Malaysia 2014

May 1 MALAYSIA UPDATE and NOTES ON SUFFIXES

 

The use of a suffix serial letter has now been adopted by mainland Malaysia, though only in Kuala Lumpur Wilaya at present, to further extend the life of its longstanding LLL nnnn format, which has run there since 1971.

The expired three-letter, four-number series which, in the case of W code, ran from 1974-2013.

The expired three-letter, four-number series which, in the case of W code, ran from 1971-2013 using WAA-WYY 1-9999 (except I,O &  Z).

And the new series, using a serial suffix letter, with 'A' starting it of in September 2013.

And the new series, using a serial suffix letter, with ‘A’ starting it off in September 2013.    It will  further develop via WA-WY 1-9999 A-Y and WAA-WYY 1-9999 A-Y

 

April 2014 saw the first of the W suffixes for the Wilaya of Kuala Lumpur. Vic Brumby 2014

April 2014 saw the first of the W suffixes for the Wilaya of Kuala Lumpur.
Vic Brumby 2014 via Dominique

 

Malaysian suffixed serial letters were first noted on Langkawi Island, which had been allocated code KV from the Kedah State (K) registration dept. in ?1984?.         When KV 9999 was reached, instead of issuing KVA 1-9999,  the new idea of a suffix serial was added, starting KV 1 A, maybe about 1990..

Langkawi's first dedicated code probably began about 1984.

KV 336  ..  KV, Langkawi’s first dedicated code probably began about 1984.    2000 shot-V. Brumby

The late 1970s saw the introduction of a serial suffix, which at 2014, has reached N.

KV 6829 A  ..  The 1990s saw the introduction of a serial suffix to the KV code, seen there in 2000, and which at 2014, has reached N.  (VB 2000)

Taxis on the island use the national series registrations, but with reversed colours.

KV – A & B ..  .. Taxis on the island use the normal Langkawi registrations, but with reversed colours, just as in the rest of Malaysia’s taxis.     There is no Distance-Taxi series on the island (which if there had been, would have read: HKV 2345).       VB picture 2000.

Langkawi is guessed to be now at around suffix N.         More registrations are used here than the island warrants, because it is a duty-free zone and mainland Malaysians like to buy expensive new cars there tax-free, to use elsewhere; this ‘off-shoring’  greatly inflates the KV figures.      Perhaps this will be stopped one day, but meanwhile a rich man from Johore, for example, can save  US$100,ooo on a new  Lamborghini/Bentley, by avoiding the heavy luxury-car tax of the mainland.

This owner saved a bundle by registering in tax-free Langkawi.

This owner saved a bundle by registering in tax-free Langkawi.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

Sarawak began to issue  a Q suffix to its plates around 1991 (validation needed), to separate its regional codes from those of  Peninsular Malaysia and from those of Sabah, which overlapped each other with district codes J, K, T, A, D, M and B.   Between 1991 and 1993, owners had to have added a suffix ‘Q’ to their pre-1991 plates or stop using the vehicle.

The Q suffix attached to Sarawak plates from c.1991 on.     In this case, that 'Q' would distinguish between this B for Sarawak's 2nd Division (Sri Aman) and B for Malaya's Selangor State.           Brumby archive 2009

The Q suffix attached to Sarawak plates from c.1991 on. In this case, that ‘Q’ would distinguish between this B for Sarawak’s 2nd Division (Sri Aman) and B for Malaya’s Selangor State. Brumby archive 2009

 

Since the unification of Peninsular Malaya and the two Borneo territories in 1963, forming Malaysia,  K 2345 from Kuching  (Sarawak) could park next to K 2345 from Kedah (Malaya) and K 2345 from Kudat (Sabah-former British North Borneo)!    Officially, the international oval for them all became MAL.

At least, before those times, the Sarawak one would have carried an SK international oval and the Sabahan one, an SNB (1938-55)  oval or a CNB oval (1955-63).    Neither of these ovals has ever been photographed (unless YOU know different!)

 Examples of the confused state of the combined Malaysia from 1963…..

K 4757, unfortunately without a FM or PTM oval, is from Kedah state in Peninsular Malaya, borne by a Morris Minor.   VB archive

Malaya K 4757, pre-dating the MAL oval, but unfortunately without either a FM (1948-57) or PTM (1957-63) oval, is from Kedah state in Peninsular Malaya, borne by a 1950’s Morris Minor. Brumby archive

 

This Kuching-registered Simca 1000 was seen in Islamabad in 1965!  Vic Brumby archive

Sarawak K 9033  ..  This Kuching-registered Simca 1000 was seen in Islamabad (PAK) in 1965!         Brumby archive

This was originally K 314 from Sabah, before the law required a suffix 'S' to be added to avoid confusion with Malaya and Sarawak K's.

CNB  —  This was originally K 314 from Kudat, Sabah/Colony of North Borneo, before the new law required a suffix ‘S’ to be added to avoid confusion with the Malayan and Sarawak  K’s.         VB archive 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

However, as so few vehicles moved between the territories in those times, it took the various authorities some long time to recognise the situation.  About 1967,  they added  E as a prefix for new registrations in Sabah (for East Malaysia)  (about 1967). and at unknown later date, added an S suffix to existing plates.     This is a complicated time in Sabah plate history and remains to be correctly, precisely dated.

East Malaysia (Bornean Sabah - formerly British North Borneo) inserted a leading 'E' to distinguish a Jesselton registration from that of a Johore vehicle.   From 1963.

