal garden)), taman margasatwa (more formal form for zoological park)

False friends[edit]

Besides vocabulary differences, there are also a number of false friends in both languages. As these words are in quite common use in either or both of the languages, misunderstandings can arise.

Word Malaysian meaning Indonesian meaning
ahli a member (of a group)
(when the word is used by itself) (from Arabo-Persian "ahli" اهلی 'belonging to a group, people, indigenous or sim.'),
expert in a field (from Arabo-Persian "'aqli" عقلی 'belonging to the intellect or mind, intellectual')
expert in a field
akta (from Latino-Dutch acta) act (= law) act (= written legal document)
awak you (casual) me / I (only used in some regions in Sumatra Island), crew (of transportation)
baja fertilizer
Malaysian: besi waja
banci census effeminate, transvestite homosexual (negative connotation)
bandar city port
bapa father (male parent) specific to 'Father' (God) in religious context (Christianity)
our Father which art in Heaven = Bapa kami yang di surga
Father in Indonesian is bapak (with an additional 'k' letter')
belanja to treat, giving something for free to shop (note: also carries this meaning in Malaysian, though in a context more akin to "spend".)
berbual to chat to tell a lie
bercinta in (the essence of) love make love, have sexual intercourse
beredar From the root word "edar" which can means; to oscillate (planets only), to leave, or to distribute distributed
biji seed seed, testicles ("balls", offensive)
bila when if, when (older version, almost obsolete)
bina to build to develop
bisa venom can/able (same as "boleh" in Malaysian), venom
bontot/buntut buttock tail ('ekor' as commonly used in Malaysian)
budak kid slave
butoh/butuh male genitals, an offensive reference need
cadangan suggestion, opinion, proposal (example: peti cadangan = suggestion box) reserve, spare (example: ban cadangan = spare tire)
comel cute, pretty (to call) someone who can not keep a secret (example: mulutnya comel= her mouth can't keep a secret)
daripada A preposition that carries 5 meanings; 1. from (to explain the origin of something) 2.than (to do comparison) 3.from (to protect from, to avoid from ) 4. from (to state the sender of something) 5. from (to state the differences) than (comparison)(example: Kamus ini lebih baik daripada yang itu= This dictionary is better than that one)
doktor doctor (paramedic); doctorate (educational title) doctorate (educational title)
In Indonesian, the equivalent for paramedic doctor is dokter
duduk to sit, a place to live on (only used informally) to sit
email electronic mail (recently changed to "emel") enamel
gampang bastard
from 'anak gampang' lit. easy child
easy (non negative meaning)
getah rubber, plant sap plant sap
hemat moral excellence frugal, pennywise, save money or something e.g. electricity, gas or water usage
jabatan department position
jawatan position department
jemput invite, pick up pick up
jeruk pickles/preserved fruits or vegetables orange (fruit)
jimat frugal, pennywise, save money or something e.g. electricity amulet (the Malaysian equivalent is azimat)
kacak handsome ber-kacak pinggang (stands with hands on your hips)
The Malaysian equivalent is bercekak-pinggang, a phrase to mean that a person is being bossy
kadar rate content, level
kakak elder sister elder sibling (either elder brother or sister)
kakitangan employee subordinate (with negative meaning)
kapan or kafan: Muslim burial shroud (kain kafan/kapan) when (kapan mau pulang?= when do you want to go home?)
karya work of art (karyawan=artists) work (karyawan= workers)
kerajaan government
(historical association, most Malay states were governed by monarchs, from Raja = King, now refers to any kind of government)
keranjang 'bola keranjang' = basketball (no other use than for basketball) basket
kereta car vehicle, carriage, cart (kereta api = train, kereta kuda = horse carriage/cart, kereta gantung = cable car)
kesal regret annoyed
khidmat service fully concentrate
koneksi 'konek' = dick (slang/vulgar) connection
konfeksi A soft solid made by incorporating a medicinal substance or substances with sugar, sirup, or honey clothing industry, any fancy or luxurious women's clothes
(Dutch: confectie. A non-standard spelling sometimes used is: "konveksi")
lucu funny funny, cute (slang)
mangsa victim prey for animal
mengacau to disturb, to stir Indonesian: mengaduk to disturb
operasi mathematic operational symbol, tactical operation mathematic operational symbol, police operation, operation/surgery (as in Dutch)
pajak to mortgage, pawn tax
paket packet packet, package (normally used for promotion purposes, as in Dutch)
pantas speedily appropriate, 'no wonder'
pantat buttock (Sabahan Malay meaning), vagina/pussy (slang/vulgar) buttock
pelan plan
(associated with architectural work, site map etc. only)
slow (perlahan in Malaysian)
penyelenggaraan maintenance management
pejabat office high-rank officer/officials
(those who hold office, Malaysian (pegawai))
pembangkang opposition rebel (noun), insurgent
pemerintah ruler government
pengajian studies mass recitation of Qur'an
penganjur organizer advocate
percuma free of charge
percuma can also mean free of charge in Indonesian, but its usage has become obsolete, replaced by cuma-cuma/gratis (taken from Dutch: gratis=free)
useless, not needed
peti sejuk refrigerator
Indonesian: kulkas, lemari es
cold coffin
piawai standard; correct
bahasa piawai = standard language
expert; skillful (on something)
pijat bugs
(software bugs i.e. Year 2000 bug and also commonly referring to the bed bugs)
Javanese pijet
pohon tree, to plea or to beg (from basic word: "mohon") tree
pokok tree essential, basic, main kebutuhan pokok = essential necessities
polis police (insurance) policy (as in Dutch)
polisi policy police (as in Dutch)
punggung buttock back
pupuk to nurture fertilizer (also means 'to nurture' in the metaphorical sense of the word)
pusing to go around a place, circular in motion, to spin/rotate
Indonesian: putar
dizzy, confused, headache
putera prince
Indonesian: Pangeran
rambut hair (for head only) hair
rayuan appeal (neutral) flattery, seduction (emotional or sexual connotation)
tambang fare mine, rope, passenger, fare
tandas toilet to explain, to finish
senang easy happy, relax
seronok good, enjoyable impolite, pornography-related gambar seronok = porn picture
sulit confidential, difficult difficult
wakil representative vice (for example, 'vice chancellor' and 'vice president'), representative

