Vehicle registration plates of Malaysia

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A standard Malaysian licence plate, affixed in a Honda dealership plate frame.

Malaysian registration plates are displayed at the front and rear of all private and commercial motorised vehicles in Malaysia, as required by law. The issuing of the licence plates is regulated and administered by the Malaysian Road Transport Department (Malay: Jabatan Pengangkutan Jalan Malaysia) or JPJ.

The following are examples of the formats currently used;

Type of license plate Layout
Private & commercial vehicles ABC 4567 or W/Q/SAB 4567 C or KV 4567 B
Taxi HAB 4567 or as used by private & commercial vehicles
Military ZA 4567
Temporary A 2341 A (W/TP 2341 for Kuala Lumpur)
Diplomatic corps 12-34-DC
Royals and government (Full title)

Design[edit]

The current standard for Malaysian license plates were derived from early iterations of license plate designs in the United Kingdom and current Northern Irish number plates, and were first issued after the introduction of motorised vehicles in during British rule the early 20th century. All vehicle licence plates in Malaysia with the exception of those issued for taxis, vehicle dealers and diplomats have white lettering and numbers on a black background for both front and rear plates, regardless of the vehicle type.

The shape and size as well as the material used for Malaysian license plates may legally vary provided that the colours, layout and size of the characters adhere to licence plate guidelines.[1] Arial Bold is currently the preferred typeface, but other readable typefaces may be used depending on the vehicle dealer's or owner's preference. Early Malaysian license plates were largely made of pressed metal, but were largely superseded by plastic plates and characters since the 1970s.

Peninsular Malaysia[edit]

Current format[edit]

BMF 5209

All Peninsular Malaysian (except Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya and Langkawi; see below) licence plates for private and commercial motorised vehicles with the exceptions of those used by taxis, vehicle dealers and diplomats follow a Sxx #### algorithm.[1][2][3]

Penang Plate Number from Honda City in Malaysia
Kuala Lumpur Plate Number from Proton Waja
  • x - The alphabetical sequences. (e.g. : A, B, C ... X, Y)
  • # - The number sequence. (e.g. : 1, 2, 3 ... 9998, 9999)

The exceptions in the algorithm are as follows;

  • There can be no leading zeroes in the number sequence.
  • The letters I and O are omitted from the alphabetical sequences due to their similarities with the numbers 1 and 0.
  • The letters Z is omitted and reserved for use on Malaysian military vehicles.

The algorithm started with a state prefix and a number sequence which ranged from 1 to 9999. For example, W 1 was the first registration plate of Kuala Lumpur in 1974. Once W 9999 was achieved, an alphabetical sequence was added to the right of the state prefix; WA 1 was the result. When WA 9999 was reached, the number sequence was reset and the alphabetical sequence progressed; WB 1 being the outcome.[3] After WY 9999 was achieved, a second alphabetical sequence was added to the right of the first alphabetical sequence; WAA 1 being the outcome. When WAY 9999 was reached, the second alphabetical sequence was reset and the first alphabetical sequence progressed; making WBA 1.[3]

Registration plates of Peninsular Malaysia[2]
Prefix State Prefix State
A Perak M Malacca
B Selangor N Negeri Sembilan
C Pahang P Penang
D Kelantan R Perlis
J Johor T Terengganu
K Kedah W Kuala Lumpur

Perak, Selangor, Pahang, Kelantan and Perlis are the states having prefix A, B, C, D and R. Compared to Johor, Kedah, Malacca, Negeri Sembilan, Penang, Terengganu and Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur.

Variants[edit]

Extended Kuala Lumpur series and Langkawi series[edit]
WA 5509 A

As the most registered licence plate series in the country, the W series' traditional 7-character format became the first in Peninsular Malaysia to be exhausted when WYY 9999 is reached on September 26, 2013. To allow for further numbers, the algorithm is altered to feature an alphabetical suffix behind the number sequence, resetting at W 1 A.[4] When W 9999 Y is achieved, the second alphabetical sequence will re-emerge between the state prefix and number sequence, leading to WA 1 A. When WA 9999 Y is met, the first alphabetical sequence will reset and the second alphabetical sequence will advance, giving WB 1 A. When WY 9999 Y is reached, a third new alphabetical sequence will be spliced into the algorithm, between the second alphabetical sequence and number sequence, resulting in WAA 9999 A. The series will end when WYY 9999 Y is reached.[4]

Exclusive to the W series, the change does not affect plate series in other Peninsular Malaysia states.

