In a good number of jobs, you carry goods around as part of your work. This doesn’t necessarily only mean the transporting professions who ferry products across large distances, you might carry some tools and equipment in your car to make sure you can get things done, such as if you’re a videographer carrying camera and lighting equipment.
Keep imagining being that videographer. You’re driving on the highway to your next shoot location, and you get stopped by the police. They inspect your car, find your equipment, and they SAMAN you!
Wait what - why…??
You need a license to carry goods around in your vehicle
You might be wondering at this point: “What on earth did I do wrong? What’s so illegal about carrying camera equipment around??” It’s not hanging out of your car or endangering other road users, so why did you get a summons?
Well, there is nothing wrong with it - if you have a goods vehicle license.
Remember the company address you see on the side of lorries and trucks, complete with a black imprint stating their weight limit like this?
That’s something they get under the Commercial Vehicles Licensing Board Act 1987 (CVLBA), which requires them to get a license to transport goods around. This doesn’t just apply to trucks hauling loads of Yakult or furniture on board. It applies to anyone who is carrying around equipment as part of their profession as well, whether you’re driving a lorry, trailer, or a car. We’ve had this law for a long time, and here are the rules behind how exactly it works.
There are 2 types of licenses for goods vehicles
The two licenses are carrier’s license A and carrier’s license C.
License A let’s you use the vehicle to carry goods for hire or reward (meaning you’re being paid for them) in connection with a trade or business where you are a carrier of goods.
License C let’s you use the vehicle to carry your own goods for a trade or business of yours. You cannot use this license to deliver goods unless you sold them to someone and are delivering.
In short, you need license A for a transportation lorry, and you need license C to carry your work equipment in your car regularly. You’ll also note that this definition also means you will not need to apply for a license if you are bringing home Ikea furniture, or even if you happen to be bringing a ladder over to a friend’s house to help them out - you only need a license to carry stuff in connection with a trade, profession, or business of yours.
There are some exceptions which clarify that you won’t need a license for certain trade/business activities:
Collecting or delivering goods that you bought, sold, used, or let on hire purchase
Collecting or delivering goods which will undergo a process or treatment
Carrying goods in a vehicle as a manufacturer, agent, or dealer to conduct product demonstrations
Equipment that’s ordinarily carried around in a car (like a car wrench and jack)
There are also some other exceptions you can find under Section 34 of the CVLBA, such as police cars, ambulances, funeral cars, and towing vehicles.
You might need to record a few metrics to get your license renewed
These licenses can last up to 7 years before you need to renew. You’ll want to apply for the renewal before the date of expiry or risk losing your license. And according to Section 21A of the CVLBA, you’ll also want to keep track of some metrics when using your goods vehicle as part of some documents required for the license renewal:
Your audited financial statement
A performance report of the previous year for
The total number of passengers carried
The total number of operation and revenue mileage
The total actual number of trips the vehicle has made
The estimated number of vehicles required for you to provide efficient service for a route
Certain conditions can be attached to your goods vehicle license
The CVLBA contains conditions for the licenses they grant (such as for public service vehicles as well), but we’ll only cover the ones for goods vehicles here. The Commercial Vehicle Licensing Board can grant you a license with any of the following conditions as they please:
Your vehicle shall or shall not be used in specific areas, or between specific places, or at specific times
Your license might only let you drive the vehicle in certain areas but not anywhere outside them
You can only carry certain types of goods
You shall or shall not carry goods for specific people
Maximum delivery, loading/unloading charges you can impose
The maximum weight of your vehicle
Taking special precautions when you carry explosive, inflammable, poisonous, dangerous, or foul-smelling goods (durians maybe…?)
You may also need to carry your goods vehicle licensing on board for verification at all times.
You can get a goods vehicle license from SPAD
If you’re an operator of any vehicle that would qualify as a “goods vehicle”, it’s best you go get your license pronto. A man carrying tools for his profession was stopped and issued a court summons on 21 November 2018 - he was taken by surprise as he didn’t know that the CVLBA even existed. But now that you’ve read this article, you won’t. The penalty for not having a goods vehicle license is stated under Section 34: between RM1,000 and RM10,000 in fine, and/or up to 1 year in prison.
Currently, Malaysians can obtain a goods vehicle license from the Land Public Transport Commission (Suruhanjaya Pengangkutan Darat Awam) or simply, SPAD. They have a list of guidelines for license applications at their website here, though applications are only processed over their physical counters (here’s a list of their regional offices as well).
But you may have read news that our Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has terminated SPAD, whose functions will be absorbed into the Road Transport Department (JPJ), so this structure will probably change in the near future (if it hasn’t already). In any case, their respective websites have not been updated to reflect any changes in the system. If you’ve gotten your goods vehicle license recently and the process was different from what we have here, do let us know so we can share the update.