The influence of English[edit]

One of the most important aspect in differences between Indonesian and Malaysian is the degree of influence from English. Apart from being heavily influenced by the Dutch language, Indonesian language also adopted a significant number of English loan words in its vocabulary, although English didn't play significant role on the Indonesian language and in fact most of these vocabulary are of Dutch origin (note that Dutch and English shared similar Germanic origin). There have been many changes in Indonesian language as a result of its historical development. Words have been freely borrowed from English and only partly assimilated, in many cases, to the Indonesian patterns of structure.[10] By the late 1970s, English words pouring into the language, leading one commentator, writing in 1977, to refer to the "trend towards Indo-Saxonisation".[11] A great many borrowings from English sometimes fulfill no communicative need, expressing concepts adequately covered by existing words. Among the examples are: akurat instead of tepat (accurate), aliansi in the place of sekutu (alliance), eksis rather than ada (exist), kandidat as well as calon (candidate), konklusi instead of kesimpulan (conclusion) kontaminasi in the place of pencemaran (contamination), opini rather than pendapat (opinion) and opsi in the place of pilihan (option).

Some in Indonesia view this trend of excessive borrowings as "language dynamism", while some Malay[clarification needed] linguists called it mass "language pollution",[12] and lack of creativity in creating new terms.

These days a widespread use of English in the Indonesian and Malaysian twittersphere can be observed. Basolectal and mesolectal English usage couched within Malaysian, and other local language are common. Twitter has, as an example, become extremely widely used by all sections of society and the next twenty years should see a lot of language-rub from which we could expect to see more Anglicisims move into acrolectical or printed Indonesian and Malaysian.[citation needed]


The original text in Indonesian:

[13] Apabila peraturan pakta stabilitas Eropa dihormati sampai ke detailnya, rasio utang publik dibanding produk domestik bruto pada hari krisis akan berada di posisi 10 persentase poin kurang dalam zona euro, katanya.

The same text rendered in Malaysian:

Apabila peraturan pakatan kestabilan Eropah dihormati sehingga ke perinciannya, nisbah hutang awam berbanding keluaran dalam negara kasar pada hari krisis akan berada di kedudukan 10 titik peratusan kurang dalam kawasan euro, katanya.

English translation:

If the European stability pact rules had been respected in detail, the ratio of public debt to gross domestic product on the days of crisis would have been at the position 10 percentage points less in the eurozone, he said.