KV 2501 D

Vehicles in Langkawi, a Kedahan resort archipelago, are issued KV series plates after the islands achieved duty-free status. The algorithm for Langkawi is KV #### x, where KV is the territory prefix with # and x denoting the number and alphabetical sequences respectively. Prior to the KV series, Langkawi-registered vehicles were issued with K series plates as is with the rest of Kedah.

A quirk in both the post-September 2013 W series and the KV series is the restriction from the use of Q and S as the suffix, justified by possible conflicts with specific older East Malaysian licence plates ending with Q and S, specifically the Sarawakian xx #### Q format used between 1988 and 1991, and Sabah's early post-independence x #### S format. This restriction only applied for Sabah S series plates for right now, it is not applied for Kuala Lumpur W series plates. Possibility the restriction will be applied at future for Johor J and Selangor B series because of overlapped to Kota Kinabalu J #### S, Betong B #### Q and Beaufort B #### S.

Putrajaya series[edit]

Putrajaya plate.gif

The Putrajaya territorial prefix incorporates the name of the territory, unlike the one-letter prefixes of the other states, followed by a number sequence of up to four digits. The letters are stylised in oblique Calisto. The format is Putrajaya xxxx.[1]

History of Peninsular Malaysian license plates[edit]

During the British Malaya era, the P, M and W series of plates, along with the S series, were originally created by the British colonial government for the four Straits Settlements during the early 1900s. P denoted Penang island, M denoted Malacca, W denoted Province Wellesley and S denoted Singapore. The Province Wellesley W series was only issued until 1957, before the territory's integration into the state of Penang. The S series is no longer administered by the Malaysian Road Transport Department following Singapore's secession from Malaysia in 1965. In the years that followed, the Singaporean licence plate system differentiated with the inclusion of a fourth, checksum letter and variable colour schemes for the different classes of vehicles. As Kuala Lumpur was previously the capital of Selangor before ceding as a Federal Territory, vehicles registered there before 1974 carry B series plates before W series plates were reissued for post-1974 cars registered in the territory.

Besides Langkawi's KV series, the Putrajaya series, and Kuala Lumpur's post-2013 W series, the Sxx #### format remains virtually unchanged throughout most Peninsular Malaysia plate series since the introduction of the license plate system in the early-20th century.

Sarawak[edit]

Current format[edit]

QAA 4530 H

All registration plates of Sarawak for private and commercial motorised vehicles with the exceptions of those used by taxis, vehicle dealers and diplomats follow a QDx #### x algorithm.[2]

  • Q - The constant prefix for all Sarawakian license plates.
  • D - The division prefix. (e.g. : A = Kuching, M = Miri)
  • x - The alphabetical sequences. (e.g. : A, B, C ... X, Y)
  • # - The number sequence. (e.g. : 1, 2, 3 ... 9998, 9999)

The alphabets I, O and Z are not used and there are no leading zeroes, as in the case of the Peninsular Malaysian licence plates. The current algorithm for the majority of Sarawak's divisions start with the constant Q prefix, followed by the division prefix and the number sequence. An example would be QA 1 of Kuching Division, which was issued in 2004. Once QA 9999 was reached, an alphabetical sequence was added to the right of the division prefix; QAA 1 was the result. When QAY 9999 was achieved in late 2011, a second alphabetical sequence was incorporated and served as the suffix; the result was QAA 1 A. When QAA 9999 Y is met in the near future, the second alphabetical sequence will be reset and the first alphabetical sequence will advance; QAB 1 A will be the outcome. On July 2013, Sibu introduced suffix number plate after QSY 9999 and become QS #### x. Sibu is the second division of Sarawak after Kuching to introduce suffix number plate.

