Driving in Malaysia?

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Expat Drivers in Malaysia: Admin Issues

Driving in Malaysia enjoys an excellent reputation, mainly because of the nation’s exceptional road system. Expats who plan on driving in Malaysia should, however, still go prepared: Customs duties for imported cars and the DUI regulations are no joking matter. Our guide offers comprehensive info.

KEJARA: Don’t Lose Your Points

Licenses in Malaysia go by a 15 point demerit point system called KEJARA (Keselamatan Jalan Raya Road Safety). This means that each offense committed is worth a certain number of points that get deducted from your initial 15 points. Once you reach zero, your license will be suspended for a specific period of time. This system has recently been implemented in order to take action against traffic offenders and to reduce the amount of accidents that occur on Malaysian roads.

In order to avoid losing any points, be sure to follow the following basic traffic rules and speed limits:

  • Malaysians drive on the left-hand side of the road, as in the UK.
  • The legal limit for blood alcohol is 0.8%. As Malaysia is governed under Islamic law, the penalties for being convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs are severe. You have to pay a high fine, and may end up in jail for up to six months; twelve months upon a second conviction. In both cases, you lose your license for at least 12 months.
  • Front seat passengers must wear seatbelts; child seats are optional, but recommended.
  • It is prohibited to use a hand-held cell phone while driving.

Watch Your Speed

  • 90 - 110 km/h on expressways
  • 90 km/h on state or federal roads
  • 60 km/h in urban centres

The speed limits are reduced by 10 km/h during the festive seasons. Speeding is a problem in Malaysia anyway, and you should take special care to avoid getting caught speeding or being involved in an accident. Always keep your eyes open!

Expensive Import Duties

Be aware that if you plan on importing your car to Malaysia, it will be incredibly expensive. Import duties for non-Malaysian manufactured cars can be as high as 300% of the CIF (cost, insurance and freight). If money does not pose a problem, you have to apply for an approval permit from the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI).

You need to bring your car documents (title, original receipt of purchase, copy of insurance from previous country), your passport and a copy, and the application form to the MITI. Once all this information has been provided and you’ve been successfully interviewed by the MITI, you have to pay the import duty that your car is charged with and then pick up your car at the port. If your vehicle is more than six years old, it may be subject to a technical inspection.

Insuring Your Car

There are three types of motor insurance in Malaysia: Act Only, Third Party, and Comprehensive. Act Only insurance is the minimum coverage a driver can get for his or her vehicle. This policy is rarely purchased, especially not by expats, as it does not cover a whole lot, euphemistically speaking. Third Party insurance covers injury and death of third parties as well as protection against other legal liabilities and some legal costs. Comprehensive, as its name suggests, covers most, but not all types of damage or injury incurred. It is highly recommended that foreigners invest in this policy.


We do our best to keep this article up to date. However, we cannot guarantee that the information provided is always current or complete. 

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