Visitors entering Malaysia through the various entry points are required to declare all dutiable or prohibited goods in their possession. They are also required to open, unpack, and repack their luggage to facilitate customs inspection. This ruling applies to visitors arriving in Malaysia at first points of entry only.
There are no customs duties for travel between Peninsular Malaysia and Sabah and Sarawak. The islands of Labuan in Sabah and Pulau Langkawi in Kedah are excluded from any customs duties because of their duty free status. No customs duty is payable on any goods imported into Labuan or Pulau Langkawi except rubber, marble, anchovies and petroleum products.
Malaysian customs regulations provide stiff penalties for those who are found guilty of making false declarations or for concealing any dutiable or prohibited goods.
At certain entry points (particularly airports) where the Green Channel system is being practised, visitors who are not in possession of any dutiable or prohibited goods except those allowed under the duty free allowances, may go through the Green Channel.
Visitors who are in possession of prohibited or dutiable goods in excess of the duty free allowances to which they are entitled are advised to go through the normal channel and make their declaration to the Customs Officer on duty.
Visitors must pay customs duties on all dutiable goods at the rate of 30% ad valorem provided that the goods are imported on or with the person entering Malaysia or are in the baggage of such person and intended for non-commercial use.
In the case of alcoholic beverages, tyres and tubes, spirits, tobacco and cigarettes and motor vehicles, the rate of duty will be the prevailing rate at the time of importation.
The following are some goods which are dutiable on import :
- Talcum powder and face powder.
- Products for the care of hair (e.g. hair cream, shampoo, hair dyes).
- Sound recorders and reproducers including record players and tape decks.
- Radio broadcast receivers including those incorporating sound recorders or reproducers for motor vehicles.
- Radio broadcast receivers whether or not incorporating sound recorders and reproducers.
- Ball point pens of artificial plastic material.
- Carpets other than those made of jute.
- Textile articles.
- Electric smoothing irons.
- Video cassette recorders.
- Slide projectors.
- Electric lamps and light fittings.
- Food grinders and mixers.
- Rice cookers.
- Electric kettles.
- Gramophone records.
- Razors and razor blades.
- Kitchen knives.
- Locks and padlocks.
- Lamp shades.
- Playing cards.
- Fruits (fresh and preserved).
- Car accessories.
- Golf balls.
Visitors who are in doubt are advised to consult the Customs Officer on duty at the entry points. Telephone nos: (603) 87766575 (KLIA), (604) 643 4401 (Bayan Lepas), (604) 922 1631 (Bukit Kayu Hitam), (604) 949 0214 (Padang Besar), (607) 222 4666 (Tambak Johor), (607) 513 3024 (Tanjung Kupang), (609) 795 0349 (Rantau Panjang), (609) 725 7359 (Pengkalan Kubor), (604) 955 1832 (Langkawi), (6088) 259 672 (Kota Kinabalu), (6082) 456 360 (Kuching).
The following goods do not attract any type of customs duties:
- Fountain pens.
- Cigarette lighters (except of plastic).
- Printed books, newspapers and journals.
- Cosmetics (except face powder) and skincare products e.g. lipsticks, eye shadows, moisturisers, skin tonics.
- Manicure preparations e.g. nail polishers and varnishes, varnish removers.
- Portable radios incorporating sound recorder or reproducers (weighing less than 10 kg, with handles/straps and AC/DC powered).
- Pocket watches, wrist watches and clocks.
- Carpets made of jute.
- Photographic cameras, photographic flashbulbs, photographic flashlight apparatus and films in rolls.
- Video tapes (blank or recorded).
- Cinematography cameras, projectors, sound recorders and sound reproducers, for films of less than 16 mm width including cameras for double 8 mm film.
- Video cameras and television cameras.
- Gold coins.
- Fishing equipment (e.g. fishing rods, hooks etc.)
- Golf clubs (complete)
- Racquets eg. tennis, badminton etc.
- Used personal effects.
Visitors may import some goods duty free if they satisfy the following conditions:
- That the articles are imported by the visitor on his person or in his baggage.
- That the visitor satisfies the Customs Officer that he is not normally resident in Malaysia and intends to visit Malaysia for a period of not less than 72 hours. (For Federal Territory of Labuan, the period is 24 hours)
The allowances are:
- Wine, spirits or malt liquor not exceeding 1 litre in all.
