Shipping a motorcycle Part II: Figuring out Malaysia

Reunited with moto

Reunited with moto

After two weeks in Kuala Lumper I decided to take things into my own hands. The first week was no big deal because I anticipated this for unloading and inspections. The following week I was led in ten different directions by incompetent people and had made absolutely no progress. I didn’t even have my paperwork. I got up early Monday with three people telling me I needed to do three different things, and all of them involved getting Malaysian insurance. Everyone told me that this was the only way to obtain an ICP (international circulation permit) from the government, which is what customs needed to clear me. The problem was nobody would give me insurance because the motorcycle isn’t registered in Malaysia, and nobody knew where I could get it. I went from office to office all over the city, being sent to building after building. Kelly, from the forwarding company, said I needed to wait until Thursday for a Puspakom roadworthiness inspection at the warehouse, which would then allow me to buy insurance, then get an ICP (international circulation permit), and then I could unpack my crate and get it out. Zilin, who I couldn’t even understand on the phone, was holding on to my paperwork and telling me to just wait for his phone call about the insurance. A couple people at the AAM (Malaysian auto club) were telling me that the insurance should come through soon and if not they would try to find some place else. Throw in many other ideas being suggested and I was confused beyond belief.

I could tell they all were talking out of their asses and had absolutely no confidence in what they were telling me. I knew I had to make something happen, and that’s when everything started to come together. I caught the train to the port without a plan, except to get something done. I called Zilin and told him I wanted my paperwork. Another guy from the office showed up with everything, and started right in on trying to help me just like he had. My luck sort of changed earlier when I was talking to Kelly on the phone and she was very adamant that it was impossible to get in and do anything with my bike. There was a 10 ringgit note lying in the street. I expected there to be dog poop in between it (not that we used to do that as kids), but it was a nice new one.


I used that to get me and the new guy some lunch. He was a go getter and made some calls and figured out that I should be able to get in and unpack my crate and get the motorcycle put back together. I don’t understand what he was saying or who he was talking to, but eventually told me I could go. The funny part is that it was kelly who sent a fax to the port authority giving me permission to go in. Just an hour earlier she insisted it was impossible. That lady gave me the wrong information at every turn. I’m learning to never believe anything you’re told here and always dig deeper. The guy drew me a map of where I needed to go at Northport. After managing to track down the entry gate to Northport and getting a pass, I roamed my way to the warehouses. Outside of one were all of the fanciest sports cars you can imagine. Jaguars, Mercedes, Bentleys, Ferraris, Lamborginis, and rolls-royces.

As I made my way through the port I sang the song “reunited and it feels so gooooood”, or whatever it’s called, and I don’t know any other words. Warehouse B2 told me to go to B3, B3 told me to go to B4, B4 sent me to B6. The ladies at B6 sent me back to B4 with a paper to get authorisation. A man there got concerned and said it needed to be a day in advance and I thought I was screwed. Then people went into action, and the ladies were running this way and that making phone calls. After a half hour wait in the office surrounded by young muslim girls giggling underneath their headscarves, one of them came over and handed me a form giving me permission to work on the bike. Five minutes later I heard a loud bang outside the office, and opened the door to find my long lost crate sitting before me. It looked so small and simple, and I didn’t understand why all this had to be so complicated.

A small crowd gathered around in anticipation. I found my 12mm socket and started unbolting the crate, but hardly got started when a Chinese guy took it and got to work. Everyone joined in. Guys cut away the rope and tie-downs. Everyone else might have been as excited as I was. It felt like Christmas morning opening the best present ever.

I spent four hours un-crating it, reattaching the front wheel back on, the handlebars, cables and levers, and my cases. It surprisingly went back together nicely after taking it all apart in a hurried rush a month ago.

It was all ready to go and drive off into the sunset, but I still had the customs to hurdle. I had to get an ICP. I spent Tuesday going all over Kuala Lumpur to insurance offices and different branches of JPJ (the agency that issues the ICP). After nothing good happening, I got the idea to try using my Australian insurance. I called a few people and they all assured me that this wouldn’t work. Mrs. Woo, from AAM, even told me she had called someone up high and that they told her this wouldn’t work. I had lost faith in all these people though, and decided that this would be my best option. On Wednesday morning I went to the first JPJ office, which sent me to a larger one where they should be able to issue one. The second one had never done anything like it before, and the guy was eager to help me out. After a half hour of phone calls, he sent me to the JPJ headquarters in Putrajaya where all the main government offices are (outskirts of KL).

It’s a huge complex, and took trains and buses to reach. I made it to the entrance, so close, and saw the big sign showing pictures of men with shorts and crosses through them. I tried to scamper up to the desk without the little lady seeing my shorts, but she caught me and denied me entrance. I was not to be denied and went on a search for some pants. I asked all of the military security guys I could find until a couple of them helped me out. The smallest soldier there went and got me a pair of his pants. It took a lot of wiggling and worming to get into them. They were a good four inches from being able to button, fit skin tight, and made it to my shins. They were capris on me, and made me walk like a penguin. I don’t understand why these were so much better, but they allowed it, and got a big laugh from them as well.

I went into the office and confidently handed them my Carnet de Passage, passport, registration, licenses, and a print out of my Australian insurance. I flirted and joked with them as sweetly as I could with a big smile. The next twenty minutes was nerve racking, and I knew I had gotten to my last ditch effort. I watched the Malaysian soap opera on the TV just to keep my mind off of it. Then a nice lady came over and handed me the ICP all filled out with my info, and an official stamp!!

I could have kissed everyone in that office. I hopped and skipped my way out on top of the world. I think my happiness rubbed off on the front entrance lady, or she still thought my pants were funny. After a few days of putting my mind to it, I got it sorted. In the morning I took the first train to Port Klang and arrived to customs just as they were opening. After the way everything had gone I was still a bit nervous, but everything went fairly smooth. The customs officer was even nice enough to drive me into the port to do some paperwork, drove me back to customs to finish off everything, and then drove me back into the port. Awesome guy with a huge smile.


It would have been ten times as difficult without his help. After going back and forth between a few offices for a few hours, I was finally cleared to go. Excitement flowed through me as I exited the port gates and was free at last.

All the troubles of the past weeks are forgotten. Everything happens for a reason.

About Trueworldtravels

Following my heart around the planet. Bringing to life the unique world around us through writing and photography.
This entry was posted in Kawasaki KLR650, Malaysia travel, Motorcycle world travel and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Shipping a motorcycle Part II: Figuring out Malaysia

  1. ellengerl57 says:

    Yea! Your persistence payed off- and your charming smile! Funny Blog made me laugh. Hope the rest of your border crossings are smooth.


  2. Gerard McDonnell says:

    Hi, I am also considering shipping my KLR to Malaysia temporarily for a trip. In your hindsight, is there a specialist company you know about that I could hire to just do this all for me?


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