Abstract: Apparent similarities between linguistic processes involved in second-language acquisition and in the nativization of norms in non-native varieties of English have led many researchers to interpret nativization as merely the fossilization at a societal level of an interlanguage of native speaker varieties of English [e.g. Platt, John and Weber, H. (1980) English in Singapore and Malaysia—Status: Features: Functions; and Selinker, L. (1972) International Review of Applied Linguistics, 10, 209–231]. This paper presents evidence to the contrary from the output of one such process, lexical transfer, in the nativization of Malaysian English. The paper presents an historical summary from the colonial era of the sociolinguistic context of Malaysian English, focusing on the domains of English and Malay in Malaysia, and on the relative socioeconomic and political status of Malaysia's major ethnic populations. Analyzed within this context, data presented from English language newspapers and ESL textbooks demonstrate that transfer from Malay to standard Malaysian English does not result from ‘interference’ leading to fossilization. Rather, it is a creative process reflecting a high degree of bilingual proficiency in Malay and English, by which English is acculturated in a sociolinguistic context unique to Malaysia (e.g. ethnicity, identity and status.)