In Malaysia, drones are divided 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 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!