Road & Safety Sign Boards in Malaysia: What Do They Mean?

Some drivers might not realize this, but the road and safety signs in Malaysia actually have different meanings and functions according to their shape, font size, signboard color, placement, and symbol.

In Malaysia, these are standardized road signs similar to those used in Europe but with certain distinctions. They are placed in areas that are clearly visible to guide, warn, prohibit, or inform road users.

road signs

The language used for the road and safety signs boards is mainly Bahasa Melayu, but English is also used for important areas such as tourist attractions, airports, railway stations, and immigration checkpoints.

We already know that these sign boards have different meanings and functions, but what are they exactly? Let’s find out!

5 Different Types of Safety Signs in Malaysia

Here’s a deep dive into the different types of road signs in Malaysia and how they are differentiated by their color.

Types of road signs Road sign background color Meaning
Regulatory Sign Red/Blue
  • Provide information on traffic laws and regulations.
  • Divided into prohibition sign and mandatory sign.
Warning Sign Yellow
  • Indicates warning on road conditions ahead or adjacent to.
Guide Sign Blue/Green/Brown/White/Yellow
  • Indicates direction or distance to a destination, road, public service buildings, tourist attractions, popular locations, as well as highways and expressways.
  • Blue background is used for federal roads, state roads, and municipal roads. It also indicates the road is toll-free.
  • Green background is used for toll expressways or highways.
Temporary Sign Orange
  • Used during construction or road maintenance.
Information Sign Blue/Brown/White/Yellow/Green/Red
  • Used to indicate additional information regarding the road. For example the name of the road ahead, the road you are linked to, the name of nearby tourist attractions or historical places,  city or kampung names, the name of public buildings or government-related premises, warning messages on road conditions ahead, as well as the type of amenities you will find on the road ahead such as fuel stations, police stations, or hospitals, as well as its distance.

1. Regulatory Road Signs (Red, White & Black)

Regulatory Road Signs Regulatory Road signs

These signs are placed at various locations throughout the road, and road users must follow these signs. These mandatory road signs are the most important ones that you need to know to ensure you abide by traffic regulations and rules. 

They consist of round, square, triangle, and sometimes even hexagon shaped signs with white backgrounds and can have red borders, and black or blue pictograms as well. Some mandatory signs which fall under this same category also have blue backgrounds and white pictograms.

2. Warning Road Signs (Red, Yellow, or Black)

warning signboards warning signboards warning signboards

These warning signs are to provide information on road conditions in front of or adjacent that could be dangerous to road users. These are often in red, yellow, or black and are diamond-shaped.

3. Guide Road Signs

(Blue, Green, Brown, White, or Yellow)

Guide road signs are used to show directions or the distance to a destination (in km). It is usually in blue, green, brown, white, or yellow.

4. Information Road Signs (Blue & White)

Imformation Roadsigns

Information road signs are the ones that you would see most frequently used in Malaysia as they provide road users with general information about the road that they are using and the road ahead. These signs are usually in blue and white.

5. Constructions/Temporary Road Signs (Orange & Black)

Temporary Road Signs

These road signs are used when constructions or road maintenances are taking place temporarily. These signs are usually in orange and black.

Other Relevant Road Signs in Malaysia

Blue Sign Boards

papan tanda berwarna biru

According to the road category under 333 Act, The Malaysian Road Transport Act 1987, chapter 67, blue signboards are used for federal, state, and municipal roads.

Green Sign Boards

papan tanda berwarna hijau

Green sign boards are used for toll expressways or highways in Malaysia only.

Federal Roads/Highway Sign Boards

jalan persekutuan

The Federal Road System is the country’s main road network. Federal roads are usually labeled with route number shields like Federal Road 1. Apart from roads, several highways funded by the federal government such as the Federal Highway and the Skudai Highway are also known as federal roads.

There are different types of Federal Roads in Malaysia, which include:

  • Main Federal Roads – available in Peninsular Malaysia, Sabah, and Sarawak.
  • FELDA/FELCRA Federal Roads – found in FELDA and FELCRA estates in Peninsular Malaysia and certain locations in Sarawak.
  • Industrial Areas – access to industrial areas in Peninsular Malaysia and certain locations in Sarawak.
  • Entrance to the Regional Development Authority (LKW).
  • Federal Territory Designated (FD) Roads that have been gazetted.
  • Federal Institutions/Institutional Facilities – access to federal institutional facilities such as universities, institutes, military bases, airports, radio frequency stations, hospitals, tourist attractions, and more.
Information Number Digits
Main federal route number 001 – 249
Institutional facilities federal routes 250 – 479
Federal road exit numbers EXIT 1 – EXIT 99
EXIT 201 – EXIT 29
Main federal route numbers
(Sarawak)
1-1 – 1-59
3-1 – 3-99
Main federal route number
(Sabah)
A01 – A99
Main federal route number
(Labuan)
700 – 799
 FELDA/FELCRA federal route number 1000 – 1999
2000 – 2999
Industrial federal route numbers 3000 – 3999

State Roads Sign Boards

jalan negeri

In general, state roads and federal roads use the same standard signs. State roads are funded by the state governments through their respective Public Works Departments (JKR). The state road system uses a letter of the alphabet for its route number.

State Code State
A Perak
B Selangor
C Pahang
D Kelantan
J Johor
K Kedah
M Melaka
N Negeri Sembilan
P Penang
R Perlis
SA Sabah
T Terengganu

‘E” Code Sign Boards

kadar tol lebuh raya di malaysia

The letter ‘E’ is an abbreviation for Expressway which is also known as highway in Malaysia. The boards for these expressways and highways are green and are only suitable for expressways and highways with tolls. These signboards have –

  • JKR hexagon-shaped highway shield with expressway/highway code signs that are black and yellow.
  • Green with white signs for major destinations.

Signboards with Yellow Words

huruf kuning papan tanda jalan raya

These signboards usually refer to the name of a certain road.

Signboards with White Words

huruf putih papan tanda jalan raya

The white words refer to the names of cities and areas.

Signboards with White Words and Maroon Background

papan tanda kawasan pelancongan

These signboards refer to a tourist destination. White signboards with green letters also indicate the location of tourist attractions.

Important Signboards

important signs

White with black letters for towns and other settlements. Green with orange letters for government institutions.

Border Signboards

border signs border signs

Border signs in Malaysia are green for international and state while blue is for the district.

The Arrangement of Destinations on Signboards

susunan lokasi pada papan tanda jalan raya

Destinations on signboards are arranged according to distance. The nearest location is placed at the very top, while the furthest location is placed at the very bottom.

Fun Facts on Malaysian Highways

  • Longest highway: North-South Highway (966 km)
  • Busiest highway: Federal Highway (Daily traffic volume of around 1,366,071)
  • The oldest highway tunnel: Genting Sempah Tunnel on the Karak Highway
  • Longest highway tunnel: SMART E38 Tunnel (4km)
  • Longest highway bridge: Sultan Abdul Halim Muadzam Shah Bridge (23.37km)
  • The second-longest highway bridge: Penang Bridge (13.5km)
  • Toll booths with the most lanes: Sultan Abdul Halim Muadzam Shah Bridge Toll with 28 lanes

With that, we wish you a pleasant and safe trip on your journeys ahead. 

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*Images in this article are sourced from Wikipedia.