Comparison of Indonesian and Standard Malay
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Comparison of Indonesian and Standard Malay

Malaysian and Indonesian are two standardised varieties of the Malay language, used in Malaysia and Indonesia, respectively. Both varieties are generally mutually intelligible, yet there are noticeable differences in spelling, grammar, pronunciation and vocabulary, as well as the predominant source of loanwords.[1][2][3] The differences can range from those mutually unintelligible with one another, to those having a closer familial resemblance. The regionalised and localised varieties of Malay can become a catalyst for intercultural conflict, especially in higher education.[4][5][6]


To non-native speakers the two varieties may seem identical, but to native speakers the differences are noticeable through both diction and accent. They affect the broadcasting industry with regard to foreign language subtitling, for example, in DVD movies and on cable TV. In order to reach a wider audience, both Indonesian and Malay subtitles are sometimes displayed in a movie, along with other language subtitles. Another example is Malaysian TV providing Malay subtitling on Indonesian sinetrons (TV dramas) aired in Malaysia,[7] and vice versa.[8]

The Malay language in Indonesia and Malaysia also differs in recognition, where in Malaysia it enjoys status as the national language (Malaysian language),[9] while in Indonesia it is considered a regional language in Malay-speaking areas such as the eastern coast of Sumatra and West Kalimantan.[10][11] The term "Malay language" (Bahasa Melayu) in Indonesia and Malaysia invites different perceptions from its respective people.[12] To Malaysians, the Malay language is generally understood as the national language of Malaysia, with Malaysian language (Bahasa Malaysia) being a precise appellation for the Malay variety used in the country.[13] Between 1986 and 2007, the term Bahasa Melayu was used instead of Bahasa Malaysia, until the latter was reinstated, in order to instill a sense of belonging among Malaysians of all races, rather than just Malays.[14][15] Therefore, there was 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".[16]

In Indonesia, however, there is a clear distinction between "Malay language" (bahasa Melayu) and "Indonesian" (bahasa Indonesia). Indonesian is the national language which serves as the unifying language of Indonesia; despite being a standardized form of Malay, it is not referred to with the term "Malay" in common parlance.[17] The term "Malay" is usually reserved for the forms of Malay indigenous to the Malay ethnic group (the national standardized language of Malaysia and the non-standard idioms of Malay people, including those used by Malay Indonesians). Thus, "Malay" is considered a regional language (bahasa daerah) in Indonesia, enjoying the same status as e.g. Javanese, Sundanese, Buginese, Balinese, Batak languages and others.[18] Moreover, to some Indonesians, the term "Malay" is more often associated with Malaysia and the Malaysian variety of Malay.[19]

In Malaysia, the terms "Indonesian Malay" and "Malaysian Malay" are sometimes used for Indonesian and Malaysian as spoken in Malaysia. In Indonesia, "Indonesian Malay" usually refers to the vernacular varieties of Malay spoken by the Malay peoples of Indonesia, that is, to Malay as a regional language in Sumatra, though it is rarely used.[20]Bahasa Malaysia and Bahasa Melayu are used interchangeably in reference to Malay in Malaysia.


Before the 20th century, Malay was written in a local modified form of the Arabic alphabet known as Jawi. During the 20th century, Malay written with Roman letters, known as Rumi, 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 past history as British and Dutch colonial possessions respectively. In Malaya, the romanisation of Malay, devised by Richard Wilkinson[21] was influenced by English, whereas in the Dutch East Indies, the system devised by C. A. Van Ophuijsen was influenced by Dutch.[22] 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 when the Republican Spelling System was used.[23]

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: Malay ch and Indonesian tj became c: hence cucu.[24] 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.[24] However, oe was retained in some proper names, such as the name of the former vice-president, Boediono or former minister Mohammad Roem. 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.

One notable difference in punctuation between the two languages is the use of different decimal marks; Indonesian, influenced by Dutch, uses the decimal comma,[25] whereas Malay, influenced by English, uses the decimal point.[26]


Pronunciation also tends to be very different, with East Malaysia, Brunei and East Indonesia pronouncing words in a form called Bahasa Baku,[27] where the words are pronounced as spelled.[28] 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 varieties of Malay.[29][30]


Vocabulary differences

Indonesian and Malaysian both differ in the forms of loanwords used as the Malay Archipelago was divided by long-lasting colonial influences between the Dutch and British as a consequence of the Anglo-Dutch Treaty of 1824: Indonesian absorbed primarily Dutch loanwords whereas Malaysian absorbed primarily English words. Pronunciation of certain loanwords in Standard Malay follows English, while in Indonesian it follows Dutch, for example Malay "televisyen" (from English: television) and Indonesian "televisi" (from Dutch: televisie); the "-syen" and "-si" also prevail in some other words, though "si-" has become more preferred in Malaysian as of late.

Malaysian has also experienced significant conservative pushback as precedent entities that existed within the British sphere made efforts to create words that would fit naturally foreign ideas of governance and thought through a Malay-oriented context. The Pakatan Belajar Mengajar Pengetahuan Bahasa in Johore headed by Abdul Rahman Andak during the 19th century was especially important in introducing neologisms like pejabat ("office", cf. Indonesian kantor from kantoor) and setiausaha ("secretary", cf. Indo sekretaris from Dutch: secretaris) into the Malay lexicon.[31] 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".

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). 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 Malay 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 Malaysian, 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


English Standard Malay (Malaysian) Indonesian
abolition pemansuhan 1. abolisi,
2. penghapusan
abortion pengguguran 1. aborsi,
2. pengguguran (of a fetus)
abroad luar negara luar negeri
accessibility 1. kebolehcapaian,
2. ketercapaian
1. keterjangkauan,
2. ketercapaian,
account (bank, bills) akaun 1. rekening (from Dutch - used in banks and hotels),
2. akun (used for all meanings of account apart from bank account)
accountability kebertanggungjawapan,
accountant akauntan akuntan
accounting perakaunan akuntansi
accurate tepat 1. tepat,
2. akurat (influenced by Dutch accuraat)
administration pentadbiran administrasi (From Dutch pronunciation of administratie)
after 1. selepas,
2. setelah
1. setelah (also used in Malay to indicate consecutive actions),
2. sesudah,
afternoon petang 1. sore,
2. petang
agent 1. ejen,
2. agen
air force tentera udara angkatan udara
airport lapangan terbang ('airfield' in Indonesian; similar to Dutch vliegveld) bandar udara (loan translation of the English term, commonly abbreviated as bandara),
lapangan terbang
Alexandria Iskandariah Alexandria, Iskandariyah
Algeria Algeria Aljazair (from Arabic: al-Jaz?'ir - ?)
Algiers Algiers Aljir (from Algerian Arabic: dzayr - ?)
alliance perikatan, persekutuan, pakatan aliansi (influenced by Dutch alliantie),
alloy pancalogam, aloi logam paduan,
logam campuran, aloi
apartment pangsapuri,
rumah pangsa,
rumah kondo (only for 'condominium')
apartemen (influenced by Dutch appartement),
rumah susun (rusun) (public housing for poor families),
application (software) perisian penggunaan, aplikasi perangkat lunak, aplikasi
architect arkitek arsitek (from pronunciation of Dutch architect)
architecture seni bina arsitektur (influenced by Dutch architectuur)
archive arkib arsip (from Dutch archief)
area kawasan daerah, area,
armed forces tentera tentara,
angkatan bersenjata
army tentera darat angkatan darat
assembly majlis,
perhimpunan (from the root verb 'himpun' meaning 'to gather/assemble')
assets aset harta,
aktiva (from Dutch activa)
association persatuan asosiasi (from Dutch associatie),
assumption andaian,


