How to Deal with Malaysia Royal Custom For Detained/Held Items from Overseas Purchases @ How to Clear Customs in Malaysia

How to Clear Customs in Malaysia

Following my first overseas purchase that was being detained by custom in Malaysia, I decided to write this post to share my experiences on how to deal with them.

Note: This is a personal sharing of mine on how to deal with Malaysia Royal Custom for your detained or held items from overseas purchases. Hopefully this will be helpful to assist you to clear your items :) 

Signs to Look for - Your Items *MIGHT* be detained by customs

If you saw the following description on PosLaju tracking website such as 'Custom Inspection. High - value goods', there is a high chance that your item might be detained by the custom for import tax and sales tax. In that case, you would normally received a letter of detainment from them and is delivered by your trusty PosLaju mailman on the next day. In my case, I got the said letter on the next day from the website.


Tracking status from PosLaju tracking website for EMS shipment


You will find 2 pages of paper enclosed within the envelope:
- Letter of Detainment sent by PosLaju Center. It could be Johor Bahru, Penang, or KLIA/Subang. You'll have several options to deal with this.
- Official Note of Detainment sent by Malaysia Royal Custom to PosLaju Center.

Letter of Shipment Detainment sent by PosLaju

Letter of Detainment sent by Malaysia Royal Custom to PosLaju Center

Prepare to Deal with the Letter

Upon getting the said letter, you will have three options to deal with it:
  1. Appoint PosLaju as the agent to deal with you. You'll need to pay a flat agent handler fee of RM49.50 + import tax & sales duty that will be calculated by them. These are paid when the items is sent to the local PosLaju branch nearest to your location. There is also an option to send the items directly to your delivery address. Though I am not aware of whether the payment is done on the spot or not.
  2. Appoint someone else on behalf of you to deal with the customs. This is usually chosen if you have someone living closer to the custom office
  3. Approach this case yourself. There is a slim chance that you might be able to negotiate the price or even forgo paying the taxes with them. I would only recommend this if your items is valued below RM500 but still get detained for what so ever reason.
As per Malaysia's custom law, any items valued above RM500 is subject to be imposed with tax limit. And this includes CIF (Cost, Insurance, and Freight/Shipping).
Although there are some tips to avoid having to pay for the said tax such as labeling the parcel as GIFTS, there are slim chances that it will get inspected.

In my case, I am well aware that my item is indeed above the RM500 mark. And since I do not have any relative staying closeby their center in JB nor have the time to travel there myself, I decided to appoint PosLaju as the agent to handle this case for me.

In addition to filling the form, you'll also need to prepare any official invoice you got from the ordered item in order for them to appraise the value. In other words, you have to convince them that you are actually paying the XXX amount for the items.

For purchases made through PayPal, which is very likely to be the case, simply check your email for the PayPal receipt and attach it. If you have gotten any official invoice from the merchant, attach it too. In my case, I don't actually receive any official invoice from the merchant (AmiAmi) aside from the email exchange and their official website just show the order history. Regardless, I sent it out anyways. I have to strongly mentioned that the payment receipt is probably most important/critical/solid supporting document for them to truly believe the amount that you had ACTUALLY PAID for the items.

Below are the two supporting documents that I printed and sent to them.

Payment invoice sent by PayPal
Order History from AmiAmi


Responding to the Letter

As stated in their letter, you could choose to either fax or mail it directly to the designated address posted above the letter. In my case, I did BOTH. I mailed it but also send a personal email to their designated email (pljb_customs@poslaju.com.my). To my surprise they handle it quite efficiently and get back to me within an hour, along with the calculated final tax that I am going to pay in the local PosLaju branch when it arrived.

An excerpt of email sent to PosLaju Custom JB

An excerpt of email reply from custom offer on duty in PosLaju Custom JB

And there you have it, the entire process of dealing with them. In my case, this is all dealt with on the same day after receiving the letter of detainment.

Hope this article is helpful to you and please share it with your friends that are also experiencing the same hassle :)


16 comments

Hi, how do you know what exchange rate they follow? What if I my exchange rate calculator shows different rates from their's? Do you have any idea of which exchange rate calculator they use?

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Hi, thanks for sharing. May I know why customs will impose customs tax on our parcel? Just wondering, as I received a letter from Pos Malaysia (like the one you posted) but none from Customs dept.

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Thanks! Indeed a great help with this article

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Hi, may i know if you were using poslaju in the first place or the Customs that actually will get poslaju to send you the letter? Cause i have a parcel sending from China but i have been told it has been detained but the courier service i chose is not poslaju.

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Hi there, I believe the custom detainment letter might be sent to you depending on the courier service that you chose when purchasing the item. I got the form from PosLaju because they are the handler for any items imported using EMS. DHL/FeDEX/USPS will usually inform you via the email which you used when importing the items. You can give them a couple of days (1-3) for any notice from the day of detainment.

Hope this information is helpful.

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Hi. I am facing the same situation recently. Can I know more detail about the documents I need to attach in the email? Thanks.

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Hi i need some advise, my important document send from Singapore to Malaysia Sabah. I online checked the speedpost sg, status held by custom (MY) few day until now. Don't know how to contact them? Can anyone advise me how to do.

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This comment has been removed by the author.

how do you pay them ? can do online banking ? i cant go to the custom office at klia as it is so far

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I remembered I paid them upfront on the counter with cash when I pick up the detained item in my local post office branch. You just have to fill and email the form to PosLaju officer. After which they will then let you know the tentative