Table of comparison[edit]

English Indonesian Malaysian
Abortion Aborsi, also used: Pengguguran kandungan Pengguguran
Accurate Akurat, more commonly used:Tepat Tepat
Accessibility Aksesibilitas (also used: Keterjangkauan, ketercapaian) Kebolehcapaian; ketercapaian
Accountability Akuntabilitas (also used: Pertanggungjawaban) Kebertanggungjawapan, also used: Akauntabliti
Alloy Aloi Pancalogam, also used: Aloi
Administration Administrasi Pentadbiran
Apartment Apartemen (Dutch: Appartement) Pangsapuri, also used: Apartmen
Application software Aplikasi Perisian penggunaan, also used: Aplikasi
Architecture Arsitektur Seni bina
Association Asosiasi (also used: Perkumpulan, persatuan) Persatuan
Assumption Asumsi (also used: Anggapan) Andaian; Anggapan
Astronaut Astronot, also used Antariksawan Angkasawan
Athletics (sport) Atletik Olahraga
Baseband Baseband Jalur asas
Basketball Basket Bola keranjang
Board of directors Dewan Direktur (also used: Dewan direksi) Lembaga Pengarah
Binary numeral system Biner Perduaan
Business Bisnis (less commonly used: perniagaan) Perniagaan, bisnes
Capacitor Kapasitor Pemuat, also used: Kapasitor
Censor Sensor Tapisan
Career Karier Kerjaya, also used: Karier
Chaos theory (math) Teori Chaos Teori kekacauan
Cavalry Kavaleri Pasukan berkuda
Census Sensus Banci
Central bank Bank sentral Bank pusat
Civil Sipil Awam
Circuit switching Circuit switching Pensuisan litar
Circuit Sirkuit Litar
Claim Klaim Tuntutan
Clarification Klarifikasi Penjernihan
Committee Komite Jawatankuasa
Commission Komisi Suruhanjaya
Commissioner Komisaris Pesuruhjaya
Complaint Komplain (also used: Aduan) Aduan
Compiler Kompilator (also used: Penyusun) Penyusun
Confirmation Konfirmasi (also used: Pengesahan (of a document), kepastian (of a decision)) Pengesahan
Constitution Konstitusi, more commonly used: Undang-Undang Dasar Perlembagaan
Consumption Konsumsi Perbelanjaan
Corporation Korporasi Perbadanan
Corruption Korupsi Rasuah; also used: Korupsi (rare)
Conclusion Konklusi, more commonly used:Kesimpulan Kesimpulan; also used: Konklusi (rare)
Condensation Kondensasi (commonly used: Penguapan) Pemeluwapan; also used: Kondensasi
Conference Konferensi (also used: Sidang) Persidangan
Conservation Konservasi (also used: Pelestarian (of animals & plants)) Pemuliharaan; also used: Konservasi (rare)
Construction Konstruksi (commonly used: Pembangunan (of building), pembinaan (of moral)) Pembinaan
Contamination Kontaminasi, more commonly used:Pencemaran Pencemaran
Continuous function Fungsi kontinu Fungsi selanjar
Conversion Konversi Penukaran
Criminal Kriminal, more commonly used: Penjahat Jenayah
Crucial Krusial (also used: Penting, Genting) Genting
Decimal Desimal Perpuluhan
Department Departemen, also used: Jurusan (for department in University) Jabatan
Depression (psychological) Depresi Kemurungan
Detail Detil, also used:Rinci terperinci
Detection Deteksi Pengesanan
Deputy Deputi, more commonly used: Wakil Timbalan
Design Desain, also used:Rancangan Reka bentuk
Discussion Diskusi Perbincangan; also used: Diskusi
Disinfectant Disinfektan, also used:Sucihama Penyahjangkit
Efficiency Efisiensi, also used: Kemangkusan Kecekapan