astronaut angkasawan astronaut, antariksawan
Athens Athens Athena (influenced by Dutch Athene or from native Greek Athina)
athletics (sport) olahraga ('sport' in Indonesian) atletik
auction lelong from Portuguese leilão lelang also from Portuguese leilão
August Ogos Agustus from Dutch augustus
auntie makcik (also used in Riau Malay dialect in Indonesia),
emak saudara,
ibu saudara
tante from Dutch
autobiography autobiografi autobiografi, otobiografi is a nonstandard spelling
automatic automatik (formerly otomatik) otomatis (derived from Dutch pronunciation of automatisch)
autonomy autonomi otonomi (self-governing)
awkward janggal,
kekok (of gesture)
kikuk (of gesture)


English Standard Malay (Malaysian) Indonesian
backpack beg sandang (lit. "sling bag") ransel (from Dutch), tas punggung
backstage (of a theater or studio) belakang tabir belakang layar (lit. "back screen/behind the screen"),

belakang panggung

bag beg tas (from Dutch)
baseband jalur asas pita dasar
basin (wash basin/sink) besen wastafel (from Dutch, lit. washing table)
basket (ball) keranjang bola basket
basket (general) bakul keranjang
because kerana,
bed katil matras influenced by Dutch matras,
tempat tidur,
Belgium Belgium Belgia influenced by Dutch België
Belgrade Belgrade Beograd influenced by Serbian ?
belt (of a seat) tali keledar sabuk,
ikat pinggang
bicycle basikal sepeda (influenced by French velocipede)
bill (legislation) rang undang-undang rancangan undang-undang,
billboard papan iklan baliho (supposedly from English ballyhoo (in English it means extravagant publicity or fuss))
papan iklan,
papan reklame from Dutch reclame (advertisement)
billion seribu juta, bilion miliar (from Dutch miljard), milyar (informal but frequently used)
binary perduaan biner (from Dutch binaire)
bishop biskop,
board (company) lembaga 'agency' in Indonesian dewan
border sempadan perbatasan
bonnet, hood (of a car) bonet,
kap from Dutch
boot, trunk (of a car) but bagasi
Britain Britain Britania (from Latin: Britannia)
Brussels Brussels Brussel (influenced by Dutch)
Bucharest Bucharest Bukarest
bucket; pail baldi ember from Dutch emmer
bus bas bus,
bis nonstandard, influenced by Dutch pronunciation
bus station stesen bas terminal bus ( frequently pronounced as terminal bis as it is derived from Dutch pronunciation of bus )
bus stop perhentian bas 1. pemberhentian bus,
2. halte bus from Dutch bushalte
business perniagaan,
perniagaan (less commonly used),


English Standard Malay (Malaysian) Indonesian
Cairo Kaherah from Arabic Al-Qahirah Kairo
Cambodia Kemboja Kamboja
Cameroon Cameroon Kamerun (from Dutch Kameroen)
camp kem kamp (reflects Dutch pronunciation)
campaign kempen kampanye (from Dutch campagne (a French loanword))
can (to be able) boleh,
cancer kanser,
kanker from Dutch
capacitor pemuat,
capital city ibu negara ibu kota
car kereta
(means carriage in Indonesian, commonly used as a shorthand for kereta api, which means train. Malay followed English derivation of car which was a contraction of horseless carriage)
mobil (from Dutch/mid-English automobile)
card kad kartu from Dutch kaart
career kerjaya,
Caribbean Caribbean Karibia
carrot lobak merah wortel (from Dutch), lobak merah[32]
case kes kasus,
cash wang tunai uang tunai,
cashier juruwang 1. kasir, from Dutch kassier
2. juru uang (rare)
cavalry pasukan berkuda pasukan berkuda,
cement simen semen
censor tapisan (means "filter" in Indonesian) sensor
census banci (means "transvestite" in Indonesian) sensus,
banci (virtually never used in Indonesia, listed by KBBI)
centipede lipan kelabang,
central pusat pusat,
chaos (theory) teori kekacauan teori kekacauan
chilli cili, lada ('pepper' in Indonesian, also in Malaysian[33]), cabai (used in the northern states of Malaysia) cabai,
lombok (from Javanese: lombok)
China China, Cina 1. Tionghoa (standard term for Chinese people, from Southern Min Chinese: Tiong-hôa - ),
2. Tiongkok (Republik Rakyat Tiongkok and Republik Tiongkok: official name of the People's Republic of China and Republic of China, from Southern Min Chinese: Tiong-kok - ),
3. Cina (standard, still in common use but discouraged due to racist connotations. See Shina for further information.),
4. China (nonstandard)
Christmas Krismas,
Natal from Portuguese
cinema panggung wayang bergambar (more popularly abbreviated as pawagam),
panggung wayang
1. bioskop from Dutch bioscoop,
2. sinema
circuit litar sirkuit
city bandar,
bandaraya (big city),
bandar (a coastal or port city in Indonesian)
civil awam (In Indonesian, it means "non-expert"),
claim tuntutan (means "sue" in Indonesian) klaim


clarification klarifikasi,
penjernihan (to make something, e.g. water, clear in Indonesian)
clause (legal) fasal (equivalent term in Indonesian is pasal) ayat,
club (association) kelab klub,
perkumpulan infrequent
coach (carriage) koc gerbong
coat kot jas from Dutch jas
cockroach lipas lipas,
kecoa (from Southern Min Chinese: ka-choa?h - )
coin syiling from English shilling

siling from English shilling (rare) mata wang, wang logam, duit from Dutch duit[35]

koin, mata uang, uang logam

duit from Dutch duit[36][37]

