Should the Malaysian motorcycle licence be revised?

Should the Malaysian motorcycle licence be revised?

A recent post from the JPJ debunking a viral post stating the Malaysian motorcycle ‘B2’ class licence limit would be raised has piqued some interest from internet users. In the post, a claim was made that the ‘B2’ licence classification would be raised to 500 cc from the present 250 cc.

JPJ was quick to come out with a rebuttal the information in the post was false and there are no measures being taken to revise the licence structure for two-wheelers in Malaysia. Added to this was the admonishment that the public should not believe in such posts and always refer to the official JPJ Malaysia website and social media pages for up-to-date and accurate information.

Which does pose the question, should the limit for the B2 licence actually be raised? A little delving into the history of vehicle licensing in Malaysia is in order.

Should the Malaysian motorcycle licence be revised?

The Malaysian vehicle licence system was inherited from the British, and indeed, has stayed that way for many decades. Pre-Merdeka, motorcycles typically had displacements that rounded out in multiples of five, with the prevalence of British twins displacing 500 cc, and singles having 250 and 350 cc options.

There were of course other engine displacements, but for the sake of this article, we shall confine ourselves to the engine displacements most usually found on sale in that era. In this case, what we had was a licence structure that reflected the racing classes of the time.

The Road Transport Department or RTD, as it was then known, had three licence classes for motorcycles. There were the B2 allowing you to ride a motorcycle up to 250 cc, the B1 class for motorcycles up to 500 cc displacement and B, also known as the “full B” for motorcycles of any displacement above 500 cc.

Should the Malaysian motorcycle licence be revised?

As per the racing classes in that era, the 250, 500 and Open classes, the licence classes somewhat reflected the size and power of the motorcycle you were licensed to ride. In the technology of the time, it was understood a 500 cc motorcycle was more powerful and bigger/heavier than a 250, and a 750 and above, bigger still.

The reasoning behind the licence classes was to provide a graduated system for a rider to progress to more powerful motorcycles as they built up riding experience and indeed, it was expected the rider first pass their B2 before proceeding to the B1 class and so on. Things then sort of fell by the wayside in the late 1970s and early 1980s when the author took his licence, with it being entirely possible to sit directly for the full B and thereby able, at age 18, to hop on a four-cylinder 1,000 cc machine and ride it anywhere to his heart’s content.

Time has marched on, of course, and today, we have 250 cc twins that make the same equivalent horsepower as a 500 from two decades ago and 600 supersport machines put out championship race-winning power numbers from the 1990s. So, with 200 hp super bikes available to anyone with money and a B licence, and sometimes not even that, is the current Malaysian motorcycle licence structure still relevant?

Should the Malaysian motorcycle licence be revised?

Such a graduated licensing scheme doesn’t apply to car drivers for some reason, with anyone passing their D licence test able to then go out and buy any car they wish. No doubt, buying supercar performance is at a completely different financial level to buying a superbike, plus cars these days afford more survivability with a myriad of built-in safety features while motorcycles only have ABS and traction control, and sometimes not even that in Malaysia.

Typically, overseas, a rider passing the written test is given a licence allowing them to ride motorcycles up to a certain engine displacement, usually 650 cc and with a horsepower restriction, or anything below that capacity provided it does not exceed the horsepower limit. After two years as a probationary rider, they are then allowed to ride a motorcycle of any power capacity they so choose (and can afford, because motorcycle insurance for young riders of powerful bikes in places like the UK and Australia is prohibitively expensive.)

The reason why the displacement limit no longer applies is because a 45 hp 650, low as that number seems to some, is a perfectly adequate machine to do any sort of trip on the road or highway, be it the commute, a Sunday ride through the countryside or a long haul jaunt. Fine, you may not be doing it at speeds to suck out car windows and make the driver go, “tsk, tsk! Look at that crazy idiot biker!” but you can do it, and more importantly, do it with a modicum of safety.

Should the Malaysian motorcycle licence be revised?

But, in Malaysia, what we get is a preponderance of motorcycles below 250 cc, usually in the 150 cc class, with little to no incentive for the rider to move up to the bigger classes because of cost. Taking your B licence in Malaysia will cost you four figures, and for many young riders handing over your month’s salary for a licence doesn’t make much financial sense, especially if you have no wish to purchase a bigger bike (affordability of which is a whole other topic to be discussed at a later date.)

Hence, the ubiquity of small bikes on Malaysian roads, along with the related safety issues. Safety issues, I hear you say? Well, yes, and it has some, but not everything to do with the rider.

No doubt, some riders are complete and utter idiots on the road, and we wish them a short, but interesting life. We are referring to the speed disparity between cars and bikes on Malaysian roads, and not just on the highway.

