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5 Laws That Kick In On 1st January 2020

5 Laws That Kick In On 1st January 2020

Kirat Kaur

Along with the start of a new decade, Malaysia also ushers in a new set of laws and policies that take into effect in 2020.

So here’s a list of 5 laws that kick in on 1st January 2020 to prepare you for the new year!

Digital Tax

All digital services by foreign registered companies will be affected by a 6% digital tax that begins January 2020.
(Credit: The Malaysian Reserve)

First announced in 2018 at the 2019 budget announcement, the 6% digital tax will finally take into effect beginning 1st January 2020.

The tax specifically targets foreign registered companies that provide digital services online or as the Royal Malaysian Customs Department puts it:

“Service that is to be delivered through information technology medium with minimal or no human intervention from service provider.”

Royal Malaysian Customs Department via The Star.

This digital tax covers online streaming services, paid mobile applications and subscription-based media. To know more, check out our article on how the 6% digital tax will affect your favourite online services HERE.

Mandatory Child Car Safety Seats & Buckling Up In The Back

From 2020, child car safety seats or child restraint system (CRS) is compulsory for private vehicles with children.
(Credit: freepik)

For families with young children, child car safety seats will be mandatory from 2020 onwards.

The Malaysian Institute of Road Safety Research (Miros) recommends that every child below 135cm tall (approximately below 12 years old) should use the child restraint system (CRS). The authorities will give 6 months for parents to comply before issuing summons.

Besides the child safety seats, rear seat belts and bus passenger lap belts will also be mandatory from 2020 onwards.

Though the rear safety seat belts usage have been made compulsory by law in 2008, the government will step up on the enforcement in 2020.

According to the Road Transport Department (JPJ) website, those who do not use the seatbelt (front or rear) will be fined up to RM2,000 or jailed for a maximum of one year.

Eatery Smoking Ban In Full Force

Malaysia’s eatery smoking ban comes into full force in 2020.
(Credit: Mukhriz Hazim/Malay Mail)

In 2019, the eatery smoking ban came into effect where the Health Ministry gazetted that all food and beverage outlets as smoke-free areas. Smokers are not permitted to light up within 3 metres of any eatery’s perimeter.

The government gave the public 12 months (or 1 year) to adapt to the new ban which will now come into full force with the government launching a crackdown on smoking at eateries.

Those who light up will be slapped with a RM250 compound for the first and second offences. Third time offenders will be hit with a RM350 compound. However, first time offenders who pay up within one month can have their compound reduced to RM150.

Eateries that allow customers to smoke withing their premises will also be slapped with the same amount.

The maximum fine for smoking in banned areas is RM10,000 or up to 2 years jail.

Life In Plastic, Not Fantastic

The sight of plastic straw at Malaysian F&B outlets will soon be a thing of the past as the nationwide plastic straw ban comes into effect in 2020.

Another piece of news related to Malaysian eateries is the nationwide plastic straw ban that comes into force in 2020.

With this ban, eateries will no longer provide plastic straw for drinks. Those who are handicapped or with special needs who require plastic straws are exempted.

This plastic straw ban along with the plastic bag ban is all part of the Ministry of Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change (MESTECC)’s vision to abolish single-use plastic by 2030.

If you need help dealing with the single-use plastic straw ban, check out our article on the Malaysian way to prepare HERE.

Minimum Wage Increase

Workers in Malaysia’s urban centres will see the minimum wage increase by RM100.
(Credit: TRP)

Here’s a bit of good news for Malaysians; the minimum wage for workers in urban centres is increased from RM1,100 to RM1,200 from January 2020.

This increase will affect workers all over the nation in 57 locations, including 13 state capitals and 3 federal territories. (See the full list HERE.)

Those who are entitled to this raise are all private sector workers except those in domestic service.


Now that you know what to expect for 2020, make sure to share this article with your friends and family for them to be prepared too.

Happy New Year!


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