- Tobacco not exceeding 225 grams (equivalent to 200 cigarettes)
- Matches not exceeding 100 sticks.
- Cosmetics, soaps and dentifrices, in open containers to a total value not exceeding RM200
- New wearing apparels not exceeding 3 pieces.
- New footwear not exceeding one pair.
- Portable electrically and battery operated appliances for personal care and hygiene not exceeding 1 unit each.
- Dutiable food preparations to a total value not exceeding RM75
- Gifts and souvenirs to a total value not exceeding RM200 (except goods from Langkawi and Labuan, total value not exceeding RM500)
- Portable goods and equipment usually/commonly imported by tourists, foreign press or travel writers for their regular and private use and are intended for reexport.
Visitors who bring in more than the quantity allowed as specified above are required to pay full customs duties on the excess at 30% of the value.
Visitors cannot transfer the benefit of their duty free allowances to another person. Duty free allowances cannot be pooled with the intention of importing articles in excess of the quantity allowed to an individual.
Foreign travel writers and journalists may import equipment that are normally used by travel writers and journalists duty free provided:
- That the goods are identifiable to be normally used by travel writers and journalists in the course of their work.
- That the goods are exported immediately after the completion of such work.
A visitor or tourist may import one motor vehicle or motorcycle duty free, subject to the following conditions:
- That the vehicle has been registered by the authority responsible for registering or licensing such motor vehicles.
- That in the case of a vehicle registered in a foreign country, it shall be exported within three months from the date from import.
- Any other conditions the Director General of Customs may deem fit to impose.
Visitors may bring in duty free trade samples that are not for sale and of no commercial value. They will, however, be required to justify the importation of such samples to the Customs Officer on duty.
Visitors in possession of dutiable goods for personal use which are not exempted from customs duties, may deposit with the customs the amount equivalent to the customs duties payable at the rate of 30% on such goods. Such deposits are refundable upon the visitors departure from the country, provided that the goods are re-exported within three months from the date of importation. The goods are required to be produced at the time of departure to the Customs Officer on duty at the point of exit together with the deposit receipt.
Duty Free Shops are found in most airports and selected major towns in Malaysia. A wide variety of goods are sold at these shops at very competitive prices. Duty free complexes are also found at most entry points. Visitors may purchase duty free items at these complexes but for purchases by arriving visitors the quantity is restricted to the duty free allowances that they are entitled to. (See section under "Allowances for Non-Residents and Residents").
When buying at duty free shops other than at entry points visitors are required to produce their passports and other travel documents.
The importation of the following goods is absolutely prohibited to protect certain industries, prevent the introduction of pests, plant and animal diseases and to control controversial publications:
Any article bearing the imprint or reproduction of any currency note, bank note, or coin which are current or have at any time been issued or current in any country.
Any emblem or device in circumstances which raise a reasonable presumption that such emblem or devise was intended or was likely to be used in a manner prejudicial to the interest of the Federation or to promote or foster a purpose prejudicial to or incompatible with peace, welfare or good order in the Federation.
Cocoa pods, rambutans, pulasan, longan, and nam-nam fruits from the Philippines and Indonesia.
Indecent or obscene prints, paintings, photographs, books, cards, lithographic or other engravings, films, video tapes, laser discs, colour slides, computer diskettes and any other media (including unprocessed films) or any other indecent or obscene articles.
All goods from Haiti.
All genus of Piranha fish.
Daggers and flick knives.
Intoxicating liquors containing any lead or compound of lead or more than 3.46 milligrams per litre, whether in the form of copper or any compound of copper.
Broadcast receivers capable of receiving radio communication within the ranges (68-87) MHz and (108-174) MHz except those designed to receive meteorological broadcasts at spot frequencies (except those for the use of the telecommunication authorities).
Pens, pencils and other articles resembling syringes.
Poisonous chemicals i.e crocidolite, Polybrominated Biphenyls, Poly- chlorinated Biphenyls, Poly- chlorinated Terphenyls and Tris (2,3-dibromopropyl) Phosphate.
Cloth bearing the imprint or reproduction of any verses of the Quran.
All multicolour copying machines including Rank Xerox 6500, Canon NP Colour T and Ricoh Colour 500.
- The importation of goods specified below is prohibited except under and by virtue of an import licence:
Any animal or bird, other than a domestic animal or domestic fowl, whether alive or dead or any part thereof including all animals and birds specified in any written law in the Federation.
