Drone regulations in Malaysia

In this post, you will learn which drone rules currently apply in Malaysia.

In Malaysia, drones are divided into three categories:

  1. Small Unmanned Aircraft System: Drones with a maximum weight of 20 kilograms
  2. Small Unmanned Surveillance Aircraft: Drones that weigh a maximum of 20 kilograms and are equipped with data acquisition devices (such as cameras and microphones).
  3. 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.

Helpful links: DCA

We have researched the listed drone regulations for Malaysia to the best of our knowledge. We can not guarantee the correctness of the information. If you want to be on the safe side, please contact the competent aviation authority. Alternatively, you can also ask the embassy in your country for further information about the regulations. Please leave us a comment when you receive news and/or gain experience with your copter in Malaysia!

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About the author

Since January 2015, we travel around the world. In our backpack we carry a camera drone which we use to capture the best places from a bird’s perspective. First we travelled with a DJI Phantom 2. But now we use a Yuneec Typhoon H. On our blog we share the best tips for you about travelling with a copter. If you have questions about this article or new information, don’t hesitate to leave us a comment!

Discussions

1 2
  • Jean nomaddictives | 10.02.2017

    Just an update on the Malaysia part.
    I have just received an email from DCA Captain.

    Please see below

    Dear Jean,

    You do not need license to operate small UAV for leisure but you do need approval from DCA to use UAV for commercial reason in Malaysia or if you have camera attach to it.

    I doubt that the custom will confiscate the equipment if you are transiting but I could be wrong if the custom has some other requirements that I am aware of.

    Regards,

    Capt Jani
    DCA

    • Francis Markert | 02.03.2017

      cool, thank you for the update! 🙂

  • Jean nomaddictives | 10.02.2017

    Now, from the Malaysia customs.
    Please see below

    Dear Valued Customer,

    Thank you for using Customs Call Centre service.

    Referring to your inquiry for Ticket Number : CAS-552766-N6Q2X4 
    For your information, bringing drone into Malaysia is not listed under a prohibited item. Therefore, we have no restriction on your inquiry.
    Thank you.

    • Francis Markert | 02.03.2017

      Perfect! 🙂 We have flown several times to Malaysia and had no problems.

    • Mainul Hussain | 10.06.2018

      Hello I’m flying to Bali via Malaysia from London will I have problems carrying my Mavic pro on board??

  • Ahmed | 13.06.2017

    Can I take a drone Mavic DJI into Malaysia?
    Thank you

    • Francis Markert | 21.06.2017

      Yes you can! 🙂

      • Ty Sinclair | 11.12.2017

        Will we run into any problems in the Kuala Lumpur airport without a permit

  • Lee | 20.06.2017

    I am a Malaysian and I own a DJI phantom 3. Early January 2016 (take note: this was during Jan 2016) , I called up Malaysia’s DCA and asked questions regarding flying a Drone, the phantom 3 specifically. The DCA staffs are really incompetent regarding the matter as it is still a fairly new thing in Malaysia itself i guess. They passed me on calls after calls to different agents and finally, one guy told me that I have to get approval for 20kg and above. I asked if mine was below 20kg, do I still need a permit for flying? The agent told me to apply for permit somehow and to make a visit to fill up some documentations. I did my research at that time (Jan 2016), and read through the list (the ones posted above here), it is not very specific but its clear enough regarding the rules and regulations. I asked Drone enthusiast or quadcopter enthusiast (hobby people) in Malaysia and they said otherwise about applying for a permit at the moment if its not for earning or commercial. I even consulted DJI Malaysia which was newly set up in the middle of 2016, and they told me it is safe to fly as long as you follow the guidelines. It was as the author stated above, It is safe as long as you follow the above guidelines (until further notice). Personally, even until 2017 at this moment, I am still flying my drone. Do your research of the area before flying, take note of parking lots which can be a good flying and landing spot. Watch out for airports and crowded area and tall buildings. Also watch out for LRT as well, it gives out lots of magnetic interference which can cause your GPS to go haywire. Happy flying~

    • Francis Markert | 21.06.2017

      Hello Lee, thank you so much for your comment! I really appreciate it! Best regards, Francis

  • Drone Solutions | 25.06.2017

    Regulations are not a bad thing, just need to be clearly defined.