college kolej,
Cologne Cologne Köln,
Colombia Colombia Kolombia
comment ulasan,
ulasan (can also mean review, interpretation or comment),
komentar (from Dutch commentaar)
commission suruhanjaya komisi (from Dutch commissie)
commissioner pesuruhjaya komisaris (from Dutch commissaris),
committee jawatankuasa komite,
commonwealth komanwel persemakmuran
Comoros Comoros Komoro
company syarikat perusahaan,
maskapai (from Dutch maatschappij - almost exclusively used to refer to airline companies, i.e. maskapai penerbangan)
compiler penyusun penyusun,
complaint aduan aduan,
conclusion kesimpulan;
konklusi (rare)
konklusi (from Dutch conclusie)
condensation pemeluwapan,
kondensasi (from Dutch condensatie),
conference persidangan konferensi (from Dutch conferentie),
confirmation pengesahan konfirmasi,
pengesahan of a document,
kepastian of a decision
conflict pertikaian konflik,
Congo Congo Kongo
conservation (movement) pemuliharaan,
konservasi (rare)
pelestarian (of animals and plants)
constitution of a country perlembagaan undang-undang dasar (influenced by Dutch grondwet ("basic law")),
konstitusi (from Dutch constitutie)
construction pembinaan pembangunan (of building),
pembinaan (of moral),
konstruksi (from Dutch constructie)
consumption perbelanjaan konsumsi (from Dutch consumptie),
contamination pencemaran pencemaran,
continuous selanjar berkesinambungan,
conversion penukaran (means "exchange" in Indonesia) konversi (from Dutch conversie),
corporation perbadanan korporasi (from Dutch corporatie),
badan usaha,
corruption rasuah (from Arabic: Rashwah meaning 'bribe'),
korupsi (rare)
korupsi (from Dutch corruptie),
rasuah (from Arabic: Rashwah meaning 'bribe')(non-standard)
Costa Rica Costa Rica Kosta Rika
counter kaunter loket from Dutch,
country negara negara,
negeri in Malaysia, negeri usually refers to a state within a federation
court mahkamah pengadilan,
cracker keropok kerupuk
criminal jenayah penjahat,
pidana (ahli pidana is criminal law expert)
Croatia Croatia Kroasia
crucial genting krusial,
Cuba Cuba Kuba
cupboard almari (from Portuguese armário) lemari also from armário
current (adjective, of time) semasa saat ini, kini, terkini, aktual (from Dutch actueel)
current affairs hal ehwal semasa aktualitas, peristiwa terkini
curtain langsir (means train wagon arrangement in Indonesian),
tirai (used for all meanings apart from house curtain),
gorden (of a house; 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,
Cyprus Cyprus Siprus
Czech Republic Republik Czech (Republik) Ceko


English Malaysian Indonesian
dandruff kelemumur ketombe
December Disember Desember (influenced by Dutch december)
decimal perpuluhan (means tithe in Indonesian) desimal (from Dutch decimale),
persepuluhan (rare)
decree dekri surat keputusan,
dekrit (from Dutch decreet)
degree (of temperature) darjah derajat
delicious, tasty lazat,
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 ('occupation' in Indonesian) departemen,
jurusan (for department in university)
departure pelepasan keberangkatan,
depression (psychological) kemurungan (means "sadness" in Indonesian) depresi (from Dutch depressie)
deputy timbalan wakil,
timbalan (rare)
design reka bentuk desain,
kerangka bentuk,
detail terperinci detail,
detil (nonstandard),
rinci (nonstandard)
dialect loghat dialek,
detection pengesana pelacakan,
different - difference beza,
berbeza - perbezaan
berbeda - perbedaan
diocese kawasan uskup,
director pengarah direktur from Dutch (and French) directeur,
sutradara (of a film) from Sanskrit (through Javanese),
pengarah (for an event)
discount diskaun,
potongan harga
potongan harga,
korting from Dutch, less frequent
discussion perbincangan,
diskusi (from Dutch discussie)
disinfectant penyahjangkit disinfektan,
domestic dalam negara dalam negeri,
driver pemandu
means guide in Indonesian
sopir from French chauffeur through Dutch, pengemudi formal
driver's license (U.S.)
driving licence (UK)
lesen memandu surat izin mengemudi (SIM)
drugs (illegal) dadah (colloquial use in Indonesia means "goodbye") 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))
Dutch East Indies Hindia Timur Belanda Hindia-Belanda
duty (economics) duti,


English Malaysian Indonesian
e-mail e-mel surel (standard, shortened of surat elektronik (electronic mail)),
email (rarely used in everyday spelling, often used in online spelling (e.g. website-based registration or social account))
Easter Easter, Paskah strictly used for Jewish Passover Paskah from Portuguese Pascoa
Ecuador Ecuador Ekuador
editor penyunting editor,
redaktur (from French rédacteur through Dutch - refers to editors of mass printed media)
editorial (board) kakitangan editorial redaksi (from Dutch redactie),editorial
effectiveness keberkesanan keampuhan,
efektivitas (from Dutch effectiviteit)
efficiency kecekapan efisiensi,
Eid ul-Fitr Hari Raya Aidilfitri, Lebaran[38] Hari Raya Idulfitri - Idul Fitri nonstandard spelling, but common, Lebaran colloquial - from Javanese
eight lapan used as colloquial abbreviation in Indonesian delapan used in Malaysia before the spelling reform
elasticity (economy) keanjalan bingkas, elastisitas
electricity tenaga elektrik lit. electric energy listrik,
setrum (from Dutch stroom)
embargo (political) sekatan (means "obstacle" or "room which separated with partition" in Indonesian) boikot, embargo
emergency kecemasan (used for anxiety or "too anxious" (condition) in Indonesian) darurat (from Arabic - also used in Malaysia to express a state of emergency), kegawatan
emperor maharaja kaisar (from Dutch keizer),
maharaja (from Sanskrit)
empire empayar kekaisaran,
imperium (from Latin)
enamel enamel email (from Dutch emaille)
energy tenaga energi,
tenaga (for "power")
engine enjin mesin,
England negeri Inggeris Inggris
eraser getah pemadam penghapus
erosion hakisan pengikisan,
erosi (from Dutch erosie)
escalator tangga gerak tangga berjalan,
estimation jangkaan,
Ethiopia Habsyah from Arabic al-habsha (Abyssinia) Etiopia
Europe Eropah Eropa,
Europa (nonstandard)
evacuation pemindahan (means "translocation" or "relocation" in Indonesian) pengungsian,
evakuasi (from Dutch evacuatie)
evaluation penilaian penilaian,
evaluasi (from Dutch evaluatie)
evening teja sore
excess lebihan kelebihan,
excretion perkumuhan ekskresi,
pembuangan kotoran
execution (death sentence) hukuman mati eksekusi (from Dutch executie),
(peng)hukuman mati
exhaust (pipe) ekzos knalpot (from Dutch, in which it also means "muffler")
exploration penjelajahan,
export eksport ekspor
expose pendedahan paparan,
pendedahan (virtually never used in Indonesia, listed by KBBI)
extinct pupus padam (of flame or light),
punah (of species),
pupus (loss of hope)


