There are lots of things that are great about Malaysia. The delicious food, the variety of cultures of the people, the fantastic places to visit, and did I mention the food?

One of the challenges of staying in Malaysia is the transportation. If you have stayed here for any length of time, you’ll know what I mean!

There is a severe lack of reliable public transportation in Malaysia, even if you stay in the capital city of Kuala Lumpur. It is not that we don’t have public transportation – we do! And yes, we have a variety, including taxis, buses, even trains. In fact, we have so many different companies offering these services, you would think that we are spoilt for choice. For instance, we have THREE different train services – the LRT (light rail transit), MRT (mass rail transit), and KTM (Keretapi Tanah Melayu).

To give credit where it’s due, the LRT and MRT are not so bad compared to the notoriously late KTM. Having said though, the issue with LRT and MRT is not that they are unreliable, but rather, their reach is less – not all places have stops.

The unreliable public transportation services have given rise to private driving services in the past many years, leading to Uber (which no longer operates in Malaysia) and our homegrown Grab (which is now a super app that has become the gold standard in various gig economies).

So… do we still need our own vehicle? Like it or not, for most of us, it is still an unfortunate yes. Even if it leads to more cars on the road, leading to traffic jams, many of us still need our own vehicles. Whether it’s for work (going to meet clients, doing home services like repairs or tutor work, etc) or personal (lots of shopping to do for the family), public transportation is not always the right choice for some of us.

Is it a good time to buy a car though? Well, I am not an expert in automobile purchases, but when it comes down to it, there is never a “good time” to buy a car – it is more of a “do you need a car now?”

Throughout Covid-19, most of us stayed at home and worked from home, and there was no need for us to hit the road; but now that businesses have reopened and life has kind of gone back to the old normal (the only difference is now we’re wearing masks), we need to travel again.

When it comes to buying a car, there are several things to consider, including the reliability of the car (will it break down often?) and of course the look (do I look sexy in it???). However, like it or not, it always comes down to our budget: the initial cost of the car, as well as the cost of maintaining the car (monthly service, cost of repairs, and cost of spare parts).

Fortunately for us in Malaysia, we do have affordable cars as we have two local car brands (our famous PROTON and the highly reliable PERODUA), and they are quite dependable. And even though the imported cars have a high import tax, they are still within the affordable range.

Like buying a house, we don’t have to pay for a car all in cash, as there are many banks which offer automobile loans, and we are spoilt for choice.

However, it is highly encouraged that you shop around and not pick a loan just because it is the closest to you or is a bank you’re currently using or because your friend is the loan officer. Different banks offer different rates, so it would be a good idea to find out which bank can give you a good rate.

Loans are not only available for new cars, but for used cars as well; and you can get loans for other vehicles such as motorcycles, vans and buses (if you really need one!!!).

If you need to work out whether the monthly payment is something that you can afford, here is a really good online car loan calculator that you can use.

Car loans in Malaysia currently range from 2.50%-4.45%, with loan tenure available up to 9 years.

Loans are protected under Bank Negara Malaysia, so make sure you take a loan from a registered bank!

Car loan interest rates as of 2022 in Malaysia. Taken from

Header image credit: Traffic jam photo created by freepik –