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Sabah Colloquial – “BAH”


May, 2017

Every place you visit, you are sure to hear or capture local people conversing in their national language or mother tongue. Our national language is Bahasa Melayu, but travel to all states, and you will realize that each state has its own usage of colloquial phrases.

It’s good to know one or two words to help you build a stronger bond with the locals while you’re here, and make you feel right at home. So let’s get started!

Most common one you can catch up on with is the use “Bah”. It’s one of the most common colloquial words used in Sabah which has tons of meaning and can be used in both Bahasa Melayu or English! Depending on the situation in hand and context, the meaning of the word varies.


Sabah Colloquial -"BAH"


As a final say that could be either yes, or no

e.g. Want to grab a coffee?

       Bah, let’s go!  or  Bah, you go la. I don’t want coffee.

To show anger or disapproval

e.g. Bah, if you want to go, you go lah bah. Why you want to wait for me? 


Bah, since yu don’t want to listen, don’t ask for my opinion!

To stress on or emphasize said statement, situation and/or object

e.g. I don’t want to go baaah… How many times do I need to tell you. 


Can we sit outside? It’s so cold bah inside… Can la bah, please.

As a conjunction

e.g. Bah, how you want to go about this situation now? 

or Bah, what time is your flight from Kota Kinabalu International Airport?

On its own (which means ‘okay’)

e.g. Let’s watch a movie tonight!


It might seem easy to use the word, but newbies tend to overuse it. But not to worry! We all learn through mistakes, so have fun with it while you visit Sabah! Planning to travel to Sabah? Check out our offer to you on Sabah Tour.

To know more how to speak “Bah” when you are in Sabah, check this video below by Adam Tambakau on “How to use Bah?” :

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