East Malaysia (part of which is Sabah – formerly British North Borneo) inserted a leading ‘E’ to distinguish a Jesselton J registration from that of a mainland Johore J vehicle.   EJ  2053 possibly from 1967.    Brumby archive

 

Later in Sabah, the E prefix was dropped and an ‘S’ prefix was added to differentiate  its regional codes J, K, T, A, D, M, and B from the identical Mainland/Sarawak/Singapore codes: (Jesselton/Johore(J),  Kudat/Kedah/Kuching(K), Tawau/Trengganu(T), Kota Kinabulu/Perak(A), Tawau/Kelantan(D), Malacca /Miri(M), and Beaufort/Selangor(B).

Unlike the Langkawi series, the Q and S suffixes in the Bornean states were not serial letters, however, and are mentioned only because they were a stage in the change to serial suffixes now in use in both the Bornean ‘countries’, starting with the two capital towns, which register the most vehicles and so lead any system changes.

Kuching-Sarawak  now issue the format  QAA 2345 A-B-C  etc. and Kota Kinabulu-Sabah ‘SAA 2345 A-B-C  etc.       Kuala Lumpur Wilaya will follow suit with WA 2345 A-B-C etc. within a few weeks and WAA 2345 A-B-C in the distant future.

Sarawak's current series uses the alphabetic serial suffix.      Brumby archive

Sarawak’s current series uses the alphabetic serial suffix. Brumby archive

Sabah's current series uses the alphabetic serial suffix. Brumby archive

Sabah’s current series uses the alphabetic serial suffix.     Brumby archive

*******

Now has come the turn of the first Malaysian mainland registration authority to exhaust its LLLnnnn series, and commence a serial suffix.    Kuala Lumpur capital city (titled a ‘Wilaya’, or autonomous region)  used up its  codes  WA-WY 1 – 9999 – then WAA -WYY 1-9999 – and commenced W 1-9999 A in September 2013.    (W 1-9999 without suffix wasn’t employed, W having once been allocated to Province Wellesley, the mainland section of modern Penang, which only issued W from 1948-57.)      Unbelievably, it is actually possible to obtain a W plate of that Wellesley series from the authorities, for lots of money, and thus sport a most unusual vanity plate!    (From a territory of which most modern Malaysians would know ever existed.)

W 1111  --   a former Province Wellesley mark from the 1950s, somehow re-born on a 2012 car....     VB archive

W 1111 — a former Province Wellesley mark from the 1950s, somehow re-born on a 2012 car…. VB archive

 

Remarkably, WA 1-9999 A is expected to start in May or June 2014, indicating the volume of new registrations of all vehicles at over 200,00o in 9 months.   There are also local taxis which carry a different plate type, and so are not counted in that figure.

Current Local Taxi series has reached HW-E   Brumby archive 2013

Current Local Taxi series has reached HW-E Brumby archive 2013

Kuala Lumpur alone has over 30,000 registered taxis.   They use separate HWA-E (2014 currently E) 1-9999 plates, in black on white.

The majority of this run on new registrations is taken up by light motorcycles.   In just one day recently, the Transport Dept. registered 1000 new numbers.   Predictably, and despite an excellent urban highway system, the city often gridlocks.

‘Distance’  Taxis,  licenced to drive out-of-state, use registrations from the normal series, but made in black on white.   So far, not many seem to have been registered since Sept. 2013, as a serious hunt for some weeks, produced only one sighting, depicted here for the first time:

Issued from the normal series, taxis entitled to travel interstate use plates with reversed colours and are rarely seen in the Wilaya area.    Vic Brumby archive 2014

W 4575 K  ..  Issued straight from the normal sequence, taxis entitled to travel interstate have their plates made up with reversed colours – and are rarely seen in the Wilaya area, for some reason.                     Vic Brumby archive 2014

Work in progress….

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4 Responses to Malaysia 2014

  1. Aero says:

    Great work ! A good read !

    You can find a good number of ‘Distance Taxis’ on the highway that links Kuala Lumpur to Putrajaya. It’s know as the Maju Expressway or MEX.

    You can also find many diplomatic cars on this highway, they have the rare white-on-red number plates, but some have white-on-black ones too, but they all have a ‘DC’ or ‘CC’ suffix.

  2. The Prefix W was introduced to identify vehicles within the Federal Territories if Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya post 1965. W stands for Wilayah Persekutuan (Federal Territories). Despite Malaysia having three Federal Territories of Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya and Labuan (formerly Victoria) W is only used in Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya. Wilayah came from the Arabic word Wilayat. Labuan (Victoria) has a separate prefix of L, SL & LA.

  3. Good notes, KAA
    And as time has moved on, Putrajaya has exhausted its ‘Putrajaya 1-9999’ series and commenced ‘F 1-9999’ (where the F is thought to abbreviate ‘Federal’). This must have started very recently – maybe November 2016….

    Note that during a period commencing 1963, Labuan’s original ‘L 1-9999’ plates were modified by the insertion of a letter ‘E’ preceding the ‘L’, which designated the revised status of the island, having been brought under the newly-named East Malaysia. EL 1234.
    So, since about 1905, the tiny island has had L, EL, SL (Sabah-Labuan), (plus SL with extender A (SL 6505 A)) – and currently it uses LA to about LF. I’m unsure how far it has progressed beyond LF.

    Due to the loose rules in modern Malaysia, it is possible to obtain your numberplate with any regional code you wish, and of the many vehicles on the mainland (peninsular Malaya) carrying Labuan codes, hardly any have ever seen the island, nor ever will. It is a duty free zone and I suspect that, like Langkawi, it is possible to save tax on the purchase, if you can come up with an address in either place!

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