English Malaysian Indonesian
faculty fakulti fakultas (from Latin: Facultas),
fakulteit (obsolete, from Dutch)
facility kemudahan, fasiliti kemudahan,
faction (politics) puak faksi,
fraksi from Dutch fractie
factory kilang ('refinery' in Indonesian) pabrik from Dutch fabriek
fan (fanatic) peminat penggemar, fans informal, from English; Indonesians always use the plural form
federal persekutuan federal
federation persekutuan (related to "alliance" in Indonesian) federasi from Dutch federatie,
fermentation fermentasi,
financial kewangan keuangan,
finansial from Dutch financieel
Finland Finland Finlandia
firefighter squad bomba pemadam kebakaran (lit. fire extinguisher),
branwir (from Dutch brandweer (fire defense))
flash drive pemacu kilat penggerak kilat
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, or to emphasize British floor numbering, e.g. tingkat satu means first floor (UK), second floor (US) in both languages, aras (used to emphasize American floor numbering, e.g. aras dua = tingkat satu lantai also refers to floor as ground surface in both languages, emphasizes American floor numbering, tingkat emphasizes British floor numbering, e.g. lantai dua = tingkat satu
football bola sepak sepakbola
force (physics) daya gaya
form (document) borang formulir from Dutch formulier, borang (nonstandard)
free (of charge) percuma means "worthless" in Indonesian gratis from Dutch,
cecuma (nonstandard)
fungus kulat, fungus fungi
furniture perabot rumah,
perkakas rumah (In Indonesian, perkakas means equipment)
mebel from Dutch meubelen,
perabot rumah tangga,
fusion pelakuran fusi,


English Malaysian Indonesian
gangster samseng geng,
preman from Dutch vrijman (lit. free-man),
gangster from English
garage garaj garasi influenced by Dutch pronunciation
garrison garrison garnisun from Dutch garnizoen
gear gear roda gigi influenced by Dutch tandwiel, lit. "tooth wheel"
gearbox kotak gear persneling from Dutch versnelling, girboks, transmisi
general (military) jeneral jenderal from Dutch generaal
ginger halia jahe
Global Positioning System Sistem Kedudukan Sejagat Sistem Pemosisian Global
goal keeper penjaga gol/penjaga gawang kiper,
penjaga gawang
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) - also used in Singapore, which, like Indonesia, is a republic
governor gabenor,
Yang di-Pertua Negeri (in Malaysian states)
gubernur from Dutch gouverneur
gradation pemeringkatan gradasi,
pemberian tingkat (pemeringkatan)
graduate siswazah,
grandfather datuk kakek
Greece Greece of recent use, Yunani Yunani from Arabic Y?n?n ?
gross financial kasar bruto from Dutch,
group sekumpulan, kumpulan kelompok,
grup from Dutch pronunciation of groep,
guarantee jaminan jaminan,
garansi from Dutch pronunciation of garantie


English Malaysian Indonesian
half past one pukul satu setengah (one thirty) pukul setengah dua (thirty to two)
hammer tukul palu,
martil from Portugue martelo
Handball bola baling bola tangan
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 meanings
healthy sihat sehat
herb herba jamu often understood as traditional potion made from rhizomes, also means "guest" ("tamu") and "treat the guest" ("menjamu"),
hexadecimal perenambelasan heksadesimal
hospital hospital rumah sakit influenced by Dutch ziekenhuis ("house of the sick") - 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
hybrid (biology) kacukan


English Malaysian Indonesian
I saya,
ice ais es
Iceland Iceland Islandia
image citra,
imej (of reputation), gambar (pictorial image)
citra (of reputation),
gambar (pictorial image)
imagination imaginasi, bayangan imajinasi,
immigration imigresen, imigrasi imigrasi from Dutch immigratie
import import impor
impotence mati pucuk,
lemah syahwat
impotensi from Dutch impotentie,
lemah syahwat colloquial
impotent kemandulan impotensi,
incineration penunuan insinerasi
Indian Ocean Lautan Hindi Samudra Hindia
inductor peraruh, induktor (rare) induktor
information maklumat informasi, from Dutch informatie, penerangan rare
injection (noun) suntikan suntikan,
ink dakwat from Arabic tinta from Dutch tinte,
dawat (archaic)
installment (payment) ansuran angsuran,
instant segera (means "soon" in Indonesia) seketika,
insurance insurans asuransi from Dutch assurantie
intelligence (spying) risikan (means 'secret investigation' in Indonesia) intelijen, tilik sandi
international antarabangsa internasional, mancanegara from Javanese meaning: foreign land)
internet café kafe internet,
kafe cyber
warnet a portmanteau for "warung internet" (lit. internet shop)
intervention campur tangan,
campur tangan,
introspection kaji diri,
introspeksi (rare)
mawas diri
invasion penyerangan,
penjajahan (means colonialism in Indonesian),
investment pelaburan investasi,
penanaman modal
Iraq Iraq Irak
Ireland Ireland Irlandia
irrigation pengairan irigasi,
Italy Itali Italia from Italian


English Malaysian Indonesian
(fruit) jam jem selai
Japan Jepun from Portuguese Japão Jepang,
Jepun (archaic)
Jordan (country) Jordan Yordania from Dutch Jordanië
journalist wartawan wartawan,
July Julai Juli from Dutch juli
June Jun Juni from Dutch juni


English Malaysian Indonesian
ketchup kicap (Indonesian equivalent, kecap, means soy sauce) saus tomat
lane lorong (means alley in Indonesian) lajur
lawyer peguam advokat from Dutch advocaat,
pengacara (means 'master of ceremonies' in Malay)
Lebanon Lubnan from Arabic Lebanon,
Libanon influenced by Dutch
legislative perundangan (In Indonesian, it means legislation), legislatif legislatif
liability liabiliti kewajiban
licence lesen,
ijin from Arabic idhn,
lisensi from Dutch licentie
lieutenant leftenan (influenced by British English pronunciation) letnan
lift, elevator lif lift
liquidity (economy) kecairan likuiditas
Lisbon Lisbon Lisboa from Portuguese, Lisabon influenced by Dutch Lissabon
list senarai daftar,
senarai less common
local tempatan lokal,
lorry (UK) Lori Truk (from American English: 'truck'),
prahoto from Dutch vrachtauto
Luxembourg Luxembourg Luksemburg influenced by Dutch/German Luxemburg


English Malaysian Indonesian
Macau Macau Makau
Macedonia, Republic of Republik Macedonia Republik Makedonia
magistrate majistret hakim from Arabic - used in Malaysian to refer to judges, magistrat less common
Maldives Maldives Maladewa
male lelaki,
jantan (for animals, depending on the context, it can mean masculine or used as a derogatory term on men)
jantan (on animals, used on men to describe masculinity)
malfunction kerosakan,
pincang tugas
malpractice penyelewengan (means "misappropriation" in Indonesian) malapraktik
management pengurusan manajemen,
pengurusan (rare)
manager pengurus manajer,
manufacturing pengilangan manufaktur
March (month) Mac Maret influenced by Dutch maart
mass jisim massa
mathematics matematik,
ilmu hisab
ilmu hitung,
ilmu hisab only used in Islamic text books
matter jirim materi
mattress tilam kasur,
mean (verb) bererti berarti
mediation pengantaraan (In Indonesian, it means "broking") mediasi
medicine ubat obat
memory card kad ingatan/kad memori kartu memori
mental arithmetic congak aritmetika cepat,
Mexico Mexico Meksiko
mile batu (means "stone" in Indonesian, from Sanskrit) mil
military tentera,
militer (from French militaire through Dutch militair),
minibus bas mini bis mini,
minute minit menit
mobile phone, cellphone telefon bimbit telepon seluler (ponsel),
telepon genggam
Monaco Monaco Monako
Monday Isnin Senin
money wang, duit uang,
duit (colloquial)
Morocco Maghribi from Arabic Maroko
mortgage gadai janji hipotek from Dutch hypotheek,
Moscow Moscow Moskwa, Moskow
motorcycle motosikal sepeda motor lit. "motorized bicycle" - influenced by Dutch motorfiets, motor (informal)
Mozambique Mozambique Mozambik
Mrs. Puan Ibu, Nyonya (Ny.)
music muzik musik


