A Brief History
During the Japanese Occupation “era” (1942 – 1945), the “Japs” actually “cycled” around.
Landing in Kota Baru, the Japs, I heard (from my late father) went around the whole country “confiscating” bicycles from the local people. These bikes were actually a means of transport then.
If one is to talk about the “driving school“ industry, in Malaya or Malaysia today, I suppose one has to go back to the “era” of pre-Merdeka (before 1957). There were no J.P.J. then. But the British has a Road Transport Department.
Undoubtedly, the British brought cars here. First cars were Austin A-7 models. Another was the Austin 30. Then arrived the more popular Morris Minor those black coloured beetle like looking things.
Lest we forget, to drive cars and ride motorcycles we need licenses. Earlier motorcycles models were B.S.A. Norton, Triumph and Ducati.
The British then (before 1957) were responsible for issuing driving licenses to the people. They had R.T.D. then (Road Transport Department) in most major towns. Kuala Lumpur for one.
Tests were conducted periodically. In Klang for example, tests were held in the compound of a bus company situated near the Kong Hoe Primary School.
For your information, the British issued license mainly for E (lorry), B (motorcycles) and D (cars). The industry then was British oriented, so to say.
Driving school concern or establishment were then in the hands of private individuals, especially Chinese. In Klang for example, one of the first and most well known driving school was the Klang & Coast Driving School situated beside the Klang River. The proprietor was Mr Khoo Boon Kim. Until today, the Klang & Coast Driving School is still around.
In Kuala Lumpur, mention should be made of Leang Aik Driving School. This school, believe or not, is also still operating today.
The Kuala Selangor Driving School, operating in the town of Kuala Selangor also has to be mentioned.
After Merdeka (1957), the driving school industry came to be more organised. More businessman, especially Chinese, partook in this lucrative trade.
At that time, authorities were not too strict. Although “permits” were required, anyone (as long as you have the money) could run a driving school then.
Any type of cars could be used – Datsun, Minis, Morris Minor to name a few.
After Merdeka, when the industry better organised, more people become involved in this industry. The first Transport Minister, if I remember well, was Dato’ Sardon Bin Jubir. Now Tun Tan Sri Dato’ Seri Dato’ Haji Sardon bin Haji Jubir.
Under the Prime Minister, Dr. Mahathir Mohamed, more Malays were encouraged to run the driving school business more actively. Do not assume, just because Indians are not mentioned, that they aren’t interested in this industry. In fact, they are.
The Kanda Samy Driving School in Klang and the Safety Driving School in Petaling Jaya are two of the most well known driving institutions. Both are still operating well today.
This article has given you reader only a brief history of the driving school in Malaysia. In later articles in this blog, we will then talk about the coming of the “institutes”. So if you are interested, stay tuned.