Nearly all road signage in Malaysia is solely in Bahasa Malaysia, so you’ll need to learn a few keywords and phrases to help make your driving experience here a little less stressful.
Here are some common signs you may see on the roads and what they mean:
Sahaja = Only
At toll plazas, there are dedicated toll booth lanes Touch ‘n Go and Smart Tags. Drivers without either should look for Tunai, which are cash lanes.
Perhentian teksi = Taxi stand
If the word sahaja is added, it indicates the lane or area can be used by taxis and/or buses (bas) only.
Kurangkan laju = Reduce speed
This also shows an entry point for a dedicated motorcycle lane.
Jalan / Lorong = Road / Lane
Jalan: Road or street, in this case Riong Road. Lorong: Lane, here it’s Terasek Lane 1.
Peringatan = Reminder
A reminder that the speed limit on this stretch is 70kph. In built-up areas where there are no signs, it is generally reasonable to assume the limit is 50kph.
Zon tunda = Tow zone
Parking here will result in your car being towed. Except probably not really, as we have found this warning is rarely and erratically enforced. However, park at your own risk… especially if there’s room for a tow truck in front of your car!
Right B ads goes here
Awas = Caution
These signs indicate you are in a residential area (kawasan perumahan). It urges caution and reduced speed (kurangkan laju) because people could be walking or cycling and there are speed bumps.
This sign indicates that cars are allowed to U-turn, except those that weigh five tons or more.
Denda = Fine
This sign indicates that parking is prohibited sepanjang masa – at all times- failing which a fine (denda) of RM500 will be incurred.
A sign at one of the new shelters to ensure motorcyclists do not stop under bridges when it rains. However, not all shelters have this signage so always take care when driving under bridges in heavy rain.
Parking is only permitted for motorcycles. An indication is when the street is marked with small spaces.
Yellow lettering: road name (eg. Lebuhraya Persekutuan, or Federal Highway). White lettering: town or area. Green lettering on white background: building or attraction. Areas or roads are noted by distance with the nearest at the bottom.
There are regular places to stop along the highway. The signs show what facilities are available at the next rest stop. This one offers parking, a prayer room, food, toilets, public telephone, petrol,and an ATM machine.
Electronics message boards
Electronic message boards are placed on major roads. This one says, “Traffic Jam From PJ Hilton to LDP” – just in case you couldn’t already tell by all the cars surrounding you.
Other road related things to remembers
Practice caution when driving over speed bumps, as some are very steep. Look for tell-tale gouges in the roadway because of cars smashing back onto the road after going over the speed bump too fast.
Sadly, accidents on highways involving buses and heavy trucks are not uncommon. Many toll roads have ronda, or patrol service vehicles to assist with accidents, breakdowns, or other emergencies.
Driving in the rain
Driving on rainy nights presents many hazards, and keeping your distance is particularly important if you want to avoid joining a multiple car pile-up.
Basic Bahasa Words
|Kenderaan Dilarang Masuk
|No Entry (for Vehicles)
|Tolong isi tangki penuh
|Please fill up the tank
|Tolong periksa tayar
|Please check the tyres
|Kereta saya rosak
|I’m having car trouble
|A little help please…
The ExpatGo Guide to Driving in Malaysia – Index
"ExpatGo welcomes and encourages comments, input, and divergent opinions. However, we kindly request that you use suitable language in your comments, and refrain from any sort of personal attack, hate speech, or disparaging rhetoric. Comments not in line with this are subject to removal from the site. "
Penang Finding Success in Tackling Its Stray Dog Problems
The Penang Island City Council recently shared stories of the ongoing success of its collaborative initiative to deal humanely with Penang’s many...
Citadines Waterfront Kota Kinabalu: Luxury Living in Sabah
Ascott continues to expand on its presence throughout Malaysia with its latest project. The Ascott Limited proudly announces the launch of Citadines...
As Indonesia and Thailand Continue Taking Positive Steps to Boost Tourism, Will Malaysia Follow Suit?
Should Malaysia take a page from the books of its neighbours and make some similar changes to improve its tourism appeal? After...
An Exclusive New Lounge Just Opened in Bukit Bintang
An old American Express ad campaign once assured us that “Membership has its privileges,” a concept wholly embraced by the exclusive Private...
RaiseTogether Launches a ‘Swift’ New Charity Campaign
In support of its laudable purpose, this terrific charity campaign in partnership with Hunger Hurts is offering Malaysians the chance to score...
Streets & Stories: Behind Penang’s Road Names
Being on the road is special, but learning the story of the road itself can add a whole new dimension. Take a...
Here’s One of Peninsular Malaysia’s Best Road Trips
This enjoyable loop route offers nature, scenery, history, a charming Malaysian small town, and a welcome dose of cool highlands weather. Who...
Malaysia Airlines Adds Luxe BMW Transfer Service
The airline’s top-tier passengers will be able to experience a dash of luxury on the way home from KLIA and enjoy private...
Can Johor’s Special Economic Zone Save Forest City?
The flailing megaproject has potentially been thrown a future lifeline by the Malaysian and Singaporean initiative setting up a special economic zone...
Kuala Lumpur to Close Nearly Two Dozen Roads for Thaipusam
The annual festival is expected to draw some two million people to the Batu Caves area in the northern part of Greater...