Country Guide: Malaysia

Due to the current coronavirus/COVID-19 situation and restrictions in various countries, the below information may not be accurate. This pandemic is a fluid situation. Check with authorities for local laws and restrictions concerning movements.

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Updated: August 25, 2016

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Used Household Goods and Personal Effects

Documents Required

  • Passport
  • Detailed inventory in English, dated and signed by the owner of the goods
  • Copy of bill of lading (OBL) / air waybill (AWB)
  • Full contact information of the owner of the goods in Malaysia
  • Letter of employment / copy of work permit
  • Copy of Malaysian ID (returning citizens)
  • List of electrical items
  • Diplomatic exemption letter from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (obtained by the Embassy - diplomats)


Specific Information

  • The owner of the goods must be present in the country when the goods are being imported
  • All shipments are subject to Customs examination
  • ISPM 15 fumigation is required for all wooden packaging materials at origin country prior to import.
  • All used household goods and personal effects used and owned by the owner of the goods for more than 6 months may be imported into Malaysia duty free.
  • Items less than 6 months old are subject to Customs duties and taxes.
  • Some entry ports in Malaysia may require an electrical board permit for all electrical goods.
  • The list of electrical items must include the item name, model, make, serial number and year of purchase (not required for port of entry at Port Kelang).
  • List of additional items include detailed information for books, VCDs, DVDs, CDs, etc. included in shipment
  • The diplomatic letter from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs takes approximately 7-10 business days to obtain; check with agent regarding requirements to be included in the letter.

Motor Vehicles

Documents Required

  • Original passport (1 copy)
  • Original registration (1 copy)
  • Proof of ownership
  • Original insurance policy in country of origin proving use (1 copy)
  • Letter from owner of the goods requesting permission to import a motor vehicle


Specific Information

  • All motor vehicles imported attract high import duties and taxes.
  • All documentation is required a minimum of 7 days prior to arrival of the vessel or 2 days prior to arrival of the flight to avoid incurring additional shipments (excludes diplomats).
  • The process can take between 7 - 14 working days for the Ministry to issue the exemption letter.
  • The owner of the goods must apply for 1 import permit per vehicle with the Ministry of International Trade and Industry in Kuala Lumpur prior to import.
    • The owner of the goods can only import a motor vehicle if approved.
  • Import duties where the cost, insurance and freight (CIF) value is less than RM 20,000.00, is approximately 170% - 300% and subject to taxes of approximately 10% - 20%.


Documents Required

  • Certificate of vaccination
  • Veterinary health certificate
  • Import permit


Specific Information

  • To apply for an import permit the owner of the goods must provide rabies / vaccination given 2 weeks validity with documentation and a microchip, along with the owner of the goods’ passport and/or Malaysian ID (returning citizens), and their complete address.
    • This takes a day and is valid for 30 days.
  • West Malaysia and East Malaysia have completely different set of government regulations.
    • Please check with destination agent in Malaysia for more specific information.
  • All pets arriving after 10:00pm, will be charged for overtime cost at USD 80.00 flat rate
  • No food will be provided while in quarantine, please make sure sufficient food is supplied at the quarantine.
    • Attach food for the duration of quarantine; otherwise food will be given for a cost.
  • Space must be reserved for quarantine in advance of arrival.
  • The owner of the goods is allowed to visit the pet(s) at quarantine within office hours and on weekends upon special request to be made in advance.
  • Every pet owner is allowed to import their own pets, as long as rabies / vaccination documentation is up to date.
  • The veterinary health certificate must be issued 7 days prior to departure and state that the animal has been free from rabies during the preceding 6 months.
  • Cats and dogs are subject to quarantine in West Malaysia, if they are imported from Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Japan or Sweden.
  • Cats and dogs are subject to quarantine between 30 and 180 days inEast Malaysia.
    • The government State Veterinarian Department will consider house quarantine after 30 days, subject to a formal application and approval during the first week of quarantine.
  • Detailed information regarding the transport of animals must be provided to the destination airport prior to departure, including the type and number of pets.

Antiques, Artifacts, Carpets, Paintings

Documents Required

  • Import permit
  • Origin certificate
  • Photograph of Item
  • Valuation report


Specific Information

  • Contact the destination agent in Malaysia for further instruction.

Restricted/Dutiable Items

  • Liquor, wine and tobacco (a special import permit is required and is difficult to obtain); these items are subject to high import duties and taxes.
  • To import alcohol or tobacco a list must be supplied mentioning type of alcohol, quantity in ml or liter, country of origin, purchase value and percent of alcohol. 
  • The following items may qualify for free import if within the indicated limits:
    • Cigarettes (200), tobacco (225 g)
    • Alcohol (1 L)
    • Books,VCD,DVD, CD, etc. (subject to censorship screening on arrival).
    • A screening fee will be charged directly to the owner of the goods.
  • Restricted pets include:
  • Bull mastiff
  • Bull terrier
  • Doberman
  • Rottweiler
  • Belgian / German shepherds
  • To import these pets requires a pedigree certificate and micro-chip.
    • The government veterinary officer will inspect owner’s residence prior to approval for import permit.

Prohibited Items

  • Narcotics (the death penalty is given for drug trafficking)
  • Non-branded drugs
  • Firearms, gas pistols, electric shock batons, stun guns (and similar weapons), ammunition and explosives (flares incorporating a barrel, etc.)
  • Indecent or obscene video cassettes, DVDs, films, books, magazines and other articles
  • Flick knives, butterfly knives and certain other offensive weapons, including some martial arts weapons
  • Counterfeit currency
  • Radio transmitters, walkie-talkies, citizen band radios, cordless telephones, etc. (an import permit is required)
  • Meat and poultry; many other animal products; check with agent
  • Plants and plant produce including trees and shrubs, potatoes and certain other vegetables, fruit, bulbs and seeds
  • Animals and birds, whether alive or dead (egg. stuffed), parts and articles derived from protected species, including furs, skins, ivory, reptile leather and goods made from them

Consignment Instructions

Recommended:  Contact the destination agent to ensure all requirements have been met prior to import, especially for differences regarding air / sea shipments.



Cultural and Other Information

CIA World Factbook

Wikipedia Entry for Malaysia

IAM Note: Customs regulations can change at any time with or without notice. This document is provided as a guide and for information only. While IAM has exercised reasonable care in publishing this document, IAM makes no representation, either expressed or implied, as to its accuracy or applicability.