Malaysia at a Glance
Driving in Malaysia
Driving in Malaysia, you get to reap the benefits of the best road system in Southeast Asia. You can find more than 144,000 kilometers of roadways in this peninsular country. It is especially well-linked with its neighboring countries Thailand and Singapore.
The popularity of cars in Malaysia is immense: Many Malaysian families have more than one car. Therefore it is no surprise to see a lot of clogged roads, especially in larger cities.
It is said that the driving style 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 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.
Congestion on Malaysia’s Roads
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 (a type of cash card), that is available to purchase at toll kiosks along the highway, petrol stations, and touch-n-go hubs.
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 License: Go Your Own Way
You can drive with an international driver’s license in Malaysia for up to 90 days. Afterwards you must apply for a Malaysian license. Drivers from certain countries, such as Germany, Australia and Singapore, are able to apply to convert their licenses for class D car licenses. Check with the Road Transport Department to see if you are eligible.
There are three types of licenses available in Malaysia. If you are getting 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 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.
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