The Lingo Xplorer 52 translator helps English-speaking people communicate with Malay-speaking people. For each of its languages, it contains 20,000 words and 2,000 phrases. That's generally enough to get you around, even if everyone else speaks Malay and you don't.
Malay is the national language of Malaysia. A version of it is the national language of Indonesia, and though many people say it's the same language it really isn't. That's one reason why Indonesians call their language Indonesian. The differences are greater than even those between Oxford English and Midwestern USA English.
Malay is also the official language of Brunei. Singapore has four official languages (really!), with one of those being Malay. The other three are English, Mandarin Chinese, and Tamil.
People in some other regions also speak Malay as their first language, adding another 40 million Malay speakers to the mix.
Nobody is really sure where Malay came from. What is a sure thing about Malay, however, its many dialects differ enough that communication between them is difficult at best.
If you're an American traveling to a place where people speak Malay, you might encounter some people who speak English as a second language. If going to Singapore, you certainly will. In Singapore, you are likely to find many people who speak English as their first language. Don't take it for granted that all English speakers will understand your slang and idioms. To reduce communiation problems with both Malay and English speakers, follow these tips:
Clearly annunciate your ending consonants. Midwesterners in the USA tend not to do this.
Use short words. They are easier to understand.
Speak a bit more slowly than usual. Your Malaysian counterpart can probably understand your rapid speech, but the opposite may not be true. By speaking more slowly and deliberately, you help slow the other person down so you can understand.
If you don't quite understand, ask the other person to repeat. But don't shout. The problem isn't deafness, but a difference in articulation.
Use the correct date format. In the USA, many people use a date format that is unclear to the rest of the world. Rather than say "3-9-2014," say "09 MAR 2014" or "03 SEP 2014" depending on which date you actually mean.