Registration plates of Sarawak[2]
Prefix Division Prefix Division Prefix Division
QA Kuching QL Limbang QR Sarikei
QB Sri Aman and Betong QM Miri QS Sibu and Mukah
QC Samarahan QP Kapit QT Bintulu

The government of Sarawak equip their vehicles with the unique QSG prefix.

History of Sarawakian license plates[edit]

Pre-1991[edit]

1DD 5610

Before Sarawak's entry into the Federation of Malaysia in 1963, the licence plates were originally distinguished only by NDx (N = Number, D = Division, x = Alphabet) prefixes which represented the then five Administrative Divisions in Sarawak, followed by a number sequence which ranged from 1 to 9999; an example would be 1Dx #### for the 1st Division, present-day Kuching Division.

The ND prefixes were exhausted with the passing of time and were replaced with new prefixes similar to that of Peninsular Malaysia. During the 1970s, Sarikei Division and Kapit Division were formed and split from the 3rd Division to become the 6th and 7th Divisions, and were therefore assigned the 6D and 7D prefixes respectively.

KH 7009 Q

However, the Sarawakian licence plates prefixes conflicted with that of several states in Peninsular Malaysia and Singapore. For example, the K prefix for Kuching Division in Sarawak conflicted with the K prefix for Kedah in Peninsular Malaysia. In response, the Malaysian Road Transport Department amended vehicle registration plate regulations in 1988 by introducing a constant suffix Q for all Sarawakian license plates; an example would be Kx #### Q for Kuching Division.

Post-1991[edit]

SG 2007 BQ

In 1991, a new format was adopted in which the suffix Q was moved to the front of the sequence in all Sarawakian licence plates. The outcome was QK 1 which extended to QKY 9999. When the change took place, the SG prefix for Sarawakian government vehicles had been exhausted and an x was later placed in front of the Q suffix, resulting in a format that read SG #### xQ. Kuching Division registration plates were the most numerous in Sarawak and the KT #### Q series was issued halfway when the new QK prefix was enforced. The QA prefix later replaced the QK prefix for Kuching Division.

Sabah[edit]

Current format[edit]

SAB 9402 K
Plate Number of Sabah

All registration plates of Sabah (except Labuan) for private and commercial motorised vehicles with the exceptions of those used by taxis, vehicle dealers and diplomats follow a SDx #### x algorithm.[2]

  • S - The constant prefix for all Sabahan license plates.
  • D - The division prefix. (e.g. : A = West Coast, T = Tawau)
  • x - The alphabetical sequences. (e.g. : A, B, C ... X, Y)
  • # - The number sequence. (e.g. : 1, 2, 3 ... 9998, 9999)

Letters I, O, and Z are not used and there are no leading zeroes, as in the case of the Peninsular Malaysian license plates. Q and S are restricted from being used in the suffix to minimize confusion with the Sarawak's 1988-1991 Sibu Sx #### Q series, and Sabah's early post-independence x #### S format.

The current algorithm for the majority of Sabah's divisions start with the constant S prefix, followed by the division prefix and the number sequence. An example would be SA 1 of West Coast Division. Once SA 9999 was reached, an alphabetical sequence was added and served as the suffix; SA 1234 A was the result. When SA 9999 Y was achieved, a second alphabetical sequence was placed to the right of the division prefix and the first alphabetical sequence was reset; the result was SAA 1234 A. When SAA 9999 Y was met, the second alphabetical sequence progressed and the first alphabetical sequence was reset again; SAB 1234 A was the outcome.

Despite measures to minimise conflicts with similar license plate formats, a number of vehicles in Sabah will bear exactly the same licence plates to a number of private vehicles registered in Singapore due to the complicated history of its plate's algorithm and arrangement of the characters. In Singapore, letter Z are allowed to use, whereas Z are reserved for military vehicles in Malaysia. With the allow the usage of letter Z for Singapore number plates, it minimises the confusion of Sabah and Singapore number plates.

Registration plates of Sabah[2]
Prefix Division
SA, SAA-SAB West Coast
SB Beaufort
SD Lahad Datu
SG Sabah Government
SK Kudat
SL Labuan (replaced)
SS Sandakan
ST Tawau
SU Keningau

The West Coast Division encompasses the densely populated cities of Kota Kinabalu and Penampang. The SA series has thus become the most numerous licence plate prefix in the state of Sabah. It is also the only Sabahan prefix to have two alphabetical sequences.

