It’s never uncommon to see cars on the road having some kind of “fancy” number plates on the road, with those getting in trouble with the police.

The Standard for Plates

Malaysian plates are traditionally White Alphabets and Numbers over a Black Frame, based on the number plate formats of pre-1932 United Kingdom plates. Some exceptions are those for taxis and limousines which have Black Alphabets and Numbers over a White Frame, and for diplomats they use White Alphabets and Numbers over a Red Frame.

What are the standards?

According to the latest standards released by JPJ (Malaysia’s Road Transport Department in 2016, the standard for car number plates are as follows:

  1. Visibility

Number plates must be displayed at the front and back of the car, where your number plate must be visible by at least 75 feet (approx. 2.3 meters) during the day, and at least 60 feet (approx. 1.8 meters) during the night.

  1. Alphabet and Number Placement

Alphabets and Numbers on your plate can be displayed in a single-row or double-row format (mostly depending on the number plate frame of your car), whereas for double-row plates your main alphabets must be on the top row, with numbers and secondary alphabets on the bottom row.


single row

  1. Alphabet and Number Size & Spacing

For alphabets and numbers, their width must be 40mm x 70mm of height, with lines having a 10mm thickness. Spacing between letter and numbers are 10mm, with the breaks going from alphabets to numbers being 30mm.

source: JPJ

It is also required to have at least 10mm of space between the frame and the contents, and if your number plate is two rows the spacing between the rows will also need to be 10mm.

source: JPJ

The fonts used in number plates are supposedly FMT (Factory Manufactured Type) which is only available physically and not digitally, and JPJ’s website lists the fonts used as Franklin Gothic Bold for normal alphabets and numbers, and Calisto MT Italic for special alphabets.

Fancy number plates

Some people will customize their number plates to look nicer, also known as “fancy” plates. They will use different fonts, transparent or shiny white for their letters and numbers, and also place their alphabets and numbers close together to make their number plates look like words.

If found in violation of the law, those that equip “fancy” number plates can be fined from RM 300 up to RM 3000, and to also change back their plate to the standard design.