The faux accent is consistent with Malaysian people's love for all things foreign and Western. It would not be a cliche to use the saying, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. If you're unsure what this accent sounds like, imagine a bad Michael Caine impressionist performing while under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.
Generally, the Malaysian person develops an accent when returning from abroad or perhaps after one too many episodes of an American sitcom. The former is a common occurrence which explains the plethora of international accents you might hear rolling off Malaysian tongues. Be prepared to hear the excuse "I was there for so long, it's hard to just shake it off."
The average Malaysian is not able to discern between an English, American or Australian accent but just having one will sufficiently raise their social profile. It would not be an understatement to say that Malaysian people are fascinated by accents. Even a hypnotist would be hard pressed to produce anything close to this. In fact, Malaysian people in possession of accents receive better treatment from everyone and will even seem more attractive by virtue of their speech, regardless of their shortcomings. I know you're incredulous of this but believe me, it's true.
There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to developing an accent. Little things like grammatical deficiencies, illiteracy or lack of actual foreign experience can be discounted. All that matters is that the accent sounds different and affected. No one really knows what a genuine one sounds like anyway since they're all doing the same thing. To avoid being labelled pretentious, some Malaysian people occasionally use Manglish
terms to show that they have not completely abandoned their lingua franca.
Most of the time, Malaysian people speak Manglish but there are certain occasions or incidents which prompt them to change their inflection (if they aren't retaining it permanently already). One situation which calls for it is an encounter with you, the foreigner. You may wonder why your Malaysian friend has adopted a manner of speech so uncommon and awkward and you may even be a little offended. No, they're not making fun of your dulcet tones or your delightful lilt. They're being hospitable and trying to make you feel at home, silly! Make sure you indulge in this charade and show appreciation for their efforts.
Having an accent also helps impress newly-made acquaintances, as mentioned earlier.
"Hey, you know that guy who just came back from abroad?"
"Which one? There's so many of them."
"The one who has the cute British accent."
"Yeah, you should totally date him. It's a known fact that Brits are posh and sophisticated which by virtue of his accent, means he is too. It's the theory of relativity. You can't fight science."
Malaysian people will sometimes erroneously refer to an accent as "slang". You must excuse this for it is just as common for them to confuse terminology as they confuse people with their accents. But you must remember never to imply that a Malaysian person's accent is false or fabricated. This will lead to a long argument that will leave you questioning the authenticity of your own accent.
Note: If you encounter a foreigner with a Malaysian accent, you must report it to the authorities immediately for posterity and further study. Such an incident has never been documented in history and would present academicians and anthropologists with groundbreaking research material.