Since I have many examples on how misunderstanding can be created because how different the 2 languages are, it's better to create a new post so that you can read them easily and learn together from my experiences.
This incident happened when I just got married for a week.
My Malaysian husband asked my help, "Dear, tutup lampu, please." - Dear, switch off the light, please.
I automatically answered him, "Tutup pakai apa?" - Close with what?
He realized that I have misunderstood him and said, "I mean, just switch off the light."
I misunderstood him because in bahasa Indonesia, tutup means 'close' and in bahasa Melayu tutup here means 'switch off'.
In bahasa Indonesia, we usually use the word 'matikan' for switch off and we say, "Tolong matikan lampu." for "Please switch off the light."
In both languages, matikan = kill, but Malay language doesn't use 'matikan' for switch off.
My husband was having a hair cut in one of Indonesian hair salon. He saw there was a heavy traffic jam on the road. He talked to the Indonesian hair dresser, "Ada banyak kereta di luar. Macet sangat. (There are so many cars (kereta in Malay language = car) out there. It's heavy traffic jam.)"
The lady hair dresser was shocked and quickly looked over her window and said, "Mana ada kereta?Itu semua mobil yang kena macet. Kereta tidak jalan di jalan raya. (Where's a train? (kereta in bahasa Indonesia = train) I see only cars that stuck in the traffic jam. A train doesn't run on the road.)"
I was sitting there listening to the conversation, burst into laughter! :D
I just had to explain to them to avoid the confusion.
My parents were in Malaysia for the first time and my husband was driving them around the city.
My mom asked my husband, "Kita mau dibawa ke mana ini?" - Where are you taking us?
My husband answered her, "Pusing-pusing saja." - Just driving around.
My mom was shocked and said, "Walah...datang jauh-jauh buat liburan kok malah mau dibuat sakit." - Walah (to express her disappointment)...we come to have a holiday not to get sick.
She has completely misinterpreted what my husband said because 'pusing' in bahasa Indonesia means headache.
I couldn't hide my laughter. When I settled down, I explained to my mom what my husband meant by saying "pusing-pusing".
Another confusion caused by the differences in our languages:
imagine this situation: an Indonesian in Kuala Lumpur was in panic to call a police and she screams around "Polisi...polisi...mana polisi? Panggil polisi! (Police...Police...where's the police? Call the police!)" and the nice Malaysians trying to help get confuse, "Polisi? Polisi untuk apa? insurans polisi kah?Insurans polisi awak hilang kah? (Policy? Policy for what?Is it your insurance policy? Are you loosing your insurance policy?)"
Wha lo! Aren't you confused? Bingung kan?
So far, these are all I could remember. If I remember more incidents I will add them in here. Keep on checking this post.
This incident happened when my husband drove my parents to show them the headquarters of his office.
My husband said,"Ini ibu pejabat tempat saya bekerja." - This is the headquarters where I work.
In Malay language: ibu pejabat means headquarter
My mum looked puzzled and asked my husband, "Ibu pejabat di tempat kamu kerja sanggulan juga gak kayak di Indonesia?" - Do the officers' wives in your office have a bun on their head too just like in Indonesia?
In Bahasa Indonesia: ibu pejabat means wives of high rank government officers, and usually, these ladies have a bun on their head.
I experienced this incident during my 1st visit to a hospital in Malaysia. I had to wait for my turn to pick up and pay the prescribed medicines. While waiting, I saw a big note on the door of the dispensary unit. It said "Dilarang masuk selain kaki tangan"- only employees are allowed to enter.
In Malay language: kaki tangan here refers to the employees of the dispensary unit.
In bahasa Indonesia we will say, "Dilarang masuk selain yang berkepentingan" or "Dilarang masuk selain pekerja farmasi"
While in bahasa Indonesia, kaki tangan means foot and hand.
I got confused for a while. I thought I really had to make sure that my head and my body did not enter the room when I collected and paid the medicines because only my foot and my hand were allowed to be in.
Luckily, my husband came to the rescue and cleared up my confusion.. :)