Reasons you need a driving license in Malaysia; you’re an eager 17 year old wanting to independently drive yourself, or you’re an expat or international student staying in Malaysia long term or you want to start driving for e-hailing companies like Grab. Before you signup with a driving school, this article will help you understand how to get a driving licence in Malaysia, the types of driving licenses and the various fees that are involved.
The different types of driving licences in Malaysia
There are five different types of driving licences in Malaysia including:
1. Learner’s Driving Licence (LDL) also known as the ‘L’ plate drivers
This is the very first licence you will receive once you register with a driving school. LDL holders are only permitted to drive a car which has the ‘L’ plate displayed and the driver must be accompanied by a driving instructor.
LDL can be issued and renewed for a period of 3 to 6 months, up to a maximum period of 2 years from the date the license is issued. Once it has expired, LDL holders will need to restart the entire driving lesson process in order to obtain a renewed LDL. It’s therefore best to ensure that you complete your lessons before the 2 years are up.
2. Probationary Driving Licence (PDL) also known as the ‘P’ plate drivers
Once you have passed all the driving lessons and examinations, and have been certified as a qualified driver by Jabatan Pengangkutan Jalan or Road Transport Department of Malaysia (JPJ), you will be issued with a PDL.
As a new driver, you will be subject to the 10-point KEJARA demerit point system where points will be deducted according to the various types of traffic offences. If you accumulate 10 points within the 2 years of a ‘P’ plate driver, your licence will be revoked. As a new driver, you are required to display the ‘P’ plate at the front and the back of your vehicle.
3. Competent Driving Licence (CDL)
This is the full-fledged driving licence that you can obtain after the 2-year Probationary Driving Licence period is over. As a CDL driver, you will be subject to the 15-point KEJARA demerit point system that deducts points for traffic offences, leading to your licence being suspended or revoked.
CDL licenses are valid for a 1 year period and expires on your birthday of that year; you can renew it to a maximum of 5 years for each renewal. The renewal fee is RM30 per year (excluding government taxes) and, depending where you renew your driving license, you may be subjected to additional service charges.
To renew your CDL driving license, just visit your nearest POS Malaysia or JPJ branch and bring along your MyKad (or other legal identification documents) and your existing driver's license. Inform the teller how many years you wish to renew your CDL license for and make your payment. Your new CDL license will be produced on-the-spot.
4. Vocational Driving Licence (VDL)/Commercial Driving Licence
Though this article will mainly focus on obtaining a driving licence for a car, keep in mind that you can also obtain a special driving licence for commercial purposes including buses and trucks.
5. International Driving Permit (IDP)
This is a licence 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.
The different classes of driving licences in Malaysia
Now that we’ve covered the 5 common types of driving licences in Malaysia, you should know that there are different classes which specify which type of vehicle you are allowed to ride or drive.
The classes are segregated into motorcycles, cars, trucks, and tractors. Here’s the list:
- A - Vehicles for the disabled person
- B - Motorcycles (all displacement)
- B1 - Motorcycles not exceeding 500 cc
- B2 - Motorcycles not exceeding 250 cc
- C - Motorized tricycles
- D - Manual transmission cars with unloaded weight not exceeding 3500 kg
- DA - Automatic transmission cars with unloaded weight not exceeding 3500 kg
- E - Trucks (all classes)
- E1 - Trucks with unloaded weight not exceeding 7500 kg
- E2 - Trucks with unloaded weight not exceeding 5000 kg
- F - Tractors / Light motorized machines (wheeled) with unloaded weight not exceeding 5000 kg
- G - Tractors / Light motorized machines (chained) with unloaded weight not exceeding 5000 kg
- H - Tractors / Heavy motorized machines (wheeled) with unloaded weight exceeding 5000 kg
- I - Tractors / Heavy motorized machines (chained) with unloaded weight exceeding 5000 kg
This article focuses mainly on the Class D (and Class DA) licenses - cars with unloaded weight not exceeding 3500 kg which is the licence type for those wanting to drive a car.
How to get your driving licence in Malaysia
Step 1: Register with a driving school
The first licence you will need to obtain is the Learner’s Driving Licence (LDL). To get this process started, you will need to register with a recognised driving institution or school near you. There are over 120 driving schools in Malaysia and a quick Google search, or a browse through this Malaysia driving schools list from JPJ will help you identify the school for you. Registration fees vary from school to school.
Step 2: Complete the theory/computer examination
Once you have registered with a driving school, you will receive a handbook with 500 questions about driving on the roads in Malaysia. This will also be accompanied by the requirement to attend a five-hour course, where an instructor will go through the basics of driving in Malaysia. This can be completed in a single day and is mostly conducted in Malay, but there is now an English theory course as well.
You will then be required to study the handbook and register yourself to take the computer test, also known as the Highway Code Exam. It covers 50 questions from the handbook and you will need a score of 84% or higher to pass and move on to the next step.
The next step is another 6 hours of theory and practical classes including topics of changing car tires and basic engine care. Only after completing this will you be able to get your LDL and start driving lessons.
Step 3: Get your LDL and complete a minimum of 16 hours of on-road lessons (practical)
Get your LDL from the driving school you have registered with. Once you have obtained your LDL, a driving instructor will be required to coach you on the road. If you are applying for the D licence (manual), you will learn how to drive a manual car and how to change gears with a clutch. Alternatively, you can also opt for the DA class licence (automatic), where you will learn how to drive an automatic transmission vehicle.
Most driving schools require a student to fulfil up to 22 hours of lessons in the car type you have chosen – Manual or Automatic.
Step 4: Complete and pass the road test
Once the driving instructor is confident that you are capable of completing the road test, they will schedule your test. Your driving test will include a slope test, 3-point turn, reverse parking, parallel parking, and driving on the open road.
Some schools offer a free re-sit of your practical test until you pass, so be sure to review this in your payment structure. It’s handy if you feel you might need this option.
Step 5: Drive on your Probationary licence for 2 years
Congratulations! Once you have passed the practical exam, you are on your way to a full-fledged driving licence. All you need to do is ensure that you do not have your licence revoked by demerit points for a total of 2 years. You will also need to display the P plate on the top left windscreen and rear-windscreen of your car. Once the 2-year Probationary period is over, you will be upgraded to a Competent Driving Licence (CDL).
Converting Foreign Driving Licenses to Malaysian Driving License
There are quite a few requirements to convert a foreign driving licence to a local one. While we have listed down the requirements, it may be a better idea to just go through the Malaysian process above. We strongly advise people in this category to also double-check with the JPJ or your embassy for confirmation on the details and the documents required. There will be a processing fee of RM20 and you will be required to pay the regular yearly fee (as stated above in the CDL and PDL descriptions), depending on the license class and number of years.
- For non-Malaysian citizens, you must have a Long/Short Term Social Visit Pass, are on the MM2H programme, or are married to a Malaysian citizen. People on work permits 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 drivers 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.
One important note is that only driving licenses from 32 countries are allowed to be converted to a Malaysian driving license. This is based on the Two-Way Agreement between these selected countries and Malaysia. The countries allowed are:
- Papua New Guinea
- Hong Kong
- New Zealand
What if your country is not listed? Well, you have no choice but to go through the standard process to applying for a Malaysian driving license.