Can a Bangladeshi or a Pakistani change his domestic driving license into Malaysian Competent Driver’s License (C.D.L)? This is the question frequently asked of me. The answer is an affirmative “Yes”.

But, there are certain conditions you have to abide with. Such licenses must be valid, meaning they are not expired.

In such cases, you can request for it to be converted into Malaysian C.D.L. automatically.

What if holders of such licenses choose to drive in this country? The answer once again is “Yes”, they can do so too. Again, there are certain conditions to follow.

Domestic license must be valid. It must also be accompanied by a translation letter either in Bahasa Malaysia or in the English language.

The list of countries that are accepted for the above change, as explained above varies from time to time. For this, you have to liaise with the foreign affair ministry.

Who exactly can apply or request for the above change we have been talking about for quite some time now?

Actually, signatories or countries that signed the Geneva Convention 1949 and 1968.

Holders of domestic licenses from other countries may also apply to the Director of the J.P.J. or Road Transport Authorities for such a change.

The prerogative rests on the Director whether to allow or reject such an application.

What are the necessary documents needed?

i) Copy of the domestic license which is certified.

ii) Letter of translation in Bahasa Malaysia or English either from the Embassy or Consulate of the country issuing the license or the relevant authority issuing the license.

iii) Application form (Lampiran B-2).

Even though there are procedures for conversion, many foreigners find converting their domestic licenses into Malaysian licenses a little problematic.

Amongst the reasons given for the above are:

i) Language problems.

ii) Lack of co-operation from driving schools.

iii) Inability to meet officials sometimes.

iv) The distance of the H.Q. at Putrajaya from Kuala Lumpur.

v) Answer given are evasive and uncertain.

Many foreigners, due to urgency to use their licenses, eventually opt to do a retest. This leads to much time wasting and unnecessary expenditure to do the entire driving test all over again.

All the above, paints a rather poor image or impression of our country to foreigners. In the end, Malaysia’s foreign relationships with Commonwealth nations is affected to a certain extent.

It is therefore earnestly hoped, steps will be taken to rectify certain weakness, especially in the process of converting foreign domestic licenses into Malaysian competent driving licenses.