Bahasa Malaysia is taught in Malaysian schools – and so is English, heavily, such that students who start their elementary school education with instruction conducted, say, in the Iban language will graduate more or less fluent in Malaysian English and Bahasa Malaysia as well.
In other words, this is a society of multilinguals and code-switching.
I was surprised to see just how much English was getting spoken as part of everyday life in Kuching.
This wasn’t just for the sake of tourists (I didn’t see all that many of those), but above all as a way for the different local populations to communicate with one another.
Peninsular Malaysia is dominated by the Muslim laws and values of the Malay population; in Borneo Malaysia, Christian and various local religions play more of a role.