English Malaysian Indonesian
naked bogel, telanjang telanjang, bugil (colloquial)
natural semulajadi alami,
navigation pandu arah,
navy tentera laut angkatan laut
negotiation perundingan perundingan,
network rangkaian (means circuit in Indonesian) jaringan, jejaring
New Zealand New Zealand Selandia Baru (influenced by Dutch: Zeeland; or from Latin: Zeelandia)
newspaper surat khabar coined from two Arabic words: rat - ? / ? (form, appearance) and khabar (news) surat kabar (more formal - lit. news letter),
koran (from French courant through Dutch, Krant in modern Dutch, but Koerant in Afrikaans)
Nicosia Nicosia Nikosia
nil nil nol from Dutch nul
noisy bising,
kecoh in Indonesian means "disturb" or "distract",
bacot (colloquial, slightly offensive)
Norway Norway Norwegia
number nombor angka,
nomor (substandard spelling from Dutch/German nummer)
nurse jururawat perawat,
suster from Dutch zuster, only for female nurse


English Malaysian Indonesian
ocean lautan samudra,
lautan rarely used in formal situation
Oceania Oceania Oseania
octal perlapanan oktal
office pejabat kantor (from Dutch kantoor)
officer pegawai,
kaki tangan (a negative connotation usually means accomplice in criminal activity in Indonesian)
official (adj.) rasmi (from Arabo-Persian rasmi ) resmi (also from rasmi)
Olympic Olimpik Olimpiade
opposition pembangkang (means "defiance" in Indonesian) oposisi
option pilihan, opsyen (rare) pilihan,
orange (colour) jingga,
oranye (from Dutch oranje)
orange (fruit) oren,
order (instruction) order,
organization pertubuhan,
oscillation ayunan osilasi,
oven ketuhar oven


English Malaysian Indonesian
Pacific Ocean Lautan Pasifik,
Lautan Teduh
Samudra Pasifik
Palestine Palestin Palestina
papaya (fruit) (buah) betik (buah) pepaya
Papua New Guinea Papua New Guinea Papua Nugini
parallel selari paralel
parliament parlimen parlemen (from Franco-Dutch parlement)
party (political) parti partai (from Dutch partij)
passport pasport paspor
patient pesakit
means convict in Indonesian
patrol ronda patroli (for police and military) (from Dutch patrolie),
ronda (for civilian)
pavement, sidewalk jalan pinggir,
jalur jalan untuk pejalan kaki,
laluan jalan kaki,
kaki lima (In Indonesia, it is used in pedagang kaki lima (street vendor))
tepi jalan
trotoar (from Franco-Dutch trottoir)
penis zakar from Arabic "male"- this word is extremely vulgar in Indonesian, "buah zakar" means testicles,
batang lelaki,
konek (slang)
penis (formal), zakar from Arabic, less frequent, pelir, alat kelamin laki-laki (euphemism),
kemaluan lelaki (euphemism),
burung (vulgar),
titit (children's slang like "pee-pee"),
kontol (slang, extremely vulgar)
percent peratus persen,
perseratus (less common, usually used when compared per mille)
perfume haruman,
minyak wangi
parfum from Dutch,
minyak wangi
periodic berkala berkala,
Persia Parsi Persia
pharmacy farmasi apotek (from Dutch apotheek),
farmasi (usually for medicine manufacturers)
photograph gambar (In Indonesian, it means "picture" or "figure"),
foto (lit. photo)
physics fizik (Indonesian equivalent term, fisik, is used for term physical, e.g. aktivitas fisik [physical activity]) fisika
pickpocket noun penyeluk saku copet (portmanteau of colong dompet, "wallet thief"),
pig, swine babi
khinzir from Arabic (khin-zeer)
pipe paip pipa
pirate (maritime) lanun
bajak laut,
perompak (perompak in Malay, means "robber"),
lanun (archaic)
platform (train) platform peron from Dutch perron
Poland Poland Polandia
police polis (means "insurance policy" (polis asuransi) in Indonesian) polisi from Dutch politie
pollution pencemaran pencemaran,
portion sebahagian porsi,
sebagian (a portion of...)
post code poskod kode pos
potential keupayaan potensial,
daya berkemampuan
Prague Prague Praha (also used in Malay)
prayer (Islam) solat, sembahyang salat (standard),
sholat (from Arabic, 'sh' is usually pronounced as 's'),
prayer room (Islam) surau surau,
mushollah (from Arabic, 'sh' is usually pronounced as 's')
precipitation (meteorology) kerpasan curah hujan,
prediction ramalan prediksi,
prakiraan (not perkiraan estimation)
pregnant mengandung,
hamil (formal, from Arabic ),
berbadan dua lit. "two bodied",
bunting for animals
mengandung (formal),
hamil (colloquial),
berbadan dua (poetic),
bunting (informal)
premature pramatang prematur,
Preparation Penyediaan Persiapan
preposition kata sendi nama preposisi,
kata depan
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)
privatization penswastaan privatisasi,
producer pengeluar, penerbit,
produsen, produser (mainly refers to musical producers),
product keluaran produk (from English and Dutch product), hasil, keluaran (more specific term for outcome)
programming (computer) pengaturcaraan pemrograman
property (?) harta
propulsion perejangan propulsi,
prostitute pelacur,
perempuan sundal (vulgar)
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)
prostitution pelacuran prostitusi,
province wilayah (used in Indonesian to mean 'area'), daerah (used in Indonesian to mean 'area') provinsi (from Dutch provincie)
publication penerbitan penerbitan,
pulse denyut denyut,
push, to (door) tolak (It used as in tolak peluru (shot put) in Indonesian for this contex, used less primarily in Indonesian to mean 'subtract', it also means 'to refuse/reject', also common meaning in Malay when used in arithmetics) dorong (means "to push" in Malay, but often used to mean "to support")