Meat extracts and meat juices.
Domestic animal, alive or dead or any part thereof, including edible meat offals.
Video machines, excluding game watches and video games for use with television receivers.
Rice and padi including rice flour, rice polishing, rice bran and rice vermicelli.
Radio communications apparatus capable of being used for telecommunication in the frequency band lower than 3000 GHz.
Fireworks (including fire crackers).
Imitation arms including toy guns and toy pistols.
Imitation hand grenades.
Arms and ammunition as defined under the Arms Act 1960, other than personal arms and ammunition imported by bonafide travellers.
Bullet-proof vests, steel helmets and other articles of clothing as protection against attack.
Pests including any vertebrate or invertebrate animal.
Soil including earth, ground or other natural occuring organic and mineral in which plants may be grown.
Safety helmets (except as worn by motor-cyclists or motorcycle pillion riders).
Apparatus or equipment to be attached to or connected to a Public Telecommunication network or system.
Household and agricultural pesticides.
Electrical apparatus for domestic use operating at 50 volts or 120 volts DC and above such as Hi Fi sets, electric smoothing irons, food mixers, hair dryers, rice cookers, television sets, electric kettles etc.
Saccharin and its salts.
Eggs in the shell.
Parabolic antennae for outdoor use.
Pests and organisms which are capable of being injurious to plants.
Milk and milk products.
Animal oils and fats.
Plants including any species of plant or any part thereof whether live or dead.
Toxic and/or hazardous wastes.
Corals, alive or dead.
Apparatus / equipment for the brewing of beer in the home.
The above list is not exhaustive. Kindly consult the Customs Officer on duty if you have any enquiries. Import licences may be obtained from the authorities as stated under the headings Customs (Prohibition of Imports) Order 1988 and Customs (Prohibition of Exports) Order 1988.
Importation of films, laser discs, video tapes and CD Roms requires approval permits from the Film Censorship Board and subject to payment of fees to the National Film Development Corporation (FINAS). After such permit is obtained and fee is paid, Customs will release the goods to be sent to the Film Censorship Board for censorship purposes.
Passengers via air importing films, laser dics, video tapes and CD Roms for personal viewing are not required to follow the above procedure. However, importation of these items are subject to screening by customs before release.
The following can be contacted for further details :
Film Censorship Unit,
Ministry of Home Affairs,
Section ‘C’, 12th Floor, AMDB Building, No.1, Damai Complex,
50400 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Tel: (603) 443 6122
Fax: (603) 443 7564
Corporation National Film Development (FINAS),
Merdeka Studio, Lot 1662,
Batu 6, Hulu Kelang,
Tel: (603) 408 5722
Fax: (603) 407 5216
Dangerous drugs (i.e. morphine, heroin, opium, ganja, etc.) are prohibited from both import and export. The punishment for drug smuggling is the death penalty.
Dangerous drugs can only be imported into the country/exported from the country by virtue of a licence issued by the Ministry of Health, Malaysia.
There is generally no restriction on the export of goods usually purchased by visitors such as wine, spirits, tobacco, cigarettes, cigars, perfume, watches, jewellery, wearing apparels, souvenirs and foodstuff. The following, however, are absolutely prohibited from export:
- Turtle eggs.
- Rattan from Peninsular Malaysia.
The following are some of the goods prohibited from export except by virtue of an export licence :
- Any animal or bird, other than a domestic animal or domestic fowl, whether dead or alive or any part thereof, including all animals and birds specified in any written law in Malaysia.
- Collections and collectors pieces of zoological, botanical, mineralogical, anatomical, historical, archaeo-logical, ethnographic or numismatic interest.
- Live prawns/shrimps/fish.
- Skins and other parts of birds.
- Domestic animal, alive or dead, or any part thereof, including edible meat offals.
- Any species of plant or any part thereof.
- Vegetables, fresh, chilled or frozen in excess of 3 kilograms per consignment.
- All oil palm living tissues.
- Military clothing and equipment.
- Arms and ammunition.
- Antiquities as defined or stated in any written law in Malaysia.
- Meat extracts and meat juices.
- All goods to Israel.
- Corals alive or dead.
- Rice and padi.
- Toxic and hazardous wastes.
The above list again is not exhaustive. Kindly check with the Customs Officer on duty should you have any doubts.