For the benefit of readers from elsewhere, I tried Googling for an English translation, but in vain. Until one is found, may I offer this attempt at bringing these words of an eminent scholar, historian, poet and alim to a wider audience.
Translation of Gurindam Fasal yang Kelima, from Raja Ali Haji's Gurindam Dua Belas
look for their kindness and courtesy
Those who are happy and prosper,
waste and idleness do foreswear
If the noble you would perceive,
look you at how they behave
if it's ones with knowledge you require,
of questions and learning they never tire
As for the wise, it's easy to tell,
in this world, for the next they provide well
If the good natured are whom you seek,
when they're with company you must peek
I am not a scholar of Raja Ali Haji's works, nor am I of the literati; I will therefore defer if any of them wish to disabuse me of my literary pretensions.
If it were solely up to me, I would have translated the third verse to read:
learn you for what they strive
However, as translators must always remind themselves, "I can decide what a line should mean when I write poetry of my own."
There is a Dutch translation somewhere out there, done by Elisa Netscher, a colonial official and historian who collected, transcribed and translated Malay manuscripts. If you have it, or come across it, would you send me a copy? I would be most grateful to you.
I humbly dedicate this translation to A.A.