English Malaysian Indonesian
queue (line) barisan (means line "formation" in Indonesian) antre, antri
rabbit arnab (from Arabic) kelinci (from Dutch konijn)
Random-Access Memory (RAM) Ingatan Capaian Rawak Memori Akses Acak
rape rogol perkosa
raspberry rasberi frambus, frambosen (from Dutch framboos)
ratio nisbah rasio,
reaction (chemical) tindak balas kimia reaksi kimia
Read-Only Memory (ROM) Ingatan Baca Sahaja Memori Hanya Baca
real estate hartanah realestat,
properti tanah
receipt resit, penerimaan kuitansi, kwitansi (substandard, from Dutch kwitantie),
bon from Dutch,
recession (economy) kemelesetan (In Indonesian, it means "mishit") resesi,
kelesuan (ekonomi)
reclamation tebus guna reklamasi
recruitment pergerakan (In Indonesian, it means "movement"),
pengambilan (In Indonesian, it means "taking")
refraction pembiasan pembiasan,
refrigerator peti sejuk lit. cool box (rarely used in Indonesian) lemari es,
lemari pendingin (lit. cooler closet),
kulkas (from Dutch koelkast)
religion agama,
ugama (widely used before the 80s)
agama, kepercayaan
renovation pengubahsuaian renovasi
reproduction pembiakan reproduksi,
pembiakan (also means "breeding")
research kajian (means research or investigation result in Indonesian) penelitian,
responsibility tanggungjawab tanggung jawab, pertanggungjawaban
resistor perintang resistor,
restaurant kedai makan lit. "eating shop",
rumah makan lit. "eating house",
warung makan lit. "eating café",
retailing peruncitan ritel,
ring (mathematics) gelanggang ring,
rob rompak (Indonesian for "to commit piracy") rampok,
Rome Rom Roma
room bilik (usually means "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
routing penghalaan penghalaan
royal diraja kerajaan (in Malaysia and Brunei 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
rumour khabar angin,
kabar angin,
kabar burung


English Malaysian Indonesian
salty masin asin,
masin (rare)
Sanskrit Sanskrit Sanskerta
sauce sos saus
sausage sosej sosis (from Dutch saucijs)
scenario senario skenario
school (Islamic) sekolah pondok madrasah,
pondok pesantren
science sains ilmu (from Arabic 'ilm) (alam), sains (especially for "natural science")
Scotland Scotland Skotlandia
secret rahsia rahasia
secretary setiausaha Indonesian lit. "loyal to work" sekretaris (from Dutch secretaris)
section seksyen,
seksi (from Dutch sectie),
sensor penderia,
server (computing) pelayan server, peladen
session sesyen,
sesi (from Dutch sessie)
sewer saluran najis "najis" means dirty in both languages,
saluran kumbahan
parit (means 'ditch' in Malay),
saluran air/pembuangan
sexagesimal perenampuluhan seksagesimal
shampoo syampu (from Anglo-Indian / Hindustani ch?mpo, the imperative form of (Hindi) ? ch?mpn? 'to smear, knead the muscles, massage') sampo
share (verb) berkongsi (In Indonesian, it means "creating trading company" or "plotting something bad") berbagi
shirt baju (also in Indonesian but more generally refers to clothes) kaos, kemeja (from Portuguese camisa, implies collared shirt)
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 sapato)
shop kedai (Means eateries stall in Indonesia) toko, warung, kedai
shopping mall pusat beli-belah mal,
pusat perbelanjaan
site (internet) tapak (means foundation (building) or footprint in Indonesia) situs
Slovakia Slovakia Slowakia
snow salji (from Arabic thalj) salju (also from thalj)
sodomy liwat (from Arabic) sodomi,
liwat (only used in Islamic text books)
solar solar, suria (from Sanskrit 'surya') surya
solution penyelesaian,
solusi (rare)
sour masam asam,
masam (poetic, usually used in connotative expressions: bermuka masam: sour faced (dissatisfied/unhappy expression))
soya beans kacang soya (kacang) kedelai
Spain Sepanyol Spanyol
speak/talk berbicara,
bercakap (means 'to chat' in Indonesian),
berbicara, ngomong (Javanese ngoko, colloquial)
specialist perubatan,
spesialis (in case of specialist doctor),
pakar in general, it means expert
spoon sudu sendok
sport sukan olahraga (means "athletics" Malay, from Sanskrit, lit. "to train the body")
spouse pasangan suami-isteri,
kelamin colloquial, in Indonesian means "sex" or "gender"
pasangan (suami-istri),
suami-istri (husband-wife)
stability kestabilan stabilitas,
stadium stadium stadion,
stadiun from Dutch
staff kakitangan (phrase "kaki tangan" means subordinate with negative image in Indonesian) staf,
personil from Dutch personeel,
stamp setem perangko
standard piawai, standard standar
starfish tapak Sulaiman bintang laut
state (within a federation) negeri negara bagian
station stesen stasiun (formerly spelled "setasiun")
steering wheel roda stereng roda setir (from Dutch stuur)
stop (verb) berhenti berhenti,
strawberry strawberi stroberi,
arbei from Dutch aardbei
stupid bodoh, bengap, tolol, bangang, bongok (slang) bodoh, dungu, tolol, goblok (slang), very demeaning in Malay, geblek (slang), bego (slang)
sublimation (phase transition) pemejalwapan sublimasi, penyubliman
Sunday Ahad Minggu (from Portuguese Domingo which means Lord's Day),
Ahad (only used in Islamic calendar)
sunglasses cermin mata gelap (In Indonesia, cermin means "mirror") kacamata hitam (lit. black glasses),
kacamata riben (from 'Ray-Ban' brand of sunglasses )
supermarket pasar raya supermarket,
pasar swalayan (lit. self-service market)
supervision penyeliaan pengawasan,
survey tinjauan (means process or result of observation in Indonesian), kaji selidik survei
suspend (hang) menggantung (means 'hang' in Indonesian) menangguhkan (also 'adjourn' in Malay)
Sweden Sweden Swedia
Switzerland Switzerland Swiss
Syria Syria Suriah (from Arabic)


