You are allowed to drive on Malaysian roads if you have a valid driver’s licence from most other countries. It is best to check with your own embassy if you are unsure. International driver’s licences are recognised as long as they are still vaild, and having one will ensure you do not get into difficulties.
If you plan to be here for a while it may be a good idea to get a local licence. The British High Commission recommends “British subjects staying in Malaysia for longer than one year to obtain a Malaysian driving licence or an annually reviewed International Driving Permit”. However, we know of many expats who drive on foreign licences for many years without any difficulties.
If you want to apply for a local licence and you currently drive on an American or British licence, you can go to the Putrajaya JPJ (Road Transport Department) office with your driver’s licence, passport (plus photocopy), two photos and your work permit. Their address is: Pejabat JPJ, Bahagian Lesen Memandu, Aras 3, Blok D 4 Parcel D, 62620 Putrajaya. Tel: 03.8886 6400.
They will take around two weeks to issue, and you will be notified by mail when your new licence is ready for collection. You then have to go to a designated JPJ office to collect the licence, with RM50 to cover the administration fee.
For most other countries, we recommend you check with your embassy. You usually have the choice of using a driving school or agent to apply for the licence. Expats from countries except American and Britian may have to obtain a letter from their embassy confirming the validity and contents of their driving licence.
In some cases the Road Transport department may not accept your current licence and insist you take a local driving test. If this is the case, please refer to the article below on taking the test.