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Malaysia - Importing a Vehicle

Importing a vehicle into Malaysia is eye-wateringly expensive. The motor industry is an influential part of the country’s economy and car importing is complicated and is a lengthy procedure. The manufacturing of cars in Malaysia is heavily subsidized by the government. Despite the Malaysian culture welcoming expats the same cannot be said for their cars. It is not detrimental to the person; it is just the expense involved.

Importing a Car

The duties on car importing can often exceed a car’s value and foreign car parts are highly expensive to import. There are certain conditions to be met:

- A valid work permit is required
- The car can only be used for personal use
- The car cannot be sold or transferred within Malaysia
- The car has to be exported back out when a work permit expires.

An application has to be made to the Ministry of International Trade and Industry.

Level 15, Block 10, Jalan Duta, 50622 Kuala Lumpur
Telephone number: 03 6203 4485 / 03 6203 3022

This application will provide an import permit for the vehicle providing certain conditions are met.

- The car should be registered in the home country of the applicant
- A passport and valid Malaysian visa
- A driving license or a Malaysian driver’s license
- Proof that the applicant owns the car. Only the registered owner can apply
- The original registration document and a readable photocopy
- Valid certificate of insurance
- A letter from the applicant’s employer in Malaysia

If any of the documents provided are in English or Malay, then translations have to be provided. On application, a short interview is conducted face to face at the main office in Kuala Lumpur. There are offices in regional areas, details of which are on the website. The process should take about seven days.

The Car’s Arrival

The owner of the car must collect the car on entry into the port. The Puskapom is a Road Transport Department inspection and will be performed on the car’s arrival and this inspection is strident. A valid permit is required for proof of ownership and this must be shown at the inspection before the car is released. Once the inspection has been completed, the import duty has to be paid. The import duty is set by customs and has to be paid on the day. The cost of this is dependent on the age, the condition, the engine size and the model of the car. The Royal Malaysian Customs Department has more information on the costs and other information.

Expats who apply under the Malaysian My Second Home scheme are able to apply to import their car into Malaysia. The conditions for MM2H program expats have to prove the car was registered for six months prior to being awarded the visa for Malaysia. If this is the case, then the import duty cost is waivered. An expat who has been in Malaysia for more than two years may then sell their car within the country.

Vehicle Registration in Malaysia

Once the car has been cleared by customs in Malaysia and the import fees paid, the car must be registered with the Malaysian Road Transport Department. Malaysian number plates will then be issued.

The following documents are required to register a car with the MRTD:

- PUSKAPOM inspection document
- Identification documents
- Customs’ information
- The Permit for the Vehicle

Motorcycles, Caravans and Motorhomes

The process is the same as that of a car import. All licenses and approved permits will need to be applied for. Prices for the import of larger vehicles may differ from those of a light vehicle such as a car.


The process is lengthy and expensive and it is worth weighing up the costs of importing a car. It is not just the costs of bringing the car into the country; the maintenance of your foreign vehicle can be prohibitively expensive, too.

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