In this post, you will learn which drone rules currently apply in Malaysia.
In Malaysia, drones are divided into three categories:
- Small Unmanned Aircraft System: Drones with a maximum weight of 20 kilograms
- Small Unmanned Surveillance Aircraft: Drones that weigh a maximum of 20 kilograms and are equipped with data acquisition devices (such as cameras and microphones).
- Unmanned Aircraft System Of More Than 20kg: All other drones weighing more than 20 kg
Different regulations apply based on the category. The usual camera drones like the DJI Mavic Pro or the DJI Phantom 4 fall into the second category. Such drones do not require further permission, as long as the following maneuvers are not performed:
- Drone flights over designated areas (areas for residential, commercial, industrial and recreational purposes)
- Drone flights within 150 meters of each designated area
- Drone flights over outdoor crowds of more than 1,000 people
- Drone flights within a distance of 150 meters from every outdoor gathering of more than 1000 persons
- Drone flights within 50 meters of any ship, vehicle or structure that is not under the control of the person responsible for the aircraft
- Drone flights within 50 meters of each person
- Drone flights within 30 meters of each person during takeoff or landing
If any of the listed items apply to you, you will need a permit from the Department of Civil Aviation (DCA). The license costs 250 RM.
General rules for drones in Malaysia
Maximum flight altitude: The maximum permitted height of ascent is at 120 meters (400 feet) in Malaysia.
Maximum horizontal distance and FPV: Drone flights are only allowed within the visibility in Malaysia. FPV flights can be carried out under certain conditions by experienced pilots.
Compulsory insurance: We recommend you the taking out of an aviation liability insurance for drone operations in Malaysia.
Maximum take-off weight (MTOW): An authorization is required from a weight of 20 kilograms.
Distance to airports: You have to keep 4,5 kilometers (3 miles) distance to airports and heliports.
Other safe distances: A distance of 50 meters shall be maintained to other persons, vehicles, boats, and buildings.
Flight bans: Drone flights are not allowed near crowds (more than 1.000 persons).
Flight approval: To obtain a flight permit, you have to submit some documents. Amongst other things, you need training evidence and the declaration of consent of the landowners.
Time of operations: Generally, flights are only permitted in daylight.
Regulations for commercial pilots: Commercial flights must be approved by the Department of Civil Aviation. The permit costs 800 RM for the first year. The extension of the license costs 500 RM per year.