If you look around carefully, Malaysia today has a lot of foreigners. There are Vietnamese, Indonesians, Nigerians, Bangladeshis and Chinese nationals in our midst.
If years ago, foreigners seldom drive in our country, today the situation is altogether different. Tourists and even those working here, fancy driving in Malaysia.
An Indonesian emigrant, who lives in my immediate neighbourhood, even owns a white Kancil. A Bangladeshi working with the Maruichi factory in Jalan Meru, Klang is reported to own a Yamaha motorcycle. Mohd Ali told me he was lucky enough to strike RM15,000 a few weeks ago. His motorcycle registration number came up 1st prize in TOTO draw just recently.
No too long ago, I wrote about a young Vietnamese lady, who told me of her intention to get a driving license. And eventually, I suppose, to purchase a 2nd hand vehicle to go around our beautiful country.
As a citizen of this country, I for one have nothing against foreigners owning vehicles, including motorcycles. Nevertheless, these foreigners should be qualified enough to satisfy the conditions of becoming owners of vehicles and motorcycles.
What however saddens me is that of late, foreigners have been observed as not adhering to driving requirements and etiquette normally practiced by the local people here.
Maybe the non adherence to these rules and regulations expected, might be due to sheer ignorance of such requirements. In this short article, I will therefore highlight a few practices which are normally followed by local drivers and riders.
Amongst the rules and regulations being not followed by many foreign motorists here include:-
1. Driving or riding cars and motorcycles with bogus or invalid license.
As an instructor with more than 40 years of experience, I should be aware of such things happening. I’m not saying that all foreigners are resorting to driving or riding with illegally procured licenses from their domestic country. But the possibility of such practices happening unfortunately is rather high.
No efforts will be made to identity the countries involved for fear of repercussions. But the transport authorities here, that is, the Road Transport Department, should ensure that only those with legal and valid licenses are allowed the permission to drive here in our country, Malaysia.
But the problem is, how do we go about to determine the status of a foreign license? Are the licenses genuine and valid?
I have come to know personally of a foreigner friend who was able to purchase a new motorcycle on hire-purchase terms. The above person informed me of his ability to purchase a motorcycle from local agents using a falsified driving license. This is indeed a disturbing thing to happen.
Should an accident occur, victims of the incident will undoubtedly not be covered by insurance. Who then is to be blamed? The foreigner or is it the motorcycle agent who sold the machine?
Personally, I am of the opinion that the onus is on the foreigner himself, who upon knowing the invalidity of his driving license, should have refrained from purchasing a vehicle locally.
For readers’ information, driving or riding with an illegally procured license, invalidates one’s insurance policy’s coverage. I would like to provide an advice to those trapped in such circumstances. If possible, it would like to help them out of such predicaments.
What should such people using illegally procured licenses do? What do I suggest?
The above group of people should immediately take steps to do a retest to secure a Malaysian driving license. Obviously, these attempts would take a lot of time and money. But if determined efforts are taken, it is most certain that a foreigner will be able to secure a local license eventually. In the end, a lot of unnecessary problems would then be eliminated.
Topping the list would surely be the question of no insurance coverage, especially when accidents happen.
What are the steps a foreigner has to go through if he or she intends to get a Malaysian license?
Amongst the qualifications a foreigner should ideally possess of course are:
i. Be physically fit to enable to drive or ride a vehicle.
ii. Be capable of passing the Highway Code. For this, one needs to be proficient in either the English language or Bahasa Malaysia, which is our national language.
iii. The necessity to attend the 5 hour Defensive Driving Course (K.P.P) followed by the 6 hour Theory course on vehicle maintenance.
iv. Undergo a practical driving course, which can sometimes stretch from 10-15 lessons for cars (Class D) and
v. For motorcycles (Class B2 250c.c.), practical lessons must be obtained from driving institutes all across the country.
vi. Undergo a pre test exam conducted by the institutes. The above test is known as the Q.T.I (Qualifying Test in Institutes)
vii. Finally, a potential candidate has to appear or sit for a practical exam normally conducted the Road transport Department officials at most institutes premises.
viii. A foreigner should then ensure that he finally gets on official or genuine Malaysian driving license issued by the Road Transport Department or JPJ (Jabatan Penganhkutan Jalan).
Upon procuring the above license, a foreigner, be it a Bangladeshi or an Indian national for that matter, will form, henceforth be free from police or Road Transport Department’s officials road block operations and checks.
All foreigners should think carefully about my suggestions. Take the necessary steps immediately to get yourself a Malaysian driving license today!
After obtaining the above license, be it a Class B2 (motorcycles 250c.c.) or Class D (cars) license you could then proceed to secure a car or a motorcycle of your dreams legally.
Of course, a foreigner, like all other Malaysian drivers and motorcycle riders, will have to undergo the P probation period of 2 years. It is only after the P period is over, that a foreigner will be able to secure his CDL (Competent Driver’s License) eventually.
Also remember, a Malaysian driving license can easily be converted into the foreigner’s country domestic license back home. On top of that, Malaysian driving license is accepted for use world wide. Our license are of a rather high standard and most countries like America and England, accept its usage!
Besides the question of driving and riding licenses used by foreigners in Malaysia, another pertinent problem which many foreigners seem to create here is:
2. Not wearing safety helmets whilst riding motorcycles.
I am not implying that local folks are not committing the above violation. As a matter of fact, we are. But foreigners, be they be Indonesians, Bangladeshis, or Vietnamese who work and stay here in many of our housing estates, should always keep in mind this popular maxim. And that is, in Rome do as the Romans do.
While in a foreign land, foreigners or visitors to our country, should follow local customs and practices. Foreigners as far as possible, should follow rules and regulations. Local people here will tend to have a poor impression of foreigners who fail to adhere to our local laws, especially Road Transport Department’s rules and regulations.
As such foreigners, living in the midst of our housing estates, please don your safety helmets and not kopiahs (religion caps) or worse still, not even wearing a safety helmet at all.
Not wearing a safety helmet violates Circular K.4MS(SH) of the Road Transport Ordinance 1987. The courts according to Section 119(2) can easily find you a sum RM100 for it!