Here’s how much a Kopi permit costs in 2021
According to the Department of Road Transport (JPJ), obtaining a driver’s license in Malaysia is ‘simple and easy’. All you need to do is enroll in a driving school, take the theory test, take a minimum of 16 hours of driving lessons and finally take the JPJ practical driving test. But one step you won’t find anywhere is pay under the table to secure a pass.
Of course, you’re not going to find instructions for that because it’s under the lah, duh table. But when it comes to what is commonly referred to as kopi-o or kopi lesen licenses, you certainly know someone who has one. Maybe it’s you. Maybe it’s Maybelline.
It is common knowledge that this stuff happens Duit kopi, but after the experience of the student to obtain his license and talk to some people who have recently obtained their license, it seems that the most appropriate word is institutionalized because…
“You jaga I, I jaga you” is an unofficial driving lesson
From what we’ve found in various forums, it seems the general perception is that JPJ agents can be unfair or inconsistent in their evaluations (View comments on this blog also). If you’re lucky enough and come across a good-natured reviewer, they’ll be able to excuse a few small mistakes. But some candidates also claim that they were asked to stop driving and that they failed the test without a valid reason given.
But forums are forums, and there’s no way to really verify if that’s true. So this is where our interviewees come in to recount their experiences – although we’ve changed their names for obvious reasons. Jia Ern tells us that her driving school was immediately encouraging him to pay for a pass:
“My driving school instructor told me about JPJ’s ‘pau’ culture and even listed the downsides if I didn’t pay the money under the table. He also said he would not add extra lessons for me if I failed the test. It actually looked more like a threat to me… ”- Jia Ern
But Jia Ern was confident enough with her driving skills to go the road but fair, after failing 5 times, she gave in and paid the price. And guess what, she passed.
What’s worse is that duit kopi is not limited to the driving test itself, but also to trial tests. Known as the QTI test, this is a test driving test that some schools require you to take to pass the “official” driving test. But when Bob – one of our other interviewees – failed his QTI, her school asked her to pass it for the bargain price of 150 RM. After talking to his parents, they decided that paying for the RM150 was a much better option than going through the whole process all over again.
And yes, since the Mordor tollbooth had already been opened, Bob also paid for her driving test “official” because he thought it was the most logical option – it did not have to pay for the test again (he did not know how many times he fails) and it took less time. He added that it was not entirely his fault though …
“I lacked professional training. My instructor always had excuses for canceling my training classes. Honestly i don’t think i would [have passed without] that duit kopi thing. – Bob
JPJ agents are very lenient after a kopi Pause
According to our interlocutors, a guaranteed pass will cost you between 600 and 800 RM and it comes with VIP treatment.
According to Bob, the JPJ reviewers already knew who he was and asked him to go to a specific bay. Apparently different bays had different routes – a little harder, a little easier – and her bay was the easiest. Linus, another interviewee shared what the testing experience was like:
“The supervisor was very nice to me, he even chatted with me during the test. He was literally smiling from start to finish. It had been in my head for years because I would never forget that when he smiled at me, there was a vegetable stuck between his front teeth… ”- Linus Hii
But it’s not just the special bay and the incredible hospitality. We were also told that this kopi VIP package also includes the special pura-pura tak nampak treatment, which consists of pretend nothing happened if you made a mistake… Even if you are driving in the middle of the road.
The government wants to solve the problem with e-Testing
In 2018, Anthony Loke, then Minister of Transport recognized the problem of kopi lesen and said that the solution was a automated system for practical driving tests on the circuit and dashboard cameras for the on-road test so that students can appeal if they felt they had been unfairly stranded. The JPJ has conducted trials in January 2020, but things have calmed down after a certain incident at a hotel and closures occurred.
It turns out, however, that the idea was not completely abandoned because MyEG announced that they will be Ian electronic system implemented-test from December 1, 2021 to February 1, 2022 as a proof of concept to assess if it works for large scale use.
By the way, we found a guy who didn’t pay… and who succeeded!
So Brian didn’t just go fair and square, he also succeeded on its first try. But rather than cheers and congratulations, Brian found himself asked to be known:
“I passed the JPJ test all at once. But when I shared this news, my friends and family couldn’t believe it. Some of them even asked me if I secretly ‘penniless’ my driver’s license lol… ”- Brian Fong
On the one hand, this might reflect how widespread the kopi license culture is (or at least the perception it has of it). But on a more positive note, it also shows that when there is a wheel, there is a way.