Malay Also known locally as Bahasa Melayu or Bahasa Malaysia, is an Austronesian language spoken by the Malay people who reside in the Malay peninsula, southern Thailand, the Philippines, Singapore, central eastern Sumatra, the Riau islands, and parts of the coast of Borneo. It is an official language of Malaysia, Brunei and Singapore. It is also used as a working language in East Timor. It is very similar to (and mutually intelligible with) Bahasa Indonesia, the official language of Indonesia, but differentiated in name for political reasons. The official standard for Malay, as agreed upon by Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei, is the form spoken in the Riau Islands just south of Singapore, long considered the birthplace of the Malay language.