LE 2861

Labuan, a Federal Territory based on a former Sabahan territory, uses a standard L series based on the Peninsular Malaysian algorithm, unlike the other Sabahan divisions.

History of Sabahan license plates[edit]

Pre-1980s[edit]

EJ 1659
J 1659 S

Historically, licensce plate formats for Sabah, then known as North Borneo prior to its entry into the Malaysian federation in 1963, were similarly revised multiple instances. During Chartered Company rule North Borneo license plates followed a similar format to that of Malaya, but were defined by its own set of regional prefixes based on capitals of the state's then current divisions. However, the old algorithm was quickly exhausted as only combinations such as D #### were possible. Following World War II and declaration of North Borneo as a British Crown Colony, an E was added into the licence number prefix, with new licence numbers issued as ED ####.

After North Borneo's independence from British rule and entry into the Malaysian federation, the E prefix was replaced by an S suffix, altering the format to D #### S, likely as a response to avoid conflicts with the Singaporean E to EZ series used between 1972 and 1984; the S suffix was also added to avoid further conflicts with Peninsular Malaysian formats. The Jesselton (J) division prefix was dropped in favour of an A prefix representing the West Coast Division following Jesselton's renaming to Kota Kinabalu in 1967.

Despite their obsolescence, delisted ED #### and D #### S numbers, including those using the J division prefix, may still be registered for new vehicles,[5][6] as it does not conflict with current licence plate formats in the rest of Malaysia or Singapore.

Post-1980s[edit]

From the early 1980s, new Sabahan vehicle licence plates were issued in the current SDx #### x format.

The SL prefix was initially issued for Labuan until it was replaced by an L prefix in the mid-1990s following Labuan's separation from the state to become an independent Federal Territory in 1984.

Other registration plates[edit]

Taxi[edit]

HWE 1026
Malaysia Taxi Registration Plate

Malaysian taxicab licence plates follow a HSx #### algorithm.[7] While based on the Peninsular Malaysian registration plates, taxi plates usually incorporate a constant H (Hire) prefix and have inverted colours (black characters on white background) for distinction purposes.[1]

  • H - The constant prefix for all taxi licence plates.
  • S - The state or territory prefix. (e.g. : W = Kuala Lumpur, P = Penang)
  • x - The alphabetical sequence. (e.g. : A, B, C ... X, Y)
  • # - The number sequence. (e.g. : 1, 2, 3 ... 9998, 9999)
Registration plates of Malaysian taxis (post-1980s)
Prefix State Prefix State
HA Perak HM Melaka
HB Selangor HN Negeri Sembilan
HC Pahang HP Pulau Pinang
HD Kelantan HQ Sarawak
HE Sabah (replaced) HR Perlis
HJ Johor HS Sabah
HK Kedah HT Terengganu
HL Labuan HW Kuala Lumpur

The Kuala Lumpur HW is thus far the most widely issued of all the taxi prefixes, followed by Selangor's HB and Johor's HJ prefixes respectively. Some taxis in Shah Alam use the HB #### SA format license plate.

LIMO 1130 W

The LIMO #### S format was introduced for Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) limousines following the opening of the airport in 1998. The LIMO prefix is a constant and is followed by the number and state prefixes, such as LIMO 4430 W and LIMO 3864 B. The service of the KLIA airport limousines largely cater to demand in Selangor and Kuala Lumpur. Thus, only the B or W state prefixes are used.

History of Malaysian taxi licence plates[edit]

Pre-1980s taxi licence plates shared the format used for private vehicles based on the state of origin, but with the inversion of colours (black characters on white background).[8] The license plate was also complemented by a Kereta Sewa (English: Rental Car) tag on the roof of taxis.