Should the Malaysian motorcycle licence be revised?

Today, if you can stand upright, blink, sign your name and have your salary banked in monthly, you can buy a car. Sure, it’s a small car, a Axia or Myvi or something like that, but it is a car.

Here’s the frightening thing, that car is capable of reaching 150 kmh or more, regardless of driver skill and/or attitude. So, the speed disparity between a small car, and a small bike, in Malaysia, is huge.

Add to that smaller bikes do not usually have the braking power and handling of larger motorcycles, along with the riding comfort, and you have a condition where the rider is suddenly at a disadvantage compared to a car driver. Some of you will say, “drive a car then, no one asked you to ride a bike.”

Should the Malaysian motorcycle licence be revised?

That is true, but in Malaysia, we have a rather unique situation where there are two classes of riders, referred to in an earlier article on why riders… ride. There are the riders who ride because they have to, and those who ride because they want to.

In such a case, allowing the B2 licence class to access a larger capacity motorcycle does not necessarily translate to more incidents of speeding, a 45 hp motorcycle will go to maximum of about 170 kmh, give or take. But the same bike will provide better acceleration, be more comfortable to ride, handle better and stop reliably.

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Mohan K Ramanujam

Coming with diverse and extensive experience in heavy engineering, Mohan enjoys making anything with wheels go fast, especially motorcycles. His weapon of choice is the Desmoquattro engine, and he has a penchant for anything with a dash of Italian design. Strangely enough, he insists he's a slow rider.



  • Kamal on Dec 17, 2021 at 7:35 pm

    the emergence of electric motorcycles, does CC numbers even relevant anymore? Read somewhere an electric motorcross bike does 80HP!! this trend will trickle down to consumer based bikes not too long from now..

    a twin 250cc bike now averages around 30hp, around the 500cc bike made in the 90’s.

    i think we need to rethink the classification for motorcycle licenses fast. Even our former masters have changed their own “according to CC’.. its a far fetched dream, as we are always in world leader in not reacting to change.

    my 2 cents

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 21 Thumb down 0
    • e-motorcycle road tax is covered on the article below:,was%20launched%20in%20July%202019.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
  • shash Kumar on Dec 17, 2021 at 7:52 pm

    hi sir, I’m not agree with your info regarding need four figure to take B full. i take B full driving licence on January 2021 with rm700 since i already have B2. four figure like giving duit kopi.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 9
    • Ah Chong on Dec 18, 2021 at 6:04 pm

      Hello sir, I disagree with your statement as well. I’m living up north and the cost is already RM900 and likely increase because I might just fail the test due to driving school never train me properly.

      I’m sure some good school in the capital would cost over 1k.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0
    • Turbo-rider on Dec 18, 2021 at 8:18 pm

      Its 4 figures for those who doesn’t even have B2 license in the first place and i think you are the one whose giving ‘ duit kopi’ or in other words ‘kena tipu kaw2’ because it only cost me RM550 (ofc I already got B2)

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0
    • justanotheruser on Dec 18, 2021 at 10:55 pm

      From B2 to full B is class upgrade. If u start from scratch, it should easily be 4 figures?

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0
      • I also holding B2 now.
        I stay in KL, upgrade to Full B is really need four figure for some driving school. I hard investigate 8 driving schools in KL, 7 out of 8 is need RM1.2k or above.
        The only 1 cost around RM980. 4 figure is the trend in KL now and due to covid, there is no slot for new joiner.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0
  • bieight8 on Dec 17, 2021 at 9:44 pm

    Should just ban motorcycle all together…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 61
    • Bryan on Dec 18, 2021 at 9:18 am

      Should banned all cars and motorcycles. Using only public transport. We will see immediate drop in traffic accident.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 27 Thumb down 3
      • mohd ridhwan bin abdullah on Dec 18, 2021 at 3:41 pm

        Do not be SMART ALEX. Don’t you own a car or motorbike? Use your brain next time when you write or talk.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 10
    • Redza on Dec 18, 2021 at 12:51 pm

      I really want to punch people like you.. such genius~

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 3
    • Commenter on Dec 19, 2021 at 3:51 pm

      Only pussy ride car if single person. Waste of traffic space.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 5
  • Agree with you 1000%. Its time to revise the rules. The govt should consider automatic upgrade to at least B1 for those who have been holding B2 licence for over 15 years.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 48 Thumb down 6
  • Agree

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1
  • slumber on Dec 17, 2021 at 11:46 pm

