Business Practices in Malaysia

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The Fundamental Principles of Business Culture
The principles people appreciate in business are: having a sense of consensus, courtesy, friendly relations, mutual trust and respect for codes.
First Contact
Whether it is with the public or private sector, it is always better to accompany your request for a meeting with information about your company, the aim and duration of the meeting. In the same way, it is preferable to confirm the meeting the day before. Finally, do not hesitate to invite your client out.
Shake hands politely. Do not hold out your left hand.
How to Present Yourself
Whatever the ethnic origin of your Malysian contact, you must pay particular attention to titles (Dr., Prof., ...), especially if the person has a prestigious local title such as Datuk, Tan Sri or Tun. In addition, if you are with a Muslim who has made the pilgrimage to Mecca, he is entitled to the name Haji. Finally, members of the families reigning in the Malysian States have the title of Tunku.
Business Relations
Personal relations take up a large part of business in Malaysia. Therefore it is important to develop them, often over a meal.
Malaysians appreciate gifts but they are not necessary for a first meeting. The choice of gift depends on the ethnic group and the religion of your contact: no alcohol or pigskin items for a Muslim, while a Chinese businessman will enjoy a good brandy or a bottle of wine. Note that civil servants are obliged to hand over to the State gifts whose value is over 500 MYR (132 USD).
Business Communication
You must know how to be patient. Malaysians need to feel reassured when they buy and therefore you must persevere in your approach strategy and return to the attack several times to prepare a deal. You can discuss prices from the beginning and negotiation is very important. This implies being flexible about the price and avoiding adopting too rigid an attitiude. It is advisable to impose the sales price on the final consumer, which allows you to avoid an "over margin" for the importer and to optimize sales volumes.
Dress Code
Reasonable, restrained dress is recommended. If you are not wearing a jacket, you should wear a long-sleeved shirt.
Visiting Cards
Visiting cards are essential and must be written in English. When your contact is Chinese, it is polite to hold out your card and take his one with both hands.

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