Drone Laws in Malaysia

Agencies Responsible for regulating drones in Malaysia

 

Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia (CAAM)

CAAM Drone Flight Approval Application Forms


UAS Laws – General rules for flying drones in Malaysia

The Malaysian agency responsible for drone safety, CAAM, has provided a number of internet-accessible details on flying a drone for fun or for work. The highlights are enumerated below. For more details, go to the links above.

Are drones allowed in Malaysia?

According to CAAM, drones are allowed in Malaysia, subject to CAAM regulations. Read on for details.

Here are the most important rules to know for flying a drone in Malaysia:

In Malaysia, drones are classified 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 more than 20kg: All other drones weighing more than 20 kg

Regulations vary according to category. For example, the second category includes standard camera drones such as the DJI Mavic and Phantom. 

Further authorization is not required for such drones if the following maneuvers are avoided:

  • From a weight of 20 kilograms, authorization is required. 
  • In Malaysia, the maximum permitted ascent height is 120 meters (400 feet). 
  • Flights of drones over designated areas (areas for residential, commercial, industrial, and recreational purposes) 
  • In Malaysia, drone flights are permitted only within visual range. However, under certain conditions, experienced pilots can conduct FPV flights. 
  • Within 150 meters of each designated area, drone flights 
  • We strongly advise you to obtain aviation liability insurance before conducting drone operations in Malaysia. 
  • Drone flights over crowds of more than 1,000 people in open spaces 
  • Drone flights within 150 meters of any outdoor gathering of over 1000 people 
  • Drone flights within 50 meters of any ship, vehicle, or structure that is not under the pilot’s control 
  • Drone flights are restricted to a radius of 50 meters around each person. 
  • During takeoff and landing, drones fly within 30 meters of each person. 
  • You must maintain 4.5 kilometers (3 miles) from airports and heliports. 
  • Flights are permitted only during daylight hours.

If you meet any of the criteria listed above, you will require a license from the Department of Civil Aviation (DCA). 

250 RM is the cost of the permit.

Information about Drone permits in Malaysia

Before applying for a CAAM permit, you must first obtain permission from the landowner whose property you intend to fly over. Additionally, depending on your circumstances, you may need to get the following documents:

  • A letter of approval from JUPEM, or Jabatan Ukur dan Pemetaan Malaysia, is required for any drone activity involving aerial mapping, aerial photography, filming, or videography. The application fee is RM 50. 
  • A letter from the CGSO, or Chief Government Security Office, authorizing the pilot to fly in no-fly zones such as Putrajaya. 
  • A letter of approval from the Sabah or Sarawak Chief Minister, depending on which state you will be flying. 
  • For foreign drone pilots, an approval letter from the MCMC or Malaysia Communications and Multimedia Commission.

Please keep in mind that your application to CAAM must be submitted at least 14 working days before your scheduled flight date, or it will be rejected.

The Permit Application fees are as follows:

  • For drones 20kg and below: RM 250
  • For drones above 20kg: RM 1000

The permit is valid for a maximum of three months, based on the dates of operation specified in your application. 

How to get a Standard Authorization to Fly Drones in Malaysia?

If your UAS activity is flown not categorized as Special UAS Project, Agricultural UAS Operations, flown within Visual Line of Sight in Class G Airspace and utilizing less than 20 kilograms of UA. Then most likely, you will require to submit the Standard Application to achieve your Authorization to Fly.

The Application form can be found here: Malaysia Standard Authorization Application Form.

The completed application form and required supporting documents shall be sent to drone.atf@caam.gov.my at least fourteen (14) days before the proposed activity date. CAAM reserves the right to reject an incomplete or late submission.

Penalties

If the person is an individual, they may be fined not more than fifty thousand ringgit or imprisoned for not more than three years, or both. 

If the person is a body corporate, they may be fined not more than one hundred thousand ringgits.


