Road Transportation Law in Malaysia

Updated on Monday 08th August 2022

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The main regulatory law on road transportation in Malaysia is the Malaysian Road Transport Act1987. It provides relevant information on what is considered appropriate/inappropriate actions relating to the vehicle and the driver. The Malaysian Road Transport Act incorporates important amendments and the classification of motor vehicles, provisions, and implications of the Act to motorists. If you are a foreigner, you will find this information useful, assuming that you intend to drive safely in Malaysia.

Our Malaysian lawyers will provide complete assistance on matters regarding Road Transportation Law in Malaysia. You can also discuss about immigration to Malaysia.

Laws for road transportation, presented by our lawyers in Malaysia 

The Road Transport Act and the Institute of Road Safety Research Act are two important legal resources for the regulation of motor vehicles in the country. In addition to these, the Road Transport Rules encompass rules that are related specifically to road transportation. The Ministry of Transport in Malaysia oversees its implementation.
The Road Transport Act is the main legal resource for conditioning road transportation in Malaysia and we highlight its main parts in the list below:
  1. Part 1: preliminary definitions, the powers of police officers and road transport officers as well as the power of the Minister to appoint officers.
  2. Part 2: the classification, registration, and licensing of motor vehicles and drivers in Malaysia; part 2a includes the rules for the periodic inspection of motor vehicles and part 2b refers to the treatment of foreign motor vehicles.
  3. Part 3: roads – the Highway Code, speed limits, the power to restrict vehicles and restrictions on specific roads, the provision of parking spots and parking for disabled individuals, pedestrian crossings as well as the duties of pedestrians to observe the traffic principles.
  4. Part 4: provisions against third-party risks that arise out of the use of motor vehicles – referring to insurance and the duties of insurers as well as the rights of third parties against insurers; also included here is the settlement between insurers and the insured individuals and the conditions in which third-party claims are not affected by bankruptcy.
  5. Part 5: offenses and miscellaneous provisions – includes the penalties for obstruction and interference, the powers of road transport officers in an investigation, the general offenses and penalties, etc.
Under the Road Transport Act, there are eleven classes of motor vehicles, and we define some of these below:
  • the motorcycles:  motor vehicles with less than four wheels; 
  • tractors: two categories are included here, heavy and light;
  • motor cars: which can be heavy (designed to carry passengers or loads) and simple (those that do not fall under the category motorcycle);
  • mobile machinery: this category also includes two subdivisions of light and heavy;
  • trolley vehicles: that derive power from overhead cables;
Other defined categories include the pedestrian controlled vehicles, the trailers, and the invalid carriages.
An important section of the Road Transport Act refers to the registration of the vehicles and the owners. It is clearly stated that no individual shall possess an unregistered vehicle unless one of the cases below applies:
  • the unregistered vehicle is owned by a car dealer in Malaysia for the purpose of sale;
  • it is used by a motor vehicle repairer or dealer and used under the authority of a motor vehicle trading license;
  • a motor vehicle that is being driven by a road transport officer for inspection or testing;
  • a motor vehicle lawfully brought into the country according to the section referring to foreign motor vehicles in the Act.
Our team of lawyers in Malaysia who specialize in road transport laws can help interested individuals with more information about the applications for registration and the registration number. 
The land transport sector comprises both road transportation and railway transport in Malaysia. This article refers only to the first part and interested entrepreneurs can reach out to our attorneys in Malaysia for more details about the Railways Act as well as other provisions for maritime or international transport. These laws and regulations and essential for logistics and transport companies, both local and international ones and our team is ready to help investors with adequate legal advice and counseling on these laws.

We remind you that you can benefit from the support of our immigration lawyers in Malaysia. They can provide complete information about immigration to Malaysia.

Important provisions of the Malaysian Road Transport Act 

First of all, every driver should know that no one is allowed to drive a vehicle without a valid license. In addition, those who contravene the above rule are liable to be fined. For example, for this kind of infringement, a driver can be fined RM150 (Malaysian Ringgit, the local currency) in a court of law. Moreover, a similar punishment is applied for drivers who have their driving license expired or for ones who don't have a driving license at all.

Most important, it's an offense (that many motorists are unaware of) to drive underage; 17 is the minimum age in Malaysia for driving cars and 16 for driving motors. Drivers who are underage will be fined RM1,000 and even be given six months of imprisonment. 

The inspection of motor vehicles can take place when the said vehicle does not comply with the requirements of the Act, when the information presented to an official is false, incorrect, or misleading, when the vehicle is not in a serviceable condition or when the weight, size, character, construction, seating accommodation or other identifying particulars have been altered after the vehicle was registered. 

The Act also sets forth the procedure that is to be followed when the change of possession takes place in the case of a motorized vehicle. The transfer procedure is to be notified to the authorities within seven days and, when applicable, the license of the sold vehicle must also be submitted. In some cases, the authorities in charge of vehicle licensing can refuse to issue the needed vehicle license and one of our attorneys in Malaysia can help you with further information about these cases.

For further details on the provisions of Road Transportation Law in Malaysia, ask for our Malaysian law firm's help.

We also invite you to watch the following video on the laws related to road transportation in Malaysia:


Other general road rules in Malaysia

The majority of Malaysian road signs are quite similar to other road signs from other countries so, despite the infrequent use of Malay words, it wouldn't be very difficult to understand what the signs mean to foreigners.

Generally, the speed limit in town is between 50-70 kph and on the highway, it’s 90-110 kph. Over the past decade, numerous cameras have been installed by the police to spot anyone exceeding the speed limit and to reduce the number of road accidents. Most often, they are placed near traffic lights, being noticeable for drivers, but others on the highway are hidden under bridges, being invisible to drivers. 

Needless to say, driving under the alcoholic influence is prohibited, for 0.8 grams per liter or over the driver will be fined approximately RM2,000 or imprisoned for a maximum 6 months. Moreover, he/she can lose the driving license for at least 12 months. A cab is an affordable alternative to be driven home safely in the case of having consumed alcoholic beverages, without risking the life of driver and attendants, or fines and imprisonment.

If you are interested in more details in Road Transportation Law in Malaysia, feel free to contact our Malaysian attorneys for legal assistance on this subject. You can also collaborate with our immigration lawyers in Malaysia.