English Malaysian Indonesian
table (set of facts or figures) jadual (Indonesian equivalent, jadwal, means "schedule") tabel
tank kereta kebal tank
tap water air paip (piped water) air keran (from Dutch Kraan),
air ledeng ("ledeng" also means "plumbing", from Dutch "leiding")
tapioca ubi kayu as in Indonesian, understood as the tuber cassava itself (tepung) tapioka,
tepung singkong
taxi teksi taksi
teacher cikgu, guru guru
teacher (religious, Islam) ustaz,
ustad (ultimately from Persian ?),
ustadzah female
team pasukan used in Indonesian to refer to squad (military) tim
telephone telefon (formerly talipon) telepon
television televisyen, TV televisi (from Dutch televisie) , TV
terms terma syarat (from Arabic: syar? - )
terrorist pengganas (means "rioter" in Indonesian) teroris
terrorism pengganasan terorisme
testicles buah zakar, testis, buah keranjut testis, biji kemaluan, buah zakar (slang, vulgar), kanjut (slang, vulgar)
Thailand Negara Thai, Siam, Thailand Thailand, Siam, Muangthai used in old scripts
The Hague The Hague Den Haag (from Dutch)
ticket tiket tiket, karcis (from Dutch kaartje, usually refers to small-size ticket)
time masa,
waktu from Arabic (al-Waqt),
masa (can be used for 'in a specific long period of time' in Indonesian)
tire (US)/tyre (UK) tayar ban (from Dutch [auto]band)
tofu tauhu tahu, tofu
toilet bilik air, tandas toilet, kamar kecil, WC (pronounced 'way-say') for watercloset
tornado puting beliung puting beliung, angin puyuh, tornado
toothpaste ubat gigi pasta gigi, odol
towel tuala (from Portuguese toalha) handuk (from Dutch handdoek)
traffic jam kesesakan lalulintas, jam (slang) kemacetan, macet
traffic light lampu isyarat (In Indonesian, isyarat means sign) lampu lalu-lintas
train kereta api, tren kereta (api)
pengangkutan transportasi,
perhubungan (in case of Ministry of Transportation)
transsexual pondan,
bapok (slang), transseksual
waria (polite) a shortened form of wanita-pria , bencong, banci
tree pokok in Indonesian means "principal" or "core" or "staple", in Sundanese poko means authentic, e.g. authentic cuisine, pohon pohon
trillion (1012) trilion trilyun, triliun (from Dutch pronunciation; starting with 1012, Indonesian uses the short scale)
truck (US) Lori (from British English: 'lorry') Truk,
prahoto from Dutch vrachtauto
try cuba coba
turkey (bird) ayam belanda (ayam) kalkun (from Dutch kalkoen)
turn pusing (means 'to spin' in Indonesian, commonly used to mean dizzy as a short form of kepala pusing), belok belok,


English Malaysian Indonesian
ugly hodoh, teruk, buruk jelek, buruk
Ukraine Ukraine Ukraina
uncle pakcik paman,
oom, om (derived from Dutch, pronounced and sometimes spelt oom)
union kesatuan (in Indonesian means "unitary") persatuan,
United Arab Emirates Emiriah Arab Bersatu Uni Emirat Arab
United Kingdom United Kingdom Britania Raya
United Nations Pertubuhan Bangsa-Bangsa Bersatu Perserikatan Bangsa-Bangsa
United States of America (USA)
United States (US)
Amerika Syarikat Amerika Serikat (AS)
university universiti universitas
until sehingga (means 'thus' in Indonesian),


English Malaysian Indonesian
vagina faraj (from Arabic, in Indonesian means "vulva"), pepek/pepet (slang) alat kelamin wanita, liang peranakan, vagina, farji, memek (slang, vulgar), pepek (slang, vulgar)
variable (mathematics) pemboleh ubah variabel,
Vatican City Vatican City (Kota) Vatikan
Venice Venice Venesia (influenced by Dutch Venetië)
verb kata kerja kata kerja (influenced by Dutch werkwoord, lit. "work word"),
verification pengesahan (means "validation" in Indonesian) verifikasi
very sangat, amat, sekali sangat, amat, sekali, banget (from Javanese ngoko)
vice (deputy) naib wakil,
naib (less common)
victim mangsa in Indonesian means "prey" korban
Vienna Vienna Wina (influenced by Dutch Wenen)
violet (colour) lembayung violet,
lembayung (rarely used)
virgin (anak) dara, (anak) gadis, perawan perawan (formal), gadis, (anak) dara
viscosity kelikatan viskositas,
visit lawatan, pelancongan wisata,
pelancongan, lawatan (to foreign country, an excursion),
besuk (from Dutch bezoeken) (to someone sick)
volleyball bola tampar bola voli
volume (math) isi padu volume,
voucher baucer voucer


English Malaysian Indonesian
want mahu mau,
warden warden, penjaga penjara sipir (penjara) (from Dutch cipier)
Warsaw Warsaw Warsawa
website laman web, laman sesawang situs web,
laman web
weekend hujung minggu akhir pekan,
akhir minggu
well (water hole) perigi sumur,
perigi (rarely used)
wheelchair kerusi roda kursi roda
when bila, apabila, ketika, bilamana (rarely used) kapan, bilamana, (question word)
bila, ketika
window tingkap, jendela jendela (from Portuguese janela),
tingkap (less common)
windscreen, windshield cermin kereta kaca depan (mobil)
wire dawai,
kawat (e.g. copper wire),
kabel (e.g. electrical wire, cable)


English Malaysian Indonesian
you anda (very formal), awak, kamu, engkau, kau anda (everyday formal), kamu (familiar only), engkau ('kau) (prose)
zero sifar nol from Dutch nul
zipper (fastener) zip resleting from Dutch ritssluiting
zone zon daerah,
zoo zoo,
taman haiwan (kebun binatang was also frequently used in Malaysia before the mid-1960s)
kebun binatang (derived from Dutch dierentuin, lit. "animal garden"),
taman margasatwa (more formal form for zoological park)

False friends

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
acara event
  1. event
  2. program, agenda
  3. court examination
  1. a member (of a group)
    (when the word is used by itself) (from Arabo-Persian "ahli" ? 'belonging to a group, people, indigenous or sim.'),
  2. expert in a field (from Arabo-Persian "'aqli" ? 'belonging to the intellect or mind, intellectual')
expert in a specific field
akta (from Latino-Dutch acta) act (= law) act (= written legal document)
awak you (casual) me / I (Used by speakers from Sumatra mainly Malays, people in Medan, etc.),
crew (of transportation)
baja fertilizer steel
Malay: besi waja
banci census (Indonesian: sensus) effeminate, transvestite homosexual (negative connotation)
bandar city port
bangun to develop/ wake up (from sleep) to build / wake up (from sleep)
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 Malay, though in a context more akin to "spend").
berbagi to give to share (something)
berbual to chat to tell a lie
bercinta in (the essence of) love to make love, have sexual intercourse
beredar From the root word "edar" which can means; to oscillate (planets only), to leave, or to distribute to oscillate, to distribute
berlaku happen, occur apply
biji seed seed, testicles ("balls", offensive)
bila when if, when (older version, almost obsolete)
bina to build to develop
bisa venom can/be able to (also understood but less frequently used in Malay) (same as "boleh" in Malay), venom
bontot/buntut buttock tail ('ekor' as commonly used in Malay, sometimes in Indonesia)
budak kid
Indonesian:anak or bocah
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)
detik jiffy second
doktor doctor (medical); doctorate (educational title) doctorate (educational title)
In Indonesian, the equivalent for medical doctor is dokter
duduk to sit, a place to live on (only used informally) to sit, to occupy
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
ibu negara capital city First Lady
ibu pejabat head office wife of an official
jabatan department position
jawatan position department
jemput to invite, to pick up to pick up
jeruk pickles/preserved fruits or vegetables orange (fruit)
jimat frugal, pennywise, save money or something e.g. electricity amulet (the Malay equivalent is azimat)
kacak handsome ber-kacak pinggang (stands with hands on your hips)
The Malay 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) to work (karyawan = workers)
result of work Karya seni = work of art
to create a piece of art.
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 Indonesian:sesal annoyed
khidmat service Indonesian: layanan fully concentrate
koneksi 'konek' = dick (slang/vulgar) connection
Malay: Sambungan
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")
kontrol control
  1. control
  2. examination
  3. checkup
kurun century a long (time)
lucu funny funny, cute (slang)
mangsa victim prey (for animal)
mengacau to disturb, to stir Indonesian: mengaduk to disturb
olahraga athletics (sport) sport
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
pegawai high-rank officer/officials officials
pelan plan
(associated with architectural work, site map etc. only)
slow (perlahan in Malay)
penyelenggaraan maintenance organizing
pejabat office high-rank officer/officials
(those who hold office, Malay (pegawai))
pembangkang opposition rebel (noun), insurgent
pemerintah ruler government
pengacara master of ceremonies, host
Indonesian: pembawa acara
pengajian studies
Indonesian: pelajaran
mass recitation of Qur'an, (Islamic) teaching
penganjur organizer promoter
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
perhubungan 1. connection