JCT 9896

This old format is widely used in the less developed Malaysian states such as Kelantan and Pahang, but has been largely replaced by the new HSx #### format in the highly developed states, namely Kuala Lumpur, Selangor, Johor, Negeri Sembilan and Penang. However, taxi owners may still choose to opt for either the pre-1980s or post-1980s licence plates as both are considered legal and valid.[9]

Foreign missions[edit]

Diplomatic Corps[edit]

The registration plates of diplomatic corps in Malaysia are very distinct from other licence plate formats in the country. They follow a 1C-2C-DC format and have either white characters on a red background or white characters on a black background.[10] Furthermore, leading zeroes are used in addition to hyphens between the characters.

Malaysia Diplomat Plate Number Registration
39-08-DC

Consular Corps[edit]

The registration plates of consular corps in Malaysia complement the licence plates of the diplomatic corps. They follow a 1C-2C-CC format and have white characters on a black background.[10] Leading zeroes and hyphens are also used.

  • 1C - The first code denotes the nationality. (e.g. : 15 = Australia, 23 = Netherlands)
  • 2C - The second code which is dependent on a Malaysian state and denotes a rank. (e.g. : 01 = Head of Consular Mission in Kuala Lumpur, 02 = Head of Consular Mission in Penang)
  • CC - The constant suffix which denotes Consular Corps.
46-02-CC

United Nations[edit]

Registration plates for vehicles registered under the United Nations (UN) in Malaysia use a 1C-2C-UN format.[10] These plates are issued with white characters on a black background or white characters on a red background.

10-01-UN

Other international organisations[edit]

A PA suffix is used for vehicles registered under other international organisations in Malaysia. They follow a similar format to that used for the diplomatic corps.[1]

10-04-PA

Military[edit]

ZC 5010

For all motorised Malaysian Armed Forces vehicles (including tanks and various armoured vehicles), licence plates numbers with the Z prefix are utillised.[11][12][13] Issued in a ZB #### format with white characters on a black background, there are no leading zeroes, and the alphabets I and O are not used.

Vehicles of royalty[edit]

The Sultans of Malaysia, Rulers of States and their immediate royalties use unique registration plates. Most of these official licence plates have a yellow background and bear the official title or crest of the owners, such as "Tengku Mahkota Johor" of the Regent of Johore.[14]

Trade plates[edit]

Malaysian trade plates, or temporary licence plates, are carried by unregistered vehicles or vehicles without proper documents, such as road tax and insurance, and are largely used by authorized vehicle dealers in the country. Although most Peninsular Malaysian trade plates consistently follow a S #### x format and a white-on-blue colour scheme, trade plates in Sarawak vary in colour, whereas those of Sabah follow a ### D prefix and feature red characters on a white background. Until September 2013, Kuala Lumpur trade plates followed the usual W #### x format; with the launch of the extended W series that is completely identical in character format, the trade plate format was altered to W/TP ####.

The majority of trade plates are made from pressed alloy, but plastic ones are also common.

Trailer plates[edit]

Articulated lorries or semi-trailers feature two licence plates placed at the rear of the trailer.[15] One is designated for the tractor unit, and another for the following trailer. The tractor unit's license plate follows the private and commercial format depending on the state of origin, while the trailer's own license plate follows a T/Sx #### algorithm. The T/ prefix is a constant for all Malaysian trailers. Both plates have white characters on a black background.

T/BD 6125

Both the tractor and trailer of Malaysian semi- trucks are fitted with the "Hazardous Cargo" registrations plates upon entry into Singapore.[16] The same characters of the Malaysian licence plates are used, with the only visible changes being the standardised fonts which reflect that of Singapore's and the colour code, which features black characters on an orange background.[16] The "Hazardous Cargo" licence plates subject Malaysian semi-trailers to the same laws followed by Singaporean ones.

Special plates[edit]

A limited number of special vanity plates, or plates with distinctive prefixes were made available by the Malaysian Road Transport Department at a higher cost. These special plates may be used to denote the manufacturer of the car, such as the Proton prefix for Proton cars or special events, such as the SUKOM prefix for the 1998 Commonwealth Games. It is noted that G1M number plates often abused on luxury vehicles to evade motor vehicle import, excise and sales duty in mainland because G1M allowed to be registered in Langkawi and Labuan which both of the islands achieved duty-free status (Motor vehicles registered in both islands are exempted from mainland motor vehicle duties). IM4U number plates not allowed to be registered in Langkawi and Labuan.

