If you are a foreign national living or working in Malaysia, you are probably familiar with the public transportation system of the country. Divided into 13 states, Malaysia is by far one of the largest Asian countries by landmass alone. As such, the government has made a concentrated effort to develop its public transport system Having one of the most efficient public transport systems of the South East Asian subcontinent, it is relatively easy to get around in Malaysia.
However, even with a public transport system as thorough as Malaysia’s, there are still many occasions where it will not suffice. At these times, one may need to rely on other means of transport such as private taxis and rideshare apps. Which, maybe very pricey in the long run. As such, you may opt to have your own private transportation. However, as a foreign national living in Malaysia, you will need to apply for an acquire an international driving license first.
The issuance of international driving licenses in Malaysia is under the jurisdiction of the JPJ Malaysia, or in English, the Road Transport Department Malaysia. This department was formed in 1946 and in addition to issuing drivers licenses, they also have the following duties:
- Issuing Malaysian license plates
- Reduce accidents on the road
- Taking regulatory action against those who cause traffic offenses
The JPJ Malaysia has an established Demerit Points System (Sistem Merit Kesalahan Jalan Raya). With this system, drivers do not face immediate penalties of cancellation of their licenses. Instead, they get points deducted, aka, “demerit points” and once they have accumulated a certain amount of points, they will have their license revoked. However, in addition to demerit points, one also may be punished with a fine or imprisonment in certain cases.
Once a driver has accumulated 20 demerit points, they will receive a punishment. Causes for demerit points are the following:
- Driving past a red light- 4 points will be added
- For the speed limit of 25km/hour- speeding by a margin of 1km and above- 2 points
- For the speed limit of 40km/hour- speeding by a margin of 25km and above- 3 points
- For any speed limit- speeding by a margin of 40km and above- 40 points
Therefore, as you can see the demerit points only apply to mild offenses. Once you have accumulated 20 points, the punishments will be as thus:
- First offence- A warning is issued.
- Second offence- Suspension of driving license for a period between 6 and 8 months.
- Third offence- Suspension of driving license for a period between 8 and 10 months.
- Fourth offence- Suspension of driving license for a period between 10 and 12 months.
- Fifth offence- License will be revoked. A new license will have to be applied for from the beginning.
To obtain an international driving license in Malaysia, you may simply convert your existing driver’s license to an international driver’s license. To do this, you may follow the process outlined below:
Process of obtaining an International Driving License in Malaysia
Prior to obtaining this license, do note your current driver’s license may be used in Malaysia for up to three months. Thus, while the process of applying for an international driver’s license takes place, you may still drive if you need it.
Step 1- convert your current driver’s license to a Malaysian Driver’s license
In order to apply for an international driver’s license in Malaysia, you will need to first convert your existing license to a Malaysian one. This can be done doing the following:
First, check if your country has a bilateral agreement with Malaysia. If so, you may apply for automatic conversion. This can be done by submitting an application form for the conversion along with some additional documents:
- Your passport
- A passport copy
- A clear copy of the pages with the entry/exit stamps in your passport
- Your current driver’s license
- A copy of the above
- One of a photograph (25mmx32mm)
- Rm 20 as an application fee
- RM 30 as a fee for an Annual Competence Driving License (CDL)
If your country does not have a bilateral agreement with Malaysia, you will require approval from the Director General first. This can be done by submitting an application to the JPJ Head Office in Putrajaya. This application will need the following documents to be attached:
- Your passport
- A clear copy of your passport
- Your current driver’s license and a clear copy of it
Once you receive the approval, you can follow the same process outlined above for the automatic conversion.
Step 2- Prepare the necessary documents for the international driver’s permit
Now that you have a Malaysian Driver’s license, you may apply for an international driver’s license. In order to apply for this, you must prepare the following documents in advance:
- Your current driver’s license (needs to have a minimum of 1 year’s validity)
- A clear copy of your driver’s license
- Your identification card from your country of origin
- A clear copy of your identification card
- 1 passport sized photograph (45mm x 35mm, with a white background)
- Completed form JPJ L1
- Proof of payment of RM 150 (note that this will be a yearly fee)
Step 3- Submitting the application
Next, you may submit the application with the necessary documents to a JPJ office close to you.
Step 4- Obtaining the license
Once you submit the application, if all goes well, you should receive your IDP (international driver’s permit) within 10 business days.
Once you receive the license, you must be aware of the road traffic laws. This is to avoid getting the demerit points and punishments outlined above. The foremost road traffic rules are as follows:
- Keep to the left when driving
- Strictly avoid using cellular devices when behind the wheel
- Seatbelts are to be worn at all times
- Respect and adhere to the speed limits
- Under no circumstances are you to drive under the influence of alcohol or other intoxicants.
Is the Malaysian driver’s license International?
Yes! Malaysian Driving License has an International Driving Permit (IDP). This is a license that allows Malaysian drivers to drive outside of their country. It is especially useful when you’re heading abroad and plan on renting a car. Only CDL holders who are 18 years and above are eligible to apply for an IDP. PDL holders are not eligible for this permit.
Where can I get an international driving license in Malaysia?
In Malaysia, only the Govt. Road Transport Authority in Malaysia gives IDP/IDL.
Which country can use a Malaysian driving license?
These countries are Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand, and the Philippines, Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Brunei.
Can foreigners get a driving license in Malaysia?
You can drive with an international driver’s license in Malaysia for up to 90 days.
Foreigners driving in Malaysia receive the CDL when they exchange the driver’s license from their home country for a Malaysian one after taking the required written test.
How much does it cost to get a driving license in Malaysia?
Just visit your nearest POS Malaysia OR JPJ branch and don’t forget to bring along your IC and existing driver’s license. It will cost you RM30 for each year. For example, should you decide on a three-year renewal, the amount will come up to RM30 X 3 = RM90.