The government has announced revisions to the current vehicle tinting guidelines, which were last revised in February 2016 when updated regulations filed under Motor Vehicles (Prohibition of Certain Types of Glass) (Amendment) Rules 2016 replaced the previous 1991 rules.

At present, current regulations stipulate that the minimum visible light transmission (VLT) percentages are 70% for the front windscreen, 50% for the front side windows, and 30% for the rear windows and the rear windscreen.

This has now been amended for the rear windows and rear windscreen, with the new regulations allowing VLT percentages to be reduced below 30%, provided there are two side mirrors (as in left and right) attached to the vehicle, according to the transport ministry.

No baseline percentages were defined, which means that a vehicle can theoretically have its rear windows and rear windscreen darkened to 0% VLT (effectively making it a panel vehicle. Panel SUV and sedan, anyone?). The defined legal VLT percentage for the front windscreen remains unchanged at 70%, as does the percentage for the front driver and passenger side windows, at 50%.

The ministry added that the new regulations apply only for private vehicles, and will also cover vehicles used in ride-hailing. Transport minister Anthony Loke said that although a ride-hailing driver needs a public service licence (PSV), the car he/she uses remains classified as a private vehicle. Motor vehicles registered and used for public transport and goods however will have the permissible VLT levels for their windows and screens continuing to be set at not lower than 70%.

Motorists looking to darken their vehicle completely will be able to lower the VLT levels of the front windscreen and front driver/passenger side windows, but will need to specifically apply for this, and it will involve cost.

In its statement, the ministry said that any individual may apply to darken their vehicle’s front windscreen and front side windows (either through the use of darker privacy glass or window tint film) for specific reasons, be it safety or health factors.

For applications based on safety/security purposes, a service fee of RM50 will be charged for each application submitted. If approved, a successful applicant will have to pay RM5,000 to be able to lawfully darken the front windscreen and front side windows of his/her vehicle below the permissible 70% and 50% levels.

The outgoing VLT rules, which will be replaced by the new one as of tomorrow, May 8.

Each permit that is granted is valid for a period of two years, which means that those with approvals to use darker front windows and windscreen will need to re-apply when the validity period for that use expires, and they will need to pay the fee again for another two years of use, and so forth.

As previously reported, exemption will be given to vehicle owners who need to utilise a completely darkened vehicle because of medical conditions, but applications for exemption on such grounds need a written confirmation from a government physician.

The ministry said that the amendment has been aimed at providing all motorists with the convenience of darker rear windows – and cooler vehicles – but will also contribute to improving government revenue. According to Loke, the government projects that the annual income from fees is expected to be worth around RM6 million annually.

The new window tint rules will be effective from May 8, 2019. The ministry said that any application for exclusion may be submitted from the effective date of this amendment, and enforcement of these new rules will commence three months from the date the rules come into force.