Malaysia at a Glance
Driving in Malaysia123RF
Malaysia boasts some of the best roads in Asia.
Driving in Malaysia, you get to reap the benefits of the best road system in Southeast Asia. You can find more than 98,700 kilometers of roadways in this peninsular country. It is especially well-linked with its neighboring countries Thailand and Singapore.
The popularity of driving in Malaysia is immense: Many Malaysian families have more than one car. Therefore you can imagine that when you start driving in Malaysia, especially in its larger cities, you’ll be seeing a lot of clogged roads.
It is said that the style of driving in Malaysia is rather frantic, leading many drivers to succumb to road rage. It is best to avoid partaking in this: If you are involved in an accident, you as the foreigner will probably end up with the higher fine. Also try to stick to a manner of driving in Malaysia that will not lead to conflict with the police. They may think you are disrespecting them and request bribes, sadly a common practice among Malaysian law enforcement.
Driving in Malaysia: Road Infrastructure
The fact that Malaysia has some of the best roads in Southeast Asia is often attributed to it having once been a British colony. Whether this is indeed true or not, the roads are in considerably good condition and getting from one end of the peninsula to the other usually does not pose a problem.
Driving in Malaysia is not always free of charge: Apart from state or federal roads, there is also a network of toll roads. You can pay using ‘touch-n-go’ cards or cash cards, both of which can be bought at toll kiosks along the highway.
Obviously, accidents and mishaps can also happen to anyone driving in Malaysia. Should your car break down on the highway, do not fear. There are emergency phones located along the road every two kilometers.
The intense traffic congestions were met with the introduction of the Light Rail System (LRT). This was an effort to minimize the absolute need for driving in Malaysia’s large urban centers such as Kuala Lumpur. The LRT takes you to your destination swiftly, cheaply, and without much harm to the environment.
Driving in Malaysia: Rules and Regulations
You must have an international driving permit if you are planning on driving in Malaysia for up to six months. Afterwards you must apply for a Malaysian one. Licenses issued in Thailand or Singapore are valid without any restrictions for driving in Malaysia. Unfortunately, no other countries have an agreement with Malaysia that enables them to simply exchange their licenses. To find out what the license fees are, contact the Road Transport Department.
There are three types of licenses available in Malaysia. If you get a driver’s license for the first time in your life, you need to go to driving school and apply for a Learner’s Driving License (LDL). Once you have passed the exam successfully you will receive a Probationary Driving License (PDL), which after two years of no offenses can be updated to a Competent Driving License (CDL). 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.
The regulations for driving in Malaysia are due to be changed shortly, with a revision about to be implemented in May 2012. This mostly concerns changes for users of automatic transmissions. We will update our article once the changes come into effect.