Ahh… the working life in Malaysia, with impromptu potlucks and surprise loads of pisang goreng after lunch to munch. Being known as one of the countries with the most holidays in a year, we have quite a lot of exits when it comes to productivity.

To add into that, there are a number of Malaysian Office Habitual Lies that aren’t exactly the most desirable. Rather, it shouldn’t even be there and it’s quite toxic for the workplace.

So here are some pretty common terrible Malaysian Habits that you WILL FIND in almost any office here in Bolehland. And they really need to stop.


Pointing Fingers (art of blaming someone else for your mistake)

jobs malaysia office habits

Traffic is everyone’s favourite skate goat

So you just woke up and Si Putih is asking for food, in an attempt to feed him you drop the whole bag of cat food and your door breaks because you slammed it on your way out. Now you’re an hour late for work. If only you didn’t dream of feeding Si Putih.

Let’s be real guys we oversleep sometimes, just clock in the extra hours for doing so. While traffic may be bad, it’s ALWAYS bad unless you wake up earlier. Don’t lie and throw a scapegoat under the bus just to cover up your shortcomings. It’s not exactly nice to smell bullshit in the morning, so keep it classy.


‘Lepak’ Culture (culture of hanging around doing nothing important)

jobs malaysia office habits

Tunggu sejuk sikit baru gerak

This is one of those traits where you’re always pressured to just slack off. Need to do something and your friends don’t? Lepak lu. It seems to be a very Malaysian thing to heed the slacking first before you get any work, chore, promise, or important thingy actually done. Well don’t blame us they say, its our culture-mah!

This also happens the most during lunch time, I’m not talking about taking like 10 minutes or more to come back because you had like a thousand calories for lunch. It’s taking that extra half an hour or more to lepak and gossip about Sandra’s new relationship. It’s alright to take a bit more time for lunch (although most of the time it’s pretty strict) but 2 hours for lunch is a bit of a stretch, that can be called a meeting, which brings me to;


‘Moreh’ During Meetings (culture of food indulgence during meetings)

jobs malaysia office habits

Kak, I want the “meeting” package please.

You’ve legit got things to bring up in the next meeting at 5. You come in on time because people got to know this shit. So you bring up the issue and explain but before the discussion begins, lets chow down on some kuih lapis and douse it down with some teh tarik to loosen those lips. Let’s not forget that there’s keropok lekor and karipap’s to enjoy. Err… when was that meeting supposed to start again?


Borak-Borak (art of talking too much)

jobs malaysia office habits

Don’t you think we should have coasters for the drinks? When do you think I should ask Jake the big question?

Engaging in small talk in during work is totally fine, but after asking where is the next person going for lunch, what follows suit is usually a talk on how marriage after 30 gets harder or something like that. There is a time and place for these talks and while making conversation is great, keep it short when you’re on the clock.


‘Meng-ular’ (art of ‘snaking’ away to do something else)

jobs malaysia office habits

I should definitely get doughnuts on the way back

Your boss has given you the task of picking up a cheque from one of your clients. You pick up this quest at about 10 am, you take about 15 minutes to get this done and decide that it’s time to go into your friends office and lepak-jap, get some shopping done and even pay your taxes. You come back 2 hours after lunch, you’re asked “Why did it take so long?” Jam la boss, by the way, I’m going out for lunch because I was rushing.


Tai Chi Master (art of pushing responsibility around)

jobs malaysia office habits

How often have we called general lines only to be transferred line, after line, until we finally end up back to the receptionist? We get it, you’re not sure who to transfer it, and you THINK marketing might know. But please don’t ‘tai chi master’ your way out of the problem.

Not sure? Take their email and names down (contact number if needed) and get the right person. Better than creating awkward phone talks for other departments, it also makes everyone’s lives easier.


Squatting On The Toilet Bowl (art of avoiding yucky stuff in toilet)

jobs malaysia office habits

It’s after lunch and you had coffee and cigarettes, you rush for the toilet to drop number 2 and you find that some people like carrying out their rituals differently which includes desecrating the toilet bowl by stepping on it. You, without wanting to defile your body will have to clean after said people.

Stop squatting on the toilet bowl guys. I know some of you don’t like the contact of porcelain but please, not everyone is fond of putting their butt on a toilet bowl with shoe marks. And also, you could get really hurt if things go really wrong.


The Medical Cert Abuse (art of not coming into office)

jobs malaysia office habits

13 annual leaves and 14 MC’s a year does not equal to 27 days off a year. There’s a big difference between waking up with a painful headache and waking up with a hangover. I’m not saying that just because it’s mild you should shrug it off and work, but abusing the MC has come to a point where people are willing to buy/pay for MC’s (yes there really is a thing). It happens so often that sometimes we hear employees get fired over it.

So what other bad Malaysian habits have you observed over your years of working?



Posted by Naz

A young writer with the musical taste of an old scrooge.