Notes for recreational drone pilots flying for fun in Malaysia

Recreational drone use does not require a drone permit. 

You do not require authorization if you intend to fly a small unmanned aircraft system. However, you must ensure that you can maintain direct and unaided visual contact with the aircraft long enough to monitor its flight path to other aircraft, persons, vehicles, vessels, and structures to avoid collisions.

Authorization from the Director-General is REQUIRED if the person in charge of the small unmanned aircraft system intends to fly the small unmanned aircraft system:

  • within an aerodrome traffic zone
  • at the height of more than 400 feet above ground

Follow the general rules listed above, but check for updates by visiting the regulator’s links provided.


Notes for operating Commercial Drone Services in Malaysia

To fly a UAS for aerial work, you need authorization from the Director-General. 

Aerial work is an aircraft operation in which an aircraft is used to provide specialized services such as agriculture, construction, photography, surveying, observation and patrol, search and rescue, and aerial advertisement. 

  • Registration of small unmanned aircraft and small uncrewed surveillance aircraft is NOT required. 
  • Registration of unmanned aircraft systems weighing more than 20kg is REQUIRED. 

Each authorization requires additional direct payment to the authority.

To use drones for aerial work, you must also apply for and maintain an aerial work certificate:

  • New application: RM 800
  • Renewal of aerial work certificate: RM 500 per year
  • Modification of existing certificate: RM 250

Follow the general rules listed above, but check for updates by visiting the regulator’s links provided.


Useful published information on flying drones in Malaysia

Here is a sample of what you might expect if you follow the drone laws and fly in Malaysia…

NOTE: Small Unmanned Aerial Systems (SUAS), Small UAS, Remote Piloted Aerial Systems (RPAS), unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), Unmanned Aerial System (UAS), and drone are interchangeable terms unless specified. Model aircraft, toy aircraft, Remote controlled aircraft, and RC aircraft may be covered by the same regulations unless specified.


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Click here to read our Comprehensive Guide For Traveling With A Drone



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IMPORTANT NOTE

The content on this site is collated by volunteers from public general information. This material is not presented as legal advice of any kind, and we cannot guarantee that the information is accurate, complete, or up-to-date. Do not substitute the information you find here for legal advice from a licensed attorney who is authorized to practice in the jurisdiction. When in doubt, contact the local aviation authority responsible for drone safety, utilize a licensed drone service operator, and/or consult a qualified attorney.

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11 thoughts on “Drone Laws in Malaysia”

  1. Hello all,
    I’m wondering if i’m a youtuber and I just want to fly the drone to take some fancy footage, do I need to obtain a license or get a permit for that? or just avoid what mentioned and fly it?

    Reply
  2. The list of “maneuvers” below is from your website. The sentence which precedes it says that further authorization is not required. Yet the sentence which immediately follows says that a licence is needed for any of them.
    ===============================
    Further authorization is not required for such drones if the following maneuvers are avoided:

    – From a weight of 20 kilograms, authorization is required.
    – …

    – Flights are permitted only during daylight hours.

    If you meet any of the criteria listed above, you will require a license from the Department of Civil Aviation (DCA).
    =======================================
    Can we have this clarified?

    Reply
    • Ng Thanks for the question.
      It’s unfortunate the way the law is written by the authorities.
      If you don’t do any of those during your flight (“following maneuvers are avoided”) you do not need authorization. So if you are under 20kg and flying during daylight hours and all the other criteria, then no authorization is required.
      If however, you will be “meeting any of the criteria” for example your flight will be “over crowds of more than 1,000 people in open spaces,” then you will need authorization.
      Hope that makes sense.
      If it continues to be confusing, we may add a clarification section. Let us know.

      Reply
  3. Hi,
    i have seen this drone wandering on top of the factory at night for days.
    is there any law that can protect us? because they seem to be intruding our privacy.
    or can i make a police report about this drone or whatsoever?

    Reply

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