    I took my B ‘Full’ licence this year without any prior riding experience. Reason is simple: the fee structure of graduating from B2 to B1 then to B is more expensive than jumping straight into B ‘Full’. If there’s no legal requirement that calls for strict adherence to this graduating system, any sound minded soul will just save up the extra and get the full package in one go, not to mention time saved in between. Just my opinion. Cheers!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 19 Thumb down 0
  • Zacko on Dec 18, 2021 at 2:59 am

    2 categories…
    Below 500cc – B2 : produce bigger horsepower but
    still below 500cc
    Above 500cc – B : you ask for it…

    Below 500cc – affordable…
    Above 500cc – luxury…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 24 Thumb down 2
    • The not so dumb one on Feb 27, 2022 at 3:42 am

      Above 500cc is luxury? Do u even know the price of a 650cc bike? It even cheaper than myvi u know? Just because u see it big cc doesnt mean it’s expensive/luxury.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
      • The bike price isn’t just the bar you look at. Look at the maintenance part of things than It becomes a luxury. Moving up from 150cc to 250cc is already a big commitment. Parts aren’t cheap. Tyres & chain are already 3~4times more expensive between this 2 category. So it is a luxury just to own and maintain a bigger cc bike.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
  • the driver on Dec 18, 2021 at 8:47 am

    Apologies for hijacking this thread. What about the outrageous road tax of RM250 for large displacement bikes? – clearly discriminatory

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 2
  • Vish Nair on Dec 18, 2021 at 9:57 am

    Something is definitely wrong. Im 40 years old, never ridden a bike except for low cc scooters on island holidays. I sat for the written L exam and passed. The first time I rode a big cc bike was when I picked up my motorcycle from Triumph showroom a week later…. something is clearly not right.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0
    • Same thing applies to larger displacement passenger vehicles. But yeah i agree with you. My 125 cub only costs RM40, but my Z650 costs RM250 for the road tax. Costs more than 5 times.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0
  • lizan on Dec 18, 2021 at 10:30 am

    bikers rule the road..they ride on the white lanes all along in succession and give the horn to vehicles who gave the signal to change lane .. not giving way..definitely enforcement against such atrocities

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 12
  • truth on Dec 18, 2021 at 11:39 am

    motorbikes and perodua cars shoyld be banned from public roads

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 27
  • Truth on Dec 18, 2021 at 11:45 am

    motorbikes and perodua cars should be banned from public roads

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 22
    • Celup King on Dec 20, 2021 at 7:57 am

      As the king, only I can decree which vehicle is to be banned from the public roads, and not you, the unworthy commoner.
      I, the king, have spoken.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1
  • Leonardo on Dec 18, 2021 at 12:10 pm

    I think before we consider revising the motorcycle licences, the data of motorcycle fatalities in Malaysia for the past 5 years should also be shown. While the stafety standards for cars have greatly improved with crash Star ratings, there’s hardly any safety improvement for motorcycles, especially under 250cc. The bigger bikes have ABS as standard, at least.
    I used to ride a small bike to work to save time and money. But there were many accidents at that time involving our staff riding motorcycles to work, resulting in many fatalities. Therefore our CEO directed that all those riding bikes to work must go through a Defensive Riding Training program. (MDRT).
    At that time I already had a driving licence, plus an advanced driving training cert to go.
    Anyway after attending the MDRT program organized by our company, I realized that the risks for fatalities in an accident involving motorbikes is 17 times higher compared to motor vehicles. After that I decided to take my car to work again, even though it cost more for petrol and getting up earlier to be on time. Safety is more important.
    And when my children were in College, I bought them pre own cars instead of new bikes, since safety is important for their future.
    Yes, by all means I support revising the motorcycle licences category, but think about the safety improvement for motorcycles as well and the need to upgrade the existing infrastructure for bikers as well. In other words, SAFETY FIRST.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 19 Thumb down 1
  • 4G63T DSM on Dec 18, 2021 at 12:13 pm

    There is nothing wrong with the current system.

    If you want to ride a big bike, then just go and take a Full B test. If you can’t afford the B test, then you might want to re-think your decision to buy a big bike.

    If there is going to be any limitations, it should be on power (like the A2 limit). Any new rider on a fresh license can just go and get a 200hp bike and get over his skill limit. Even middle weight 650 now pack 80hp.

    As for safety, they should make ABS as mandatory, at least on the front wheel. Just yesterday I saw 2 kapchais loose the front on braking…..

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1
  • The current system is outdated.