    • Francis Markert | 17.01.2018

      I totally agree with you 🙂

  • Sam | 08.07.2017

    Hi,

    So the golden question is, do you need a permit to fly a drone in malaysia or malaysian borneo? I have a small parrot bebop 2. I really can’t seem to find any consistent information about this topic

    Thanks

    • Francis Markert | 17.01.2018

      Hi Sam,
      It depends on your planned flights. But for most pilots, the answer is: no. Best regards, Francis

  • Calvin | 28.07.2017

    I facing flying distance limit problem, height limit at 30m, distance 30m.
    I’ve tried:
    -Beginner mode off
    -Distance limitation off
    -Height set to 100m
    -Maximum distance set to 100m
    -flied in A mode also have same issue.
    -Fly in simulation also face same problem.
    -Fly far away from restriction area also facing same problem.
    Anything face this before, please advise. Thanks

    • alireza | 30.10.2017

      easy just sign in dji account

  • Kay | 03.10.2017

    Their info about Drone regulation in Malaysia aren’t clear enough. They could be very helpful if their website and information be updated so that we able and get a clear guides what we should do. I registered my when I was in US (under FAA regulation), the FAA info are way too helpful and we can even do it online registration. It makes life easy to fly our drones there.

    • Francis Markert | 17.01.2018

      Thanks for sharing the link! 🙂

  • Bogdan Musk | 13.02.2018

    I just was talking with a man who usually does it here. He said that you need a license. I bought Mavic Pro 2 weeks ago in China and I can’t use it anywhere.

  • Jess | 27.02.2018

    Hi Francis,
    I have recently bought a GoPro Karma drone and will be doing some travelling in the next few weeks. I will be visiting Malaysia, Australia and South Korea (transiting through Dubai) and wondered if you have ever had any problems carrying your drone through security and customs? From what I can read the drone laws are fairly similar – keep your drone within sight, don’t fly near restricted air spaces and don’t film people without consent but I’m just panicking that for whatever reason I may have difficulty at customs. Any advice? Thanks!

    • Ty Sinclair | 01.03.2018

      I flew my Mavic Pro in Ho Chi Minh and well it never came back. Fly in the country. Don’t fly in cities. Airports are usually good through customs. I’ve heard of people getting them confiscated and denang airport but all the other ones in Vietnam and Malaysia were fine.

    • Francis Markert | 28.03.2018

      Hi Jess,
      No, we never had any problem during our travels. Have a nice trip!

  • Devika Chohan | 24.03.2018

    Hi

    We bought a Drone Mavic Air yesterday from Malaysia. It’s is under 20kg category .
    Just wanted to know are we allowed to carry back to India with us ?
    Also Should we keep it in Check in Baggage or Cabin Bag ?

    • Francis Markert | 28.03.2018

      Hi Devika,
      as far as I know, drones are not allowed in India: https://drone-traveller.com/drone-laws-india/
      However, we always carry our drones in the cabin bag. Best regards, Francis

    • Don | 02.04.2018

      Hi ..
      Can u please let us know what did u do with ur drone on way back to india?

      Did customs allow u in india ?

  • SL | 05.04.2018

    May I know if i am allowed to bring Drone (Mavic Air) to Maldives for vacation? Will there be any difficulties when go out or come back to Malaysia?

    • Desmond Child | 19.04.2018

      just place ur batteries in ur hand carry bag…DO NOT CHECK IN ANY BATTERIES EVEN CONTROLLER…u will be fine to be OUT and IN of Malaysia but also depends on the Air Carrier …better ring up the AC company u are going to take to make sure…cos some restrict certain aH and quantity of batteries u can bring…..

      • G | 20.06.2018

        Hi all,

        I just read on the site of Malysia Airlines that drones are not permitted as cabin bagage as well as check in bagage. This is really a new post on the 23th of may 2018. I really do not like this post on their website, cause lithium batteries are still aloud. Has anyone new experiences at the AirPort starting from this day? Im really curious then!!! 🙂 hope your drone Will not be taken…

        This is the link of the MA site:
        https://mhcare.malaysiaairlines.com/faq/s/article/Can-i-bring-a-drone?language=en_US

        Kind greetings,
        Gertjan the Netherlands

        • Varun | 06.07.2018

          I looked at the same post. Right now I am in Malaysia, KL and just come back from Beautiful Malaka. I found as long as you carry the drone batteries in a Lipo safe bag (can buy in amazon) you should be fine. It basically reduces/seals the explosion/fire in the bag. This is probably never going to happen however it is for safety. Don’t however carry them in hand luggage. And also don’t declare them especially if you go to a country with a suspicion of corruption. This happened to me in India but luckily I knew the boss of security at The airport. They may conviscate it, or ask for money. Just be careful.
          And also when flying drone if a policeman or security personnel comes up to you just play it cool. Don’t look them in the eyes and immediately land the drone. And then if he/she starts to try and grab the drone just run. Of if you are surrounded just be sensible and give it up.
          Hope this helps
          Varun
          14
          UK

          • Gertjan the dutchie | 06.07.2018

            Thanks for sharing, im more relaxed now 🙂

            To safe the lithium batteries in a lipo bag is a good tip. The restrictions with MA are clear on their website. But why put them in the check in bagage? I also read on the site that these batteries have to go in cabin-bagage… so thats confusing 🙁

            Do you also have a DJi spark or weightless drone? Maybe MA is strict with heavy drones or something..

