Driving in Malaysia


Do you wish to drive in Malaysia? What are the formalities to be filled in? Find out in this article.

If you have decided to move to Malaysia, whether to settle or work there, you will probably want to drive your own car or rent one so as to move freely from one place to another. But above all, you are advised to inquire about conditions related to driving in the country and make sure to have all required documents.


Foreigners holding an international driver's license are authorized to drive in Malaysia for a maximum of 90 days period. Once this period has expired, you will have to request for a Malaysian driver's license at the Road Transport Department. Note that you will be required to take part in a written examination which will determine if you are eligible to the local driver's license.

There are three categories of driver's licenses in Malaysia: the LDL, the PDL and the CDL. The LDL is issued to learners, that is, apprentices, while the PDL is issued to intermediates. In fact, you will be eligible to the PDL once you have passed the driving test. You will then be considered as a temporary driver. As regards the CDL, it will be issued after two years if you have not committed any offense.

 Good to know:

Nationals of some countries are allowed to convert their original driver's license into a Malaysia driver's license according to an agreement between the respective countries. This applies to D and B2/B (cars and motorcycles) class vehicles. You can obtain a list of these countries on the Road Transport Department's website.

Converting your driver's license

If you are eligible to an automatic conversion of your driver's license, you can call at any Road Transport Department branch. The following documents are to be produced:

  • your original national driver's license along with a copy
  • a color identity photo
  • a certified translation by your home country's embassy if your driver's license is not in English (the translation can also be performed by the Malaysia Translation Institute)
  • your original passport along with a copy
  • fees applied.

Procedures will be different if your home country does not have an agreement with Malaysia regarding the driver's license conversion. Hence, you will have to request for the conversion at the Putrajaya Road Transport Department head office or branch where you will obtain a JPJL1 form. You are required to duly fill and sign this form and gather the following documents to be produced to relevant authorities:

  • your original driver's license along with a copy
  • an English translation if it applies
  • your original passport along with a copy
  • a letter from your home country's embassy in case your driver's license has not been printed from a computer.

The request has to be submitted to the Road Transport Department's General Director who shall proceed with the approval. You will also need the following documents:

  • the duly filled and signed JPJL1 form
  • your original driver's license along with a copy
  • your original passport along with a copy
  • a color passport size identity photo
  • fees applied.

Point system

Malaysia has recently implemented the Keselamatan Jalan Raya (KEJARA) system which is none other than a penalty point system, so as to enhance road safety and punish dangerous driving and improper conduct on the roads. Hence, Malaysian driver's licenses are accompanied by 15 points which shall decrease at each offense committed. Once it reached zero, the driver's license is suspended for a defined period.

Traffic regulations

You will drive on the left in Malaysia just like on British roads.

Speed limits on highways range between 90 km/h and 110 km/h according to the region. In general, it is limited at 60 km/h on national and federal roads and at 60 km/h in city centers. During holiday periods, these are exceptionally reduced by 10 km/h on all roads.

Alcohol consumption is limited at 0.8 grams per liter so as to ensure the safety of pedestrians, passengers and other people. As the country is governed by severe Islamic laws, you are advised to be extremely cautious as you are likely to pay fines and be jailed if caught driving in a drunk state or under the influence of drugs. You driver's license can even be suspended for a minimum of one year period.

Wearing seat belts is compulsory for front passengers.

As in many countries, the use of mobile phone while driving is strictly prohibited.


Many roads are free of charge but you will also find a toll road network in Malaysia. You can travel on these roads by using the Touch-n-Go card which is a type of prepaid card. These cards can be purchased at toll terminals which can be found on toll roads, oil stations, banks, Touch-n-Go kiosks, etc.


There are three types of car insurance in Malaysia. The first insurance policy provides a minimum coverage in case of damage to the vehicle. It is less preferred by foreigners. The third party insurance provides coverage in case of injury or death, as well as repayment and legal expenses incurred in an accident case. Finally, the total loss insurance covers most of the damage and injury incurred during an accident. This formula is highly recommended to foreigners.

 Useful links:

Road Transport Department
Traffic Police
Transport Department - list of driving schools in Malaysia

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