Malaysia - Consular Information Sheet
December 30, 1999
COUNTRY DESCRIPTION: Malaysia is a federal parliamentary
democracy with a constitutional monarch. Its population of approximately
22.7 million is ethnically divided into Malay (47 percent), Chinese
(26 percent), Indian (7 percent), other indigenous (10 percent),
and other ethnic groups (10 percent). Islam is the national religion.
Bahasa Malaysia is the official language although English is widely
spoken. The capital city is Kuala Lumpur.
ENTRY REQUIREMENTS: A passport valid for at least six
months is required to enter Malaysia. American citizens do not
need a visa for a pleasure or business trip if their stay in Malaysia
is 90 days or less. For more information on entry requirements,
contact the Embassy of Malaysia, 2401 Massachusetts Avenue, N.W.,
Washington, D.C. 20008, telephone: (212) 328-2700, or the Malaysian
Consulates located in New York, telephone (202) 328-2700, or Los
Angeles, telephone (213) 892-1238. See also the Malaysian Government
home page on the Internet at http://www.jaring.my.
Overseas inquiries should be made at the nearest Malaysian embassy
DUAL NATIONALITY: Malaysia does not recognize dual nationality.
Adult U.S. citizens who are also Malaysian citizens could experience
close scrutiny by Malaysian immigration officials when entering
or departing Malaysia on Malaysian passports. The United States
requires all U.S. citizens to enter and depart the U.S. on U.S.
passports. U.S. visas cannot be issued to dual citizen Americans.
Dual nationals may be subject to Malaysian laws that impose special
obligations on Malaysian citizens.
CRIME INFORMATION: Violent crime, particularly against
foreigners, is not common in Malaysia. Foreigners are often the
target of pickpocketing, burglaries, automobile break-ins and
purse snatchings referred to as "snatch-thefts," in which
the assailants on motorcycles or in cars snatch purses, cell phones,
and other items from pedestrians and speed off. Pedestrians have
occasionally been injured when dragged to the ground during these
incidents. Pickpocketing is common in crowded public places. Credit
card fraud is a prevalent and growing crime problem. Use of credit
cards should be limited to major international establishments
such as large hotels, and credit card numbers should be closely
safeguarded at all times. Theft of items from parked vehicles
occurs frequently, and items that are likely to be desirable to
thieves should be removed from vehicles or placed out of sight.
The loss or theft abroad of U.S. passports should be reported
immediately to the local police and U.S. Embassy. U.S. citizens
may refer to the Department of State's pamphlet A
Safe Trip Abroad for ways to promote a more trouble-free journey.
The pamphlet is available by mail from the Superintendent of Documents,
U.S. Government printing office, Washington, D.C. 20402, via the
Internet at http://www.access.gpo.gov/su_docs,
or via the Bureau of consular Affairs home page at http://travel.state.gov.
MEDICAL FACILITIES: Medical facilities and services are
adequate in the larger cities where Western-trained doctors can
easily be found. The U.S. Embassy can also provide a list of English-speaking
doctors and hospitals upon request. Serious medical problems requiring
hospitalization and/or medical evacuation to the United States
can cost thousands of dollars or more. Doctors and hospitals often
expect immediate cash payment for health services although major
credit cards are acceptable.
MEDICAL INSURANCE: U.S. medical insurance is not always
valid outside the United States. U.S. Medicare and Medicaid programs
do not provide payment for medical services outside the United
States. Uninsured travelers who require medical care overseas
may face extreme difficulties. Check with your own insurance company
to confirm whether your policy applies overseas, including provision
for medical evacuation. Ascertain whether payment will be made
to the overseas hospital or doctor or whether you will be reimbursed
later for expenses you incur. Some insurance policies also include
overage for psychiatric treatment and for disposition of remains
in the event of death. Useful information on medical emergencies
abroad is provided in the Department of State’s Bureau of Consular
Affairs brochure Medical Information
for Americans Traveling Abroad available via the Bureau of
Consular Affairs home page at http://travel.state.gov.
OTHER HEALTH INFORMATION: Information on other health
precautions may be obtained from the Centers of Disease Control
and Prevention’s hotline for international travelers at telephone:
1-877-FYI_TRIP (1-877-394-8747), fax 1-888-CDC-FAXX (1-888-232-3299),
or the Internet site at http://www.cdc.gov.
TRAFFIC SAFETY AND ROAD CONDITIONS: While in a foreign
country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ
significantly from those in the United States. The information
below concerning Malaysia is provided for general reference only,
and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance.