Elasticity (economy) Elastisitas Keanjalan
Embargo (political science) Embargo Sekatan
Energy Energi, also used: Tenaga Tenaga
Erosion Erosi,more commonly used: Pengikisan Hakisan
Escalator Eskalator Tangga gerak
Estimation Estimasi, more commonly used: Perkiraan and Dugaan Jangkaan, Anggaran
Evaluation Evaluasi, more commonly used:Penilaian Penilaian
Evacuation Evakuasi, more commonly used: Pengungsian Pemindahan
Excess Ekses, more commonly used:Berlebihan Lebihan
Excretion Ekskresi Perkumuhan
Expose Ekspos, more commonly used:Paparan Pendedahan
Execution Eksekusi Hukuman mati
Exploration Eksplorasi, also used: Penjelajahan Penjelajahan, also used: Eksplorasi
Facility Fasilitas Kemudahan, Fasiliti
Federation Federasi Persekutuan
Fermentation Fermentasi, also used:Peragian Penapaian
Financial Ratio Rasio finansial Nisbah kewangan
Fungus Fungi (commonly has got misconception as: Jamur) Kulat, also used: Fungus
Fusion Fusi (also used: Penggabungan) Pelakuran
Global Positioning System Sistem Pemosisi Global Sistem Kedudukan Sejagat
Governor (state) Gubernur Yang Dipertua Negeri; Gabenor
Gradation Gradasi Pemeringkatan
Gross domestic product Produk domestik bruto Keluaran dalam negara kasar
Group (mathematics) Grup Kumpulan
Hexadecimal Heksadesimal Perenambelasan
Hybrid (biology) Hibrida Kacukan
Impotent Impotensi, also used: Kemandulan Kemandulan
Inductor Induktor Peraruh, also used: Induktor (rare)
Injection Injeksi, more commonly used:Suntikan Suntikan
Information Informasi (less commonly used: Maklumat) Maklumat
Instant Instan Segera
Introspection Introspeksi Kaji diri, also used: Introspeksi (rare)
Intelligent (of spying) Intelijen Risikan
International Internasional (less common: mancanegara) Antarabangsa
Intervention Intervensi, more commonly used: Campur tangan Campur tangan
Invasion Invasi (more commonly used: Penyerangan, penjajahan) Penaklukan
Investment Investasi, also used:Penanaman modal Pelaburan
Irrigation Irigasi (also used: Pengairan) Pengairan
Goal Keeper Kiper, also used: Penjaga gawang Penjaga gol/penjaga gawang
Guarantee Garansi, more commonly used:Jaminan Jaminan
Incineration Insinerasi Penunuan
Legislative Legislatif Perundangan, also used: Legislatif
Liquidity (economy) Likuiditas Kecairan
Malpractice Malapraktik Penyelewengan
Management Manajemen Pengurusan
Manager Manajer Pengurus
Manufacturing Manufaktur Pengilangan
Mass Massa, also used: Kelembaman Jisim
Matter Materi Jirim
Mediation Mediasi, more commonly used:Penengah Pengantaraan
Mental arithmetic Aritmetika cepat, also used: Mencongak Congak
Memory card Kartu memori Kad ingatan/Kad memori
Mile Mil Batu
Military Militer Militari, Ketenteraan
Navigation Navigasi Pandu arah, also used: Navigasi
Negotiation Negosiasi, more commonly used:Perundingan Perundingan
Octal Oktal Perlapanan
Option Opsi, more commonly used:Pilihan Pilihan/Opsyen (rare)
Opposition Oposisi Pembangkang
Organization Organisasi Pertubuhan, also used: Organisasi
Oscillation Osilasi, also used: Ayunan Ayunan
Oven Oven Ketuhar
Parallel port Port paralel Port selari
Patient Pasien Pesakit
