Do Malaysia Recognize The Domestic License of Foreign Nationals

Office at JPJ Check Point
The photo shows the Road Transport Department (RTD) enforcement officers at work.  Pix by Muhammad Sulaiman
By any chance do you guys know if you can use your domestic driving license in Malaysia? or either you can convert it to a Malaysian license? The same has been asked many times on expatriates forums and other channels on the Internet. I had my international driving permit but is it valid to drive in Malaysia for more than 3 months? or you need to sit in a driving classroom to get a driving license? These all the questions I to have before the start of Feb 2020. 

Do you know how I got the answer? let me explain here the whole scenario in the form of this blog post. It started in 2017 when I start learning how to drive in Malaysia on a Pakistani Driving license & I came across Section 28 of the  Malaysian Road & Transport Act 1987:

Recognition of driving licences of other countries

28. A driving licence issued under the corresponding provisions of any law in force in any country which is a party to a treaty to which Malaysia is also a party and which purports to recognize domestic driving licences issued by the contracting countries shall, so long as such licence remains in force in that country, be deemed to be a driving licence granted under this Part.

The sudden question that popup in my mind, is Pakistan party to the same treaty in which Malaysia has been also a party? & I found that Yes Pakistan & Malaysia are parties in the same treaty wherein it's been mentioned that nationals of both countries can drive in either country if they hold a domestic license with IDP (International Driving Permit) so long as such licence remains in force in the issuing country, be deemed to be a driving licence granted under this Part. 

Based on this I believe that I can use my domestic licence along with IDP but for more satisfaction, I have sent an email to JPJ Putrajaya, Malaysia (Road and Transport Department of Malaysia) & requested to define  Section 28 of the Road & Transport Act 1987

Here is a screenshot of the reply I have received from the JPJ Support Team member (Rosnah).  

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Oh yes as per the reply received from Rosnah (JPJ Support Staff ) a Pakistani National can drive in Malaysia if he/she has a Valid Domestic License along with IDP.

Let's have a look at the countries with whom Malaysia have singed Treaty.

Treaty Between Pakistan & Malaysia

Article I have found at the website of the University Malaysia Pahang in which they have described  Section 28 of the Road & Transport Act 1987. 

Driving licenses from the countries listed below (Shared by University Pahang Malaysia) are recognised and can be used for driving in Malaysia subject to regulations under the Road Transport Act 1987:
What they said in regards to Section 28:

Pursuant to Section 28 of APJ 1987, as mentioned above, the holder of a foreign country’s driving license can drive in this country as long as the foreign domestic driving license is still valid, and is accompanied by a translation in English or Malay (where the license is in a language other than English or Malay), which is confirmed by the embassy of the country of origin in Malaysia, or by the authority issuing the driving license concerned. In this regard, a foreign citizen is not required to hold a Malaysian driver's license to drive in Malaysia. 

Let's have a look statement given by Ibu Pejabat JPJ Johor Bharu (Head of the Department Road and Transport, Taman Daya, Johor Bharu).

An Indian Lady Officer of that department replied in the words that Pakistani Domestic License acceptable along with IDP in Malaysia but the format of IDP should be as per Geneva Convention on Road & Transport held in 1949. In this convention, all participating countries agreed upon the booklet format of IDP. However, nowadays almost every country issue a smart card (PVC) IDP, including Pakistan.

Booklet type IDP Model In Geneva Convention 1949:

Booklet IDP Issued by Government of China:

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Card Model in  Vienna Convention (1968) on Road Traffic:
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I hope this blog post may informative for you, in my case I have driven in Malaysia for more than 1 than but I have not ever summoned by JPJ when I showed them the attestation letter from the High Commission of Pakistan in Malaysia & the screenshot of an email received from JPJ Support team. 
But if you can arrange Booklet type IDP before leaving Pakistan to have the risk-free journey to Malaysia. 

I will share another brief tutorial on how you can get IDP in Pakistan and get attested from the Foreign Affair Office. oh, wait doesn't leave without sharing if the post is useful and let me know in the comment section below if something is missing or there is something that needs to be updated.

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