    B2 should be 500cc and below.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 22 Thumb down 3
  • qayyum6jan on Dec 18, 2021 at 2:02 pm

    I think we should use horsepower or power to weigh ratio. Because cc don’t really tell us much in term of performance, like some 250 barely made 20hp while some have almost 50hp. I think we should put like
    B2=40hp max
    B full= more than 80hp

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 7
    • Ah Chong on Dec 18, 2021 at 6:11 pm

      That sounded interesting, but why not just follow most European countries? Bikes are designed to meet regulations, so if our law meets international law, then we get more bike choices.

      I’d like to see:
      B3 = 125cc 15hp maximum, not highway legal.
      B2 = Legacy 250cc, let people keep their old license but no new B2 license given.
      B1 = Remove old 500cc limit, follow European A2 license, 47hp max.
      B Full = Make it minimum age 24, must pass advance riding class, hold another license for minimum 2 years.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 1
    • Susukotak on Dec 19, 2021 at 2:47 pm

      Wait till you see harley davidson motorcylce. 1800cc but less 100Nm

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 3
  • st3wp1d on Dec 18, 2021 at 4:18 pm

    just bannned those bikes without ABS off the road..
    and ensure repeated traffic offender cannot renew their driving license for at least 3years straight.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 5
  • Susukotak on Dec 18, 2021 at 4:20 pm

    Q: why need an annual payment for licence. Should driver pass the test, lislcence should valid until revoke by court order.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0
  • Ya,totally agreed. Our licencing must be review. Eg in UK, probation licence wt bikes below 45hp as per article shud be implement (2 or 3 years shud be good). If you break the law during the probation period, suspended for 2 year and retake the licence again wt probation period….break the law, repeat suspension & retake licence + probation….same goes with car licence….probation, break regulation …suspension then retake & probation again…repeat again.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0
  • justanotheruser on Dec 18, 2021 at 11:10 pm

    Just my 2¢…
    B3: <200cc or <30 hp?
    – 16 years old

    B2: <400cc or <60 hp?
    – 18 yrs old + zero at-fault accident for 2 yrs under B3.

    B1: <600cc or 600cc or >80 hp?
    – 25 yrs old + zero at-fault accident for 2 yrs under B1.

    If u r 21 yrs old and never had any motorbike license, then u start from one qualifying category lower(B2). Or better yet, just force start from B3?
    In this way, riders will be forced to gather experience starting with smaller bikes and earn their way up the chain.
    The other question would be how JPJ governs the classes upgrade without burdening the rakyat?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1
  • Ramesh Nair on Dec 19, 2021 at 12:08 am

    Class B2 licensed riders must be tested with the use of a minimum 250cc motorcycle on clutch activated gears and not with non-compliant Honda EX5 cubchais/mopeds.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0
  • Fogarty916 on Dec 19, 2021 at 12:41 pm

    Should take age/years of riding into account. Allowing a 17-year old who just got a B full license hopping straight to a 4-cylinder big displacent is a disaster waiting to happen. Don’t want another 17-year old dies riding a superbike accident happen. Even the Brits already moved on from this displacement-based system.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0
  • should instead enforce existing law that motor cannot go onto highway!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 11
  • citizen on Dec 19, 2021 at 3:59 pm

    it should.. how long it has been for 250cc limit ? at that time, smallest cc maybe 60cc.. now it is not.. at least it has to be 500cc.. old rule are needed.. same goes tu salary.. rm1200 for 2021 are unlogicaly.. at least our basic suppose rm2000 for 2021, but ofcourse, it cant be for goverment.. for basic.. the only thing they can do is, upgrade they salary every years.. while our salary 1200.. their salry almost 100k.. 30k and so on..doesnt matter with goverment ph pn or umno.. they do nothing about salry while in power..

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1
  • Chin Chern Soon on Dec 19, 2021 at 5:16 pm

    Totally agree with your article, I too am a B2 license for the past 30 over years and nowadys motorbike have crept up its CC. I wish to buy a Vespa or a Sym. However the cc is 300cc. My B2 will not be valid for this bike class . The B2 license should upgrade to adapt to the new world trend.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0
  • Justice wolf on Dec 19, 2021 at 6:09 pm

    Yes, they should revise it to raise the age limit to take motorcycle license and to lower the engine displacement of motorcycles that B2 and B1 can ride. So much mat rempit out there underage and riding their bikes like crazy. Don’t dream for easier to obtain license or raising the capability to ride bigger bike with the same license even if displacement doesn’t affect horsepower, you still need to learn how to handle the bike itself to ride safely.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0
  • Ben Yap on Dec 20, 2021 at 10:04 am

    no need to revise the motorcycle license. Malaysia is the land of kapchais and no kapchais exceed 250cc. after all, even kapchais costing RM13K, Malaysians already make noise. in general, the affordability level for 250cc is still low.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

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