            Kind greetingssss

  • Cell beat | 30.05.2018

    It’s actually good to have regulations. Atleast they can help your privacy a little.

  • Gertjan the Dutchie | 18.06.2018

    Dear all,

    Im going to Australié end of october and travel with malysia airlines. I just read the policy of MA on there site:

    https://mab-community.force.com/faq/s/article/Can-i-bring-a-drone?language=en_US

    This is a post at the 23th of May. I really don’t like this new post. Is there anyone with experiences after this date with travelling a drone with MA?

    Hope we can!!!

    Very kind greetingsss

    • Varun Mahatme | 06.07.2018

      Yes. I flew with British Airways. But if you carry in a LIPO safe bag (can buy on amazon or drone sites) for the Lipo batteries. You should be fine. There is no need to declare it and if you do they then might convoscate it.
      Any more questions reply here.
      Varun
      14
      UK

  • Vossn | 27.08.2018

    Can i dive the petronas towers with an fpv racing drone? And fly in that area with a mavic ? Does it fall under one of the restricted areas

    • Eye | 14.09.2018

      Petronas Towers is one of the hot spot for many Pro Base Jumping unfortunately but no one has done with drone yet.

      Tho there’s some laws regarding drones here, but regulations is not that tight yet.

      So if anyone flew-in with drones it will be allowed, no confiscation at the airport whatsoever, no worries..

      Drones under 20kg do not need any specific authorization from DCA (Department of Civil Aviation)
      but every drone flyer must comply to the conditions as mentioned above in the tread.

      I love the Dji Marvic Pro and would cost US800 quite expensive…hope to get one. 🙂

      _________________________________________________

  • cc | 09.09.2018

    May I know if i am allowed to bring Drone (Mavic Air) to Japan (Tokyo) for vacation? Will there be any difficulties when go out or come back to Malaysia?

  • Amran Yahaya | 19.09.2018

    Hi Francis, thank you for updating us on all the drone regulations around the world. For those interested to fly in Malaysia, although there are regulations, I heard that the the authorities are still quite relaxed and not too strict, as long as you adhere to NFZ (can check on Hover App), do not invade privacies or fly recklessly. I would not recommend flying in the city centre without prior approval. Many people had flown in KL city centre and even in between the Petronas Towers and over the metro trains (please see links). As much as we enjoy the video clips and appreciate the enthusiasm, such an act would only make the authorities become strict and make it difficult for recreational and non commercial flyers. I hope I’m wrong because honestly, I envy them and I truly enjoy the footage 🙂

    Welcome to Malaysia!

    https://youtu.be/45D3rx3BIv0
    https://youtu.be/v958IHN6bck

  • Ricardo De Albuquerque Cardoso | 25.01.2019

    a drone like mavic pro needs authorization as you can read on the article 6 but i-m still confused as how to apply for this license
    http://www.dca.gov.my/aviation-professionals/faq/faq-on-unmanned-aircraft-system-uas/

  • Zulhaili | 02.03.2019

    Dear Sir,
    Can drone carry on the flight in Malaysia?

  • G | 13.03.2019

    Hi Zulhaily,

    2 weeks ago i took my drone (spark) on a flight with MA from KLumpur to Melbourne. I didnt had troubles luckily :). I put it in my check inn bagage and the lithiums in the cabin bagage. Just cover it all good, and hope you Will be fine

    • ricardo cardoso | 01.05.2019

      Checked in my drone in MA flight from KL to Singapore, Done this without a problem too. Did this because I had no idea about MA Drone policy and had already bought the ticket and DHL didn’t want to send the drone because Singapore customs would not allow it (not checked if true)
      Watch my Batucaves, Kuala Lumpur video:
      https://vimeo.com/icanfilmthat/batucaves

  • Mohd Noor | 15.03.2019

    I want to order a drone from ebay, do i need a permit to import it, i worried the custom will confiscate my drone, if i dont have an import permit, cheers from miri

  • traffic tickets lawyers | 24.04.2019

    but it may surprise you to know that Australia was actually the first country in the world to implement operational regulations for unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) way back in 2002. What was really cool is that this also covered rocket operations.
    Thanks.

  • Millie | 13.05.2019

    So just to confirm, insurance isn’t mandatory for flying a commercial drone in Malaysia?

  • qualitative research company in Japan | 04.09.2019

    but it may surprise you to know that Australia was actually the first country in the world to implement operational regulations for unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) way back in 2002. What was really cool is that this also covered rocket operations.
    Thanks

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