- the letter 'e' can be pronounced as [e] or as [ə], so [peraŋ] ('blond') and [pəraŋ] ('war') are both written as perang
- cukai ('tax') is two syllables while mulai ('begin') is three syllables, because the former is a single morpheme while the latter is mula+i
- universiti is usually pronounced with an initial [j] (because it is a borrowed word) while untuk ('for') never has an initial [j]
- borrowed words with 'g', such as alergi ('allergy') are pronounced by some people with [g] and by others with [dʒ]
One more case of indeterminate spelling in Malay derived from borrowings from English involves words like zink ('zinc'), which is usually pronounced as [ziŋ]. In other words, you would not be able to tell from the pronunciation whether the word should be written as zing or as zink.
In fact, this gives rise to a potential minimal pair in Malay: bang ('a Muslim call to prayer') and bank ('bank') are both pronounced as [baŋ].