Moving around states in Malaysia is convenient with a vehicle, with its close proximity from states to states. If you are a foreigner in Malaysia who plans to drive in the country, it is good to understand the types of driving licenses available and the laws before converting your foreign driving license.
Types of Driving Licenses in Malaysia
There are 15 different types of classes for driving licenses and each has its specific purpose when it comes to operating the various vehicles.
Vehicles for the disabled person not more than 450kg
Motorcycles (all displacement) – more than 500cc
Motorcycles not exceeding 500 cc
Motorcycles not exceeding 250 cc
Manual transmission cars with unloaded weight not exceeding 3500 kg
Automatic transmission cars with unloaded weight not exceeding 3500 kg
Trucks (all classes)
Trucks with unloaded weight not exceeding 7500kg
Trucks with unloaded weight not exceeding 5000 kg
Tractors / Light motorized machines (wheeled) with unloaded weight not exceeding 5000 kg
Tractors / Light motorized machines (chained) with unloaded weight not exceeding 5000 kg
Tractors / Heavy motorized machines (wheeled) with unloaded weight exceeding 5000 kg
Tractors / Heavy motorized machines (chained) with unloaded weight exceeding 5000 kg
Aside from the above driving license classes, there are 5 types of driving licenses based on the driver’s level of driving experience:
Learning Driving License (LDL):
The LDL allows individual to learn to drive according to the prescribed classes such as B, B2, D and E under supervision. This license has to be renewed every 3 to 6 months and is valid for 2 years.
Probationary Driving License (PDL):
This license is given to new drivers who have passed the test and is issued by the Driving Institute. The probation period is 2 years.
Competent Driving License (CDL)
CDL is a valid driver’s license issued by Jabatan Pengankutan Jalan (JPJ, Ministry of Transport of Malaysia) to an individual after expiration of the two-years probationary period.
Vocational Driving License (VDL)
This is a special driving license for commercial vehicles such as trucks and buses issued by JPJ and LPKP.
International Driving Permit (IDP)
This license allows Malaysians to drive in different countries.
NOTE: Mobiles can only be used with a hands-free system while driving and it is essential to drive on the left lane at all times to avoid road accident!
Foreign Driving Licenses Laws in Malaysia
Upon arrival to Malaysia, you are allowed to drive around with an international driver’s license for a total period of 90 days. After the 90 days, you will be required to convert your foreign driving license into a Malaysia Driving License.
Foreigners holding driving licenses from countries with signatories to any treaty or agreement with Malaysia may apply for conversion of driving license. The license must be a full license and does not include learning license, temporary license, or probationary license.
To get a valid license, you will need to apply for an international driving license or enroll at a driving school. With effect from 31st December 2020, all foreigners can convert their driving license through the correct procedure on the JPJ website Malaysia.
Converting Your Foreign Driving License in Malaysia
There are certain requirements when it comes to foreign driving license conversion in Malaysia:
For non-Malaysian citizens, you must have a Long/Short Term Social Visit Pass, are on the MM2H programme (to link to MM2H programme article when ready), or are married to a Malaysian citizen. People on work permits (to link to work visas article when ready) and dependent passes are viewed as temporary residents and cannot convert their driving license.
Have a valid driver’s license from your home country that is equivalent to a Malaysian CDL or PDL. If your current valid driver’s license is not printed in English, you will need to present a verified translation of your driving license from the embassy of the issuing country or from the issuing authority in charge of the relevant license information.
Conversion is only for class B2 (motorcycle) and class D (car).
If your driver’s license abroad is valid for less than 2 years, you will only qualify for a PDL license; a person who has a valid license for more than 2 years will qualify for a CDL license.
License holders must present themselves at the JPJ offices to convert their licenses.
If you have fulfilled those requirements, you may proceed with the conversion following these steps:
Make your way to the main JPJ office (not a branch)
Bring along all supporting documents and upon checking the documents, the consultant will give you an appointment date and time to revisit again
Return back during appointment date and proceed submitting and checking all relevant documents before sending it for further processing in Putrajaya main office
Relevant authorities will contact you on the date to collect your driving license valid for 1 year
Renewal of driving license can be done easily at nearby branch for a small fee
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Learn Driving License (LDL) may be renewed for a period of 3 or 6 months but not beyond the aggregate of 2 years from the date of issuance. If the gap is beyond this period, the candidate must repeat all elements of training and testing for the Learner Driving License (LDL).
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