Malaysian Sign Language


A language of Malaysia

Alternate Names
BIM, Bahasa Isyarat Malaysia

58,700 (2013 census).



Language Status

5 (Developing).


Variations found in every state, but are mutually intelligible with the possible exception of some places in Terengganu state (2015 S. Lim).

Language Use

BIM is considered a natural sign language and widely used by the Deaf communities. Since 1978, the Ministry of Education has developed KTBM (Kod Tangan Bahasa Malaysia, or Manual Coded Bahasa Malaysia) to be used in public schools. Deaf must learn KTBM, and BIM is not allowed to be used in schools. Deaf children from Deaf families, and those from hearing families who enter early intervention programs, know and use BIM at an early age. Some hearing parents send their deaf children straight to public schools, and these children generally learn KTBM in schools. However, many who have completed schooling and joined the Deaf social groups quickly adopted BIM. Used by all. Positive attitudes. Used as L2 by Penang Sign Language [psg], Selangor Sign Language [kgi].

Language Development

Literacy rate in L2: 70%–80% in Standard Malay [zsm], 30%–40% in English [eng]. Dictionary.


Unwritten documents [Zxxx].

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