Types of Road and Speed Limits

Information on the types of road in Malaysia, the speed limits as well as details of breakdown and recovery services...


Expressways, also called access-controlled high-speed routes, are all dual carriageways, which have two or three lanes on each side.

The maximum speed limit is 110 Km/h, but this limit is further reduced to 90 Km/h in mountainous areas and near urban centres. All road signs are in green with white text and are reflective at night with the exception of Federal Highway signs, which are blue with white text.

All expressways have a lay-by area with petrol stations, toilet facilities, restaurants, phone booths, convenience stores, prayer rooms, ATMs, food courts and small motels. Longer stretches of expressways have rain shelters for motorcyclists, as well as scenic viewing areas.

Tunnels along expressways have emergency tunnel exits. Emergency phone booths are located along expressways where motorists can call for help or request an expressway management and maintenance team. Toll booths have a Highway Patrol office which is manned 24/7 for emergencies and are the link for the Highway Police and Highway Patrol helicopter service. CCTVs are located along most stretches of expressways, as well as speed trap cameras

Expressway tolls

All expressways in Malaysia use tolls. Motorbikes use expressways free of charge, but other vehicles are subject to toll charges. The costs at each toll gate are clearly indicated on the left side of the expressway, about one kilometre before the payment point.

Costs vary for each expressway. Tolls can be paid using cash or Touch 'n Go cards.

Touch 'n Go cards can be bought from expressway management offices at selected toll payment gateways, or from the toll booth itself. Cards can be topped up at these offices as well. Selected banks also offer top-up facilities. Some tolls use a transit card between toll points, especially those with interchanges to smaller towns.

Certain vehicles, such as bicycles and tractors, are not allowed on expressways to prevent congestion and accidents.

Peak traffic times are during festive periods, when there are many vehicles leaving city centres for smaller towns.

Federal Roads

Federal roads or primary roads, which have one or two lanes and expand to four lanes in places with heavier traffic, are funded by and fall under the jurisdiction of the Federal Government of Malaysia. When federal roads connect with expressways, they are considered part of the expressway system. Some expressways which are also considered as federal roads are:

In Peninsular Malaysia:

  • North-South Expressway (NSE)
  • New Klang Valley Expressway (NKVE)
  • North-South Expressway Central Link
  • Federal Route 1
  • Skudai Highway
  • Johor Causeway
  • Federal Route 3
  • Sultan Mahmud Bridge Highway
  • Kuantan Bypass
  • Tebrau Highway

In East Malaysia:

  • Pan Borneo Highway
  • Miri-Baram Highway

The maximum speed limit on federal roads is 90 Km/h. The Highway Police frequently install speed traps and police watch towers are located along the roadway.

Federal roads tend to be busy, especially during rush hour and festive periods.

Signs are generally yellow with black text; main road signs are blue with white text. Most signs are in Malay, but in popular tourist areas, signs may be in English.

State Roads

State roads, or secondary roads which have one lane, are mostly found on the outskirts of cities, in older sections of cities, and in rural areas. The speed limit is 60 to 90 Km/h, which is indicated on road signs.

Malaysian state roads are funded by and come under the jurisdiction of the respective states. Some state roads are similar to federal roads, except for the colour codes of the road signs that change from state to state.

Breakdown and Recovery

The Automobile Association of Malaysia (AAM) provides tow assistance or vehicle breakdown services. It also provides other services such as motor insurance, car maintenance and inspection services, as well as car hire, travel and tour services. There are also members-only purchase options.

AAM membership entitles the subscriber to a 24-hour breakdown service, which includes on-the-road assistance for delivering and replacing batteries, as well as the renewal of road tax, insurance and driving licences.

Many insurance policies offer roadside assistance as an optional extra.