Driving In Malaysia

Malaysia offers a good system of road transport. However, like in many counties you may plan to drive in, it is important to be aware of the usual practice in Malaysia.

Malaysia is a beautiful country to explore. It is easy to get around on an excellent highway infrastructure where most roads are in good condition with little or no congestion - a rare phenomenon in Asia. The completion of the north-south highway now allows you to travel from Malaysia to Thailand on a first class road and even off the highway, secondary roads are generally in good condition.

Motorbikes are numerous in many areas of Malaysia, particularly in the cities and the death rate for motorcyclists is extremely high, accounting for more than half the road deaths in Malaysia. They normally ride according to a law unto their own and you are advised to exercise due caution and give them plenty of space to allow for their often unpredictable behaviour.

Below are a few other driving issues it is important to be aware of:

  • Speed cameras have recently been installed on Malaysian roads and can be hidden under bridges and near traffic lights.
  • Slow lanes are rarely used by Malaysian drivers, while they all stick to the central or fast lanes. This of course slows down movement and encourages many drivers to overtake on the inside which has become common practice.
  • Very old, slow moving trucks are still numerous in Malaysia and can be quite hazardous particularly on the fast highways. At night they are often invisible due to broken lights and often break down without emergency signs or triangles to warn you beforehand. It is also important to be aware that they move slowly and unpredictably, often not indicating, and causing accidents when fast moving traffic is circulating around them.

Driving Licenses

Most foreigners can drive in Malaysia using a valid driving license from their own country. The British High Commission recommends ‘British subjects staying in Malaysia for longer than one year obtain a Malaysian driving license or an annually renewed International Driving Permit’. Local licenses for current holders of American or British driving licenses can be obtained from the Putrajaya JPJ office (Road Transport Department, Bahagian Lesen Memandu, Aras 3, Blok D 4 Parcel D, 66620 Putrajaya. Tel: 03-8886 6400) with your driving license, passport (plus photocopy), two photos and your work permit.

Renewing a UK Driving License – these are issued by the Driver & Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA). Driving licences are usually valid until the age of 70, after which they must be sent for renewal every three years. The application form (D1) is available from the British High Commission.

Replacing a UK Driving License - If your UK driving license is lost, stolen, defaced or destroyed in Malaysia, you will need to lodge a police report. To apply for a duplicate license or a "Certificate of Entitlement to Drive", you need to submit a copy of the Police report to the DVLA, together with the application form. Alternatively, you can apply and pay by credit card by telephoning the DVLA on( 44) 1792 772 151.

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