PROTON 2020

International plates[edit]

A special licence plate sticker is pasted on the vehicle for travel beyond 50 kilometres of the Thailand-Malaysia border. The alphabets of the Malaysian license plates are translated into Thai and are imprinted on a permanent sticker which is stuck on both the front and rear ends of the Malaysian registered vehicle. It is smaller in size than the Malaysian licence plate, and features white characters on a black background. It does not have to be removed upon re-entry into Malaysia.

The Romanised Characters policy is enforced for Thai registered vehicles which intend to travel into Malaysia.[20] Stating their vehicle Registration Number + State. It is common to see ABC 1234 YLA (denoted for YALA District)or PTN (Patanni), NRW (NaRatiWa) or BKK for Bangkok. This w

However, this is not a mandatory requirement under the ASEAN Accord for those vehicles having Romanised plates. A note to indicate *(STATE)*MALAYSIA* under the vehicle registration is obligatory. Heavy Goods Vehicles in Malaysia require a separate Thai Trade Registration Number with yellow plates denoted by 70-xxxx or 7x-xxxx series.

The Malaysian WX-xxxx-x plates are generally not allowed into Singapore as it conflicts with the Singapore current Heavy Motors Scheme. Thus motorists usually paste the Malaysian Flag / State Sticker on the plates.

References[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e "Vehicle Number Plate Specifications". jpj.gov.my. Retrieved 28 February 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f (Malay) "Nombor Pendaftaran Kenderaan Terkini". jpj.gov.my. Retrieved 28 February 2013. 
  3. ^ a b c "License Plates of Malaysia". worldlicenseplates.com. Retrieved 28 February 2013. 
  4. ^ a b "After WYY 9999, Wilayah plates to restart with W 1 A". paultan.org. 23 May 2013. Retrieved 9 August 2013. 
  5. ^ Yung, Thien Zie (15 August 2010). "Awesome Toyota Prado". flickr. Retrieved 28 February 2013. 
  6. ^ Yung, Thien Zie (24 September 2009). "Toyota Rush At Kota Kinabalu". flickr. Retrieved 28 February 2013. 
  7. ^ "Proton Persona (HJA 2109) Teksi". taxi-photos.com. 23 December 2012. Retrieved 28 February 2013. 
  8. ^ "Mercedes 190D". taxi-photos.com. 12 October 2010. Retrieved 28 February 2013. 
  9. ^ "Proton Saga taxi in Malaysia". taxi-photos.com. 3 March 2012. Retrieved 28 February 2013. 
  10. ^ a b c "Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Malaysia - MOTOR VEHICLES @ KENDERAAN MOTOR - Diplomat". kln.gov.my. Retrieved 28 February 2013. 
  11. ^ "Hicom Handalan (ZB 5277)". military-vehicle-photos.com. 30 October 2012. Retrieved 28 February 2013. 
  12. ^ "Malaysian Army Toyota Hilux K9". military-vehicle-photos.com. 3 May 2012. Retrieved 28 February 2013. 
  13. ^ "Malaysia - Air Force Provost". police-car-photos.com. 16 November 2010. Retrieved 28 February 2013. 
  14. ^ "Car". flickr. 23 November 2005. Retrieved 28 February 2013. 
  15. ^ "Petronas Volvo FM9-340 at Gelang Patah R&R Petrol Station, Johor, Malaysia (Rear view)". truck-photos.net. 11 July 2010. Retrieved 28 February 2013. 
  16. ^ a b "Mitsubishi Fuso Great truck and trailer in Malaysia". truck-photos.net. 15 January 2011. Retrieved 28 February 2013. 
  17. ^ Nidzam, Khairul (14 February 2007). "14022007065". flickr. Retrieved 28 February 2013. 
  18. ^ "No Plat Gagasan 1 Malaysia (G1M)". g1m.com.my. Retrieved 28 February 2013.  (Malay)
  19. ^ Lim, Anthony (4 March 2013). "IM4U number plate launched, on sale March 10". paultan.org. Retrieved 4 March 2013. 
  20. ^ Yamashiro, Kazuya (20 October 2012). "PA201877". flickr. Retrieved 28 February 2013.