Patrol Patroli (for police and military), Ronda (for civilian) Ronda
Percent Persen Peratus
Periodic table Tabel periodik, also used: Tabel Berkala Jadual berkala
Pollution Polusi, more commonly used:Pencemaran Pencemaran
Portion Porsi (can also mean sebagian (a portion of ...)) Sebahagian
Potential energy Energi potensial Tenaga keupayaan
Publication Publikasi, more commonly used:Terbitan Penerbitan
Precipitation (meteorology) Presipitasi (meteorologi) (commonly used: Curah hujan) Kerpasan
Prediction Prediksi, more commonly used:Ramalan, perkiraan Ramalan
Premature Prematur, also used: Dini Pramatang
Preposition Preposisi, also used: Kata Depan Kata sendi nama
Privatization Privatisasi Penswastaan
Producer Produsen Pengeluar
Programming Pemrograman Pengaturcaraan
Property Properti Harta
Propulsion Propulsi Perejangan
Prostitution Prostitusi, also used: Pelacuran Pelacuran
Pulse Pulsa (commonly used: Denyut) Denyut
Random-access memory (RAM) Memori akses acak Ingatan capaian rawak
Ratio Rasio, also used: Nisbah, perbandingan Nisbah
Real estate Realestat used: Properti tanah Hartanah
Recession (economy) Resesi Kemelesetan
Read-only memory (ROM) Read only memory, also used in some textbooks: Memori Hanya Baca Ingatan baca sahaja
Reclamation Reklamasi Tebus guna
Refraction Refraksi, more commonly used: Pembiasan Pembiasan
Renovation Renovasi, also used: Pembaharuan Pengubahsuaian
Reproduction Reproduksi Pembiakan
Research Riset, more commonly used:Penelitian Kajian
Retailing Ritel, also used: eceran Peruncitan
Resistor Resistor Perintang
Ring (mathematics) Ring, 'Gelanggang' is also used in some Mathematics textbook Gelanggang
Rumour Rumor, also used: Desas-desus, Kabar angin, Kabar burung Khabar angin, also used: Desas-desus
Routing Routing Penghalaan
Secretary Sekretaris Setiausaha
Sensor Sensor Penderia, Pengesan, also used: Sensor
Server (computing) Peladen Pelayan
Sexagesimal Seksagesimal Perenampuluhan
Shopping mall Mal Pusat beli-belah
Site Situs, also used: Laman Laman, Tapak
Sublimation (phase transition) Sublimasi, penyubliman Pemejalwapan
Survey Survei Tinjauan, Kaji selidik
Supervision Supervisi, more commonly used: Pengawasan Penyeliaan
Supermarket Supermarket, also used: Pasar swalayan Pasar raya
Solution Solusi, also used:Pemecahan, penyelesaian Penyelesaian; also used: Solusi (rare)
Specialist doctor Dokter spesialis Pakar perubatan, Doktor pakar
Standard Standar Piawai, also used: Standard
Tank Tank Kereta kebal
Terrorism Terorisme Pengganasan
Transportation Transportasi Pengangkutan
National Team Tim Nasional (Timnas) Pasukan Kebangsaan
Team Tim Pasukan
Tornado Tornado (commonly used: puting beliung, angin puyuh) Puting beliung
USB flash drive USB flash drive, also used: Penggerak kilat USB Pemacu kilat USB
Variable Variabel Pemboleh ubah
Verb Verba, more commonly used:Kata Kerja Kata kerja
Verification Verifikasi (also used: Pengesahan) Pengesahan
Visit Wisata Pelancongan
Viscosity Viskositas Kelikatan
Violet (color) Violet, also used: Ungu, Lembayung (rarely used) Lembayung
Volume (math) Volume Isi padu
Volleyball Bola Voli Bola tampar
Wide area network (WAN) Jaringan area luas Rangkaian kawasan luas

