Lengthy Road Notices

April 30, 2006 at 11:15 p04 (Random Observations)

While I was visiting relatives in Malaysia over the weekend, I noticed there were a lot of road notices worded in lengthy Bahasa Melayu. I wonder why there is a need for such lengthy notice if there is equivalent Highway Code that conveys the same message. It is not only taking away drivers' precious attention time, it is also wasting tax payers' money. Furthermore, Malaysia, sandwiched between Thailand and Singapore, has its fair share of daily cross-border drivers who would not be able to read these notices. If the Tourism Board can to tell the world it is "Truly Asia" in English, I don't understand why it can't adopt the same spirit in its road signs. Driving visitors are tourists too, you know. They bring in revenue by paying for goods and services during their stay here.Notices like…

Lebuhraya sedang di naik-taraf, sila pandu dengan berhati-hati (Upgrading work in progress, please drive with caution)

Kawasan zon sekolah sila kurangkan laju (School zone area, please reduce speed)

…are totally unnecessary and can be replaced with International Highway Code signs like



i saw this sign "Banji lalulintas sedang dijalankan, sila pandu dengan perlahan" (Traffic census is being conducted, please drive slowly) between Taiping and Gerik. I scratched my head over this. Isn't it peculiar to ask drivers to slow down for traffic count when you wanted to obtain actual traffic flow data for planning and design purposes?

Maybe this is the tip of an iceberg of what could be…. ahem… this is entirely burung pipit's wild "conspiracy theory"

Malaysia is conducting a feasibility study to tax all cross-border drivers. What bettter way to start than by counting the number of foreign-plate cars in Malaysia to establish a cost-benefit study of such a move. To be counted, you need to slow down enough for counter to read your license plate. This may explain why drivers need to slow down in a traffic census.

Malaysia government wants to certify all cross-border drivers to ensure familiarization with common Malay used in their highways and roads. Something like the undang undang (Highway Code) test drivers took before getting their "L" licenses in Malaysia.

…to ensure all kopi license drivers understand the hazard in front of them as these small and dwindling (I Presume?) group of drivers may not be too familiar with the Highway Code. Pak Lah's way of a more compassionate government?

Whatever it is, lenghty road notices are here to stay. For non-Malay readers, it is time to pick up a bi-lingual guide to Highway Code in Malaysia. One tip here…the ubiquituous blue colour "Jalan Sehala" is not the most common jalan (road) in Malaysia, it is the sign for "One-Way Street".



  1. fantasyflier said,

    *driving along, sees malay wordy sign, takes out malay dictionary, malay thesaurus, common phrases in malay book*
    *sound of screetching brakes, narrowly misses census takers*
    *looks in rear view mirror, sees census taker has wet and browned pants*
    continues journey

  2. See Fei said,

    Hei! if you wanna get the census’ attention, don’t have to try so hard as to run them down. next time you can just get down from your car and ask the census for the malay words, quite pretty these malay gal. if you ask hard enough you may get yourself a walking dictionary…;-)

  3. fantasyflier said,

    wah lau early dun say!!!!!

  4. Leonard said,

    anyway, i seldom read the malay roadsigns….i just keep my eyes open when driving in m’sia….

    the m’sian roads has some traps i.e. suddenly road drivert together and no more way to go…which exit to where is situated at the top of the exit…

    just be careful when i drive in m’sia!

  5. Michael Chua said,

    It’s a problem indeed for someone who doesn’t understand Malay to drvie in Malaysia. It’s similar for ang-mohs driving in places like Hong Kong, Taiwan and China where all the road signs are in Mandarin. There are Chinese-educated Singaporeans who complain about all the road signs here in English they don’t understand. Nevertheless, English is still the most internationally recognised language today. Any country that is serious about attracting tourist dollars and making their country easy for foreigners to navigate in, should all seriously consider using English for its road signs 🙂

  6. See Fei said,

    Right on, Mike. Road signs in major cities in China has romanised pin yin characters to facilitate non-Chinese. It may take awhile for the Malaysian Highway Dept to work together with their Tourism Board.

  7. See Fei said,

    if you are driving in the cities like KL, it can drive you bonkers if you misread the signs. nevertheless, like you say we just have to keep our eyes open all the times.

  8. See Fei said,

    Bro, didn’t know you like malay gal ma!!

  9. mslenglui said,

    i always read those strange digital message from city highway operators like sprint….latest one was “selamat hari pekerja” (happy labour day). for a message like that, want to endanger motorists’ life ah? i thought they always say suppose to keep eyes on the road. some kind of test of temptation ah?

  10. See Fei said,

    we read our sign in sg too cos our highways are littered with gold (EMAS)!

    evaluation, monitoring, anticipation and surveillance SYSTEM yeah!! LOL

  11. LM said,

    errr. didnt they tell u emas stands for … well better dun say here.

    the most important sign to know in malaysia is AWAS

  12. Kimo said,

    AWAS, this has nothing to do with driving signs, this means Asian Women Are Sexy 🙂

    4f: shall we slow down for this “AWAS” 🙂

  13. Bill said,

    LOL. I’ve just attended the talk on the Malaysian Highway Codes in the driving academy today. It’s really making me headache sometimes but as what my friends told me, just based on your common sense and you’ll naturally understand what the road signs mean. Have you ever compared the Malaysian Highway Codes and the UK Highway Codes? Well, you’ll be really surprised on how much different they are from each other! I don’t really like Malay though.

  14. JJ said,

    who cares abt the highway code in m’sia? they got all kinds of rubbish to distract a driver so it’s a waste of time memorising the highway code wif such pathetic road signs.

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