Tuesday, 17 July 2012

UK Driving Licence Conversion - Part 2 (Collection)

I previously posted some guidance on how to apply for a Malaysian driving licence as a UK licence holder.  That post can be found here.

Recently my approval letter arrived from JPJ Putrajaya after about a 4 week wait.  There are two parts to the letter, the approval letter and a checklist.  It was all in Bahasa Malay but the checklist directs you to take:

1) Serut Kelulusan ini (Approval Checklist).
2) Borang JPJL1 yang lekap (Form JPJ L1 - I completed this at JPJ - only needs name, address, passport number and signature).

3) Lesen memandu asal dan salinannya  (Original driving licence and copy - did all my copies at JPJ for RM 1 the lot).

4) Kad pengenalan / pasport asal dan salinnannya (iKad / Passport and copy - see above re copies).

5) Satu (1) keping gambar warna berukuran (1 passport photo; 25mm x 32 mm). 

The photo size required surprised me as most are around 40mm x 50mm so I took one of those.  One thing I will stress is that the photo MUST have a light blue background (luckily mine was as it seems the normal format for government agencies and I'd got some done before for other reasons). As it happens the size of the pic on your licence is 25mm x 32mm and they merely scaled my photo down.  I dare say photo shops in Malaysia can do them the right size and most will automatically use the light blue background if you tell them it's for visa and/or driving licence use.  If you don't have the 25mm x 32mm size, just take a regular passport photo BUT be sure of that blue background.

6) Bayaran Pemerosesan sebanyak RM 20; dan (RM 20 processing fee)

7) Bayaran Sebanyak RM30 setahun bagi Lesen Memandu (RM 30 per year of driving licence issued - 5 year in my case)

So, yesterday I drove to JPJ Butterworth to pick up the licence.  Took all of 10 minutes once there.  Thankfully desks 1 and 2 (that issue converted licences) seem very quiet.  Staff are also very helpful.  Copying documents, if you don't have them done already, isvery easy there, there is a photostat machine right outside the block that charges just 20 sen per copy.

So, all done. Not too hard at the end of the day IF you know what you are doing.  One thing that has caused some confusion, and continues to do so and some forums, is the whether as a UK licence holder you need to obtain an embassy letter or certificate to convert your licence.   I stress that UK applicants DO NOT require a letter from their embassy or any other certificates to convert a UK driving licence. If you get this response you just need to get to speak to a JPJ officer who knows the correct procedures.  At Butterworth it's the officer in charge of Desks 1 and 2 (Driving Licence issue) in Block B.  At Putrajaya it should be less of a problem.

The total cost was RM 195 for a 5 year licence and I noticed on the receipt there was a charge of RM 25 for something, maybe a resized passport photo, or maybe some form of admin fee.

Another issue that has cropped up in discussion on forums is people asking why anyone bothers to apply for a local licence.  Many say that they merely drive on their national licence.  To me this is just odd.  You can't drive legally in most other countries for protracted periods without having a national licence so I'm not sure what convinces people that Malaysia is any different!

In any event, while getting my licence issued I asked the senior JPJ officer I spoke to two specific questions:

1) Is it legal / possible for foreign nationals to drive indefinitely on their 'home' (or another country's) licence? Answer "No".

2) How long can you drive for before you must apply for a Malaysian licence.  Answer "3 months".

I would have liked to push for the act and section in Malaysian law covering this but the guy was quite busy. But there you have it. I'm glad I got a local licence.


  1. Dear Sir,

    I am Malaysia. I was stayed in UK for 5 years time and i have a UK license.

    I own a Malaysia license, unfortunately only D (Car) and B2 (Motorcycle <250cc)

    I wish to use my UK license to convert from B2 to B Full (Motorcycle >500cc)

    Do you think it is possible?

  2. Do you have a full UK motorcycle licence? If so I believe you will be able to obtain a full licence here. If your UK licence is not full motorcycle, JPJ would be unlikely to grant a full motorcycle licence here as there is no evidence of having passed a suitable full motorcycle test either here or in the UK.

    Clearly it would be advisable to confirm this with JPJ.

  3. I was told by officer at JPJ putrajaya that under section 28 road traffic act 1987 it is not compulsory to convert my license. I had gone to convert it, in the end didn't bother.

    Section 28. Recognition of driving licences of other countries.
    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.

    I was told UK is included in this.

    1. Hi. Thanks for the comment.

      Yep, continual confusion over this. I was aware of S.28 before. Whether you need to convert or not seems to depend on who you speak to. I spoke to the officer in charge of the driving licence conversion section at Butterworth. He alluded to S.28 but said that it only applied until such time as you reach the 3 month stage, after that, conversion is required. He also pointed out potential problems with car insurance in that an insurer MAY not consider you to be properly 'licensed to drive' here if your licence is not Malaysian in the event of a claim, especially a big one, should you be unfortunate enough to need to claim.

      Given the ease of getting a local licence once you know what you're doing (and at Putrajaya IIRC you can get it the same day) I decided, on balance, that it simply wasn't worth the risk. I also find the local licence very useful to have as ID in some cases.


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