Safety of public transportation: Good
Urban road conditions/maintenance: Good
Rural road conditions/maintenance: Good
Availability of Roadside Assistance: Good
Malaysian Road Safety: Traffic patterns in Malaysia move
on the left. Pedestrians are reminded to look carefully in all
directions when crossing roads. Motorcyclists attempt to circumvent
traffic blockage by weaving through vehicles and pedestrians.
Traffic is heavy during the morning and afternoon rush-hours and
slows down considerably when it rains. Bottlenecks are common
sights in Kuala Lumpur. Development of the infrastructure has
not kept pace with the proliferation of motorized vehicles. Multi-laned
highways often merge into narrow two-lane roads in the center
of town and cause added congestion. Many streets are narrow and
winding. Towns are often filled beyond capacity. Taxis are metered
but some drivers charge a rate much higher than the metered rate
during peak hours, when it is raining, or when the passenger’s
destination is to or through a heavily congested area.
A well-maintained, heavily congested, divided highway with two
separate lanes runs through Malaysia from Singapore to the Thai
border. Malaysia’s west coast also has well-developed paved roads
between major cities. These two-lane highways are usually congested.
Serious accidents can occur from collisions and from drivers who
lose control of their vehicles when driving too fast in hilly
For specific information concerning Malaysian driver’s permits,
vehicle inspection, road tax and mandatory insurance, contact
the Malaysian National Tourist Organization offices in New York
via the Internet at http://www.visitmalaysia.com/
or the Malaysian Government home page via the Internet at http://www.jaring.my.
AVIATION OVERSIGHT: The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration
(FAA) has assessed the Government of Malaysia’s Civil Aviation
authority as Category 1 - in compliance with international aviation
safety standards for oversight of Malaysia’s air carrier operations.
For further information, travelers may contact the Department
of Transportation telephone number within the U.S. at 1-800-322-7873,
or visit the FAA Internet home page at http://www.faa.gov/avr/iasa/.
The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) separately assesses some
foreign air carriers for suitability as official providers of
air services. For information regarding the DOD policy on specific
carriers, travelers may contact DOD at telephone number (618)
CUSTOMS REGULATIONS: Malaysia’s customs authorities may
enforce strict regulations concerning temporary importation into
or export from Malaysia of items such as firearms, religious materials,
antiquities, medications, business equipment, currency, ivory,
and other items. It is advisable to contact the Embassy of Malaysia
in Washington or one of Malaysia’s consulates in the United States
for specific information regarding customs requirements. Customs
officials encourage the use of an ATA (Admission Temporaire/Temporary
Admission) carnet for the temporary admission of professional
equipment, commercial samples, and/or goods for exhibitions and
fair purposes. ATA Carnet Headquarters, located at the U.S. Council
for International Business, 1212 Avenue of the Americas, New York,
NY 10036, issues and guarantees the ATA carnet in the United States.
For additional information call (212)354-4480; send an e-mail
to email@example.com, or visit http://www.uscib.org
CRIMINAL PENALTIES: While in a foreign country, a U.S.
citizen is subject to that country’s laws and regulations, which
sometimes differ significantly from those in the United States
and do not afford the protections available to the individual
under U.S. law. Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe
than in the United States for similar offenses. Persons violating
the law, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or imprisoned.
The Malaysian criminal code includes a provision for a sentence
of caning for certain white collar crimes, including criminal
misappropriation, criminal breach of trust and cheating.
DRUG PENALTIES: Malaysia strictly enforces its drug laws.
Malaysian legislation provides for a mandatory death penalty for
convicted drug traffickers. Individuals arrested in possession
of 15 grams (1/2 ounce) of heroin or 200 grams (seven ounces)
of marijuana are presumed by law to be trafficking in drugs.
CHILDREN’S ISSUES: For information on international adoption
of children, international parental child abduction, and international
child support enforcement issues, please refer to our Internet
site at http://travel.state.gov
and look for International
Child Adoption and International Parental Child Abduction.
The Office of Children’s Issues telephone number is (202) 736-7000
and the fax number is (202) 647-3825.
REGISTRATION/EMBASSY LOCATION: U.S. citizens living in
or visiting Malaysia are encouraged to register at the U.S. Embassy
in Kuala Lumpur and to obtain updated information on travel and
security within the country. The U.S. Embassy is located at 376
Jalan Tun Razak 50400, Kuala Lumpur. The mailing address is P.O.
Box No. 10035, 50700 Kuala Lumpur; Telephone (60-3)2168-5000.
The fax number for the U.S. Embassy is (60-3)242-2207; the fax
number for the Consular Section is (60-3)248-5801. Internet home