Convergence of vocabulary[edit]

The rift of evolution between the two languages is based more on political nuance and the history of their formation than on cultural reasons. As a result, views regarding each other's languages differ among Malaysians and Indonesians. In Malaysia, the national language is Malay; in Indonesia, it is Indonesian. Malaysians tend to assert that Malay and Indonesian are merely different varieties of the same language, while Indonesians tend to treat them as separate — albeit related — languages. The result of this attitude is that the Indonesians feel little need to synchronize their language with Malaysia and Brunei, whereas the Malaysians are keener to coordinate the evolution of the language with the Indonesians.[14] However, both parties have realized that communication benefits from mutually comprehensible and intelligible languages, which motivated efforts to synchronize the languages' development. The effort to synchronize both languages' evolution to increase their mutual intelligibility has been embarked by imposing standard rules of language. This process is headed by Pusat Bahasa[15] on the Indonesian side and Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka as its Malaysian counterpart.


The following texts are excerpts from the official translations of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in Malaysian and Indonesian, along with the original declaration in English.

  • Malaysian text sample:[16]
Maka dengan ini,
Perhimpunan Agung mengisytiharkan
PERISYTIHARAN SEJAGAT HAK ASASI MANUSIA ini sebagai suatu ukuran bersama terhadap pencapaian oleh seluruh umat manusia dan kesemua negara dengan tujuan supaya setiap individu dan setiap badan masyarakat, dengan senantiasa mengingati Perisytiharan ini, hendaklah berazam melalui pengajaran dan pendidikan bagi memajukan sanjungan terhadap seluruh hak-hak dan kebebasan ini dan secara langkah-langkah berperingkat-peringkat, di bidang negara dan antarabangsa, bagi menjaminkan pengkitirafan dan pematuhan sejagatnya yang berkesan, kedua-duanya di antara negara-negara anggota masing-masing dan rakyat wilayah-wilayah di bawah bidangkuasa mereka.
Perkara 1.
Semua manusia dilahirkan bebas dan samarata dari segi kemuliaan dan hak-hak. Mereka mempunyai pemikiran dan perasaan hati dan hendaklah bertindak di antara satu sama lain dengan semangat persaudaraan.
  • Indonesian text sample:[17]
Majelis Umum memproklamasikan
PERNYATAAN UMUM TENTANG HAK ASASI MANUSIA sebagai satu standar umum keberhasilan untuk semua bangsa dan negara, dengan tujuan agar setiap orang dan setiap badan dalam masyarakat dengan senantiasa mengingat Pernyataan ini, akan berusaha dengan jalan mengajar dan mendidik untuk menggalakkan penghargaan terhadap hak-hak dan kebebasan-kebebasan tersebut, dan dengan jalan tindakan-tindakan progresif yang bersifat nasional maupun internasional, menjamin pengakuan dan penghormatannya secara universal dan efektif, baik oleh bangsa-bangsa dari negara anggota sendiri maupun oleh bangsa-bangsa dari daerah-daerah yang berada di bawah kekuasaan hukum mereka.
Pasal 1
Semua orang dilahirkan merdeka dan mempunyai martabat dan hak yang sama. Mereka dikaruniai akal dan hati nurani dan hendaknya bergaul sesama lain dalam semangat persaudaraan.
  • The original English version of the text:[18]
Now, therefore,
the General Assembly proclaims
this UNIVERSAL DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS as a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations, to the end that every individual and every organ of society, keeping this Declaration constantly in mind, shall strive by teaching and education to promote respect for these rights and freedoms and by progressive measures, national and international, to secure their universal and effective recognition and observance, both among the peoples of Member States themselves and among the peoples of territories under their jurisdiction.
Article 1
All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.


  1. ^ Hafriza Burhanudeen, Nor Zakiah Abdul Hamid, Norsimah Mat Awal & Mohd Azlan Mis. "The Reality of Bahasa Melayu and Bahasa Indonesia in Academia" (PDF). Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Bangi, Selangor, Malaysia. The International Journal of Language Society and Culture. Retrieved 9 July 2012. 
  2. ^ Fairy Mahzan. "The Wonderful World of Subtitling". Retrieved 9 July 2012. 
  3. ^ Bahasa Melayu becomes Bahasa Malaysia again, Straits Times, June 5, 2007
  4. ^ Perambahan: A unique feature of Brunei Malay, Brunei Times, August 4, 2010
  5. ^ Spelling and Society: The Culture and Politics of Orthography Around the World, Mark Sebba, Cambridge University Press, 2007
  6. ^ The Indonesian Language: Its History and Role in Modern Society, James N. Sneddon, UNSW Press, 2003
  7. ^ Istri Djoko Disebut Beli Rumah Rp 7,1 Miliar, Kompas, 14 June 2013
  8. ^ 58 IBO berpotensi jana RM1.9b, Utusan Melayu, 6 June 2013
  9. ^ Gustaaf Kusno (2013). "Apa Bahasa Inggris ‘Jendela Nako’ dan ‘Kaca Riben’?". Retrieved 23 March 2014. 
  10. ^ Roderick Ross Macdonald (1976). Indonesian reference grammar. Georgetown, USA: Georgetown University Press. p. 2. ISBN 9780878401635. 
  11. ^ James Sneddon (2003). The Indonesian Language: Its History and Role in Modern Society. University of New South Wales Press. p. 174. ISBN 978-0868405988. 
  12. ^ "Bahasa Melayu dan Bahasa Indonesia" (PDF). Berita Harian. 2008-03-19. Retrieved 2011-02-09. 
  13. ^ Antara News - Draghi: Krisis Zona Euro Berisiko "Sistemik"
  14. ^ Who is Malay?, July 2005
  15. ^ due to several reorganization in current cabinet, the Indonesian Language Regulator is Badan Pengembangan dan Pembinaan Bahasa, Kementerian Pendidikan dan Kebudayaan, Republik Indonesia
  16. ^ From
  17. ^ From
  18. ^ From

External links[edit]