2. communication

1. connection

2. transportation

petang afternoon evening
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 Malay: belakang
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)
saat second jiffy
sarjana master's degree bachelor's degree
sederhana medium, normal simple, easy
senang easy happy, relax
seronok good, enjoyable in nonstandard usage: "impolite", "pornography-related"[42][43]gambar seronok = porn picture
sulit confidential, difficult difficult
tambang fare
Indonesian: tarif
mine, rope (as tali tambang)
tandas toilet to explain, to finish
wakil representative vice (for example, 'vice chancellor' and 'vice president'), representative

Same words, same meaning, but different spelling

English Standard Malay Indonesian
account akaun akun
accountability akauntabliti akuntabilitas
accountant akauntan akuntan
amateur amatur amatir
architect arkitek arsitek
armed forces tentera tentara
auction lelong lelang
autonomy autonomi otonomi
balcony balkoni balkon
bell loceng lonceng
because (grammatical conjunction) kerana karena
biome biom bioma
bridge jambatan jembatan
broken, damaged rosak rusak
business bisnes bisnis
bus bas bus
cancer (diseases) kanser kanker
case (legal) kes kasus
cement simen semen
civil sivil sipil
community komuniti komunitas
concert konsert konser
counter kaunter konter
December Disember Desember
dialect loghat logat
different beza beda
doctor (medical practitioner) doktor dokter
eight lapan delapan
Europe Eropah Eropa
export eksport ekspor
faculty fakulti fakultas
finance kewangan keuangan
garage garaj garasi
dialect loghat logat
gonorrhea gonorea gonore
immigration imigresen imigrasi
mathematics matematik matematika
magistrate majistret magistrat
meaning erti arti
medication ubat obat
minute minit menit
money wang uang
music muzik musik
namely, e.g. iaitu yaitu
news khabar kabar
newspaper surat khabar surat kabar
number nombor nomor
official (adj.) rasmi resmi
official position jawatan jabatan
parliament parlimen parlemen
party (political) parti partai
passport pasport paspor
phase fasa fase
physics fizik fisika
popular popular populer
prototype prototaip prototipe
sauce sos saus
sausage sosej sosis
scenario senario skenario
scheme skim skema
secret rahsia rahasia
snow salji salju
sputum kahak dahak
station stesen stasiun
taxi teksi taksi
tempo tempoh tempo
thin nipis tipis
Thursday Khamis Kamis
truck, lorry trak truk
university universiti universitas
want mahu mau
zone zon zona


Word Malaysian syllabification Indonesian syllabification
Starting Mu la i Mu lai
Weather Cua ca Cu a ca

Influence from English

One of the most important aspect in differences between Malaysian and Indonesian 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 loanwords in its vocabulary, although English did not play significant role on the Indonesian language and in fact most of these vocabulary are of Dutch origin - Dutch and English share a similar Germanic origin, and Dutch has also borrowed from Latin, although to a lesser extent than English. There have been many changes in Indonesian 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.[44]

By the late 1970s, English words began pouring into the language, leading one commentator, writing in 1977, to refer to the "trend towards Indo-Saxonization",[45] known in Indonesian as pengindosaksonan. Many loanwords 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 wujud (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). Contrary to its Indonesian counterpart, Malay has shown a remarkable resilience, despite formerly being part of British Empire.[46] However, these pengindosaksonan is not directly borrowed from English, but through their (possible) cognates in Dutch pronunciations as Pedoman Umum Pembentukan Istilah is heavily influenced by Dutch pronunciation.

Some in Indonesia view this trend of excessive borrowings as "language dynamism", while some Malaysian[clarification needed]linguists called it mass "language pollution",[47] and lack of creativity in creating new terms.


The original text in Indonesian:

[48]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 secara terperinci, nisbah hutang awam berbanding keluaran dalam negara kasar pada zaman krisis akan berada di kedudukan 10 mata peratusan kurang dalam zon euro, kata beliau.

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.

Convergence of vocabulary

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 amongst Malaysians and Indonesians. In Malaysia, the national language is Malaysian; in Indonesia, it is Indonesian. Malaysians tend to assert that Malaysian and Indonesian are merely different varieties of the same language, while Indonesians tend to treat them as separate - albeit closely related - languages. The result of this attitude is that the Indonesians feel little need to synchronize their language with Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei, whereas the Malaysians are keener to coordinate the evolution of the language with the Indonesians.[49] 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[50] on the Indonesian side and Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka as its Malaysian counterpart. Authorities in both Brunei and Singapore generally abide by the Malaysian standard in disputes.


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

  • Indonesian text sample:[51]
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-hak yang sama. Mereka dikaruniai akal dan hati nurani dan hendaknya bergaul sesama lain dalam semangat persaudaraan.
  • Malay text sample:[52]
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 sentiasa 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 bidang kuasa 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.
  • The original English version of the text:[53]
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.


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  32. ^
  33. ^
  34. ^
  35. ^ Sources: various Malaysian coin internet collectors forums
  36. ^ Sources: various Indonesian coin internet collectors forums
  37. ^ keping means: "piece". It was a small copper coin, but the writer of this line did not see that "keping" means every coin
  38. ^ Siti Nurhaliza song name : "Sesuci Lebaran"
  39. ^ RIS constitution: "persekutuan"
  40. ^ jahe, jahi, halia:
  41. ^ Source: Kenny Ong from Melaka Told me: "Najib Razak adalah BAJAK terbesar di Malaysia" meaning: Najib Razak "is the greatest pirate in Malaysia", the source that I learned what Bajak is...
  42. ^ Balai Bahasa Jawa Tengah
  43. ^ Hasil Pencarian - KBBI Daring
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  48. ^ Antara News - Draghi: Krisis Zona Euro Berisiko "Sistemik"
  49. ^ Who is Malay?, July 2005
  50. ^ due to several reorganization in current cabinet, the Indonesian Language Regulator is Badan Pengembangan dan Pembinaan Bahasa Archived 6 May 2012 at the Wayback Machine, Kementerian Pendidikan dan Kebudayaan, Republik Indonesia
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  53. ^ "Universal Declaration of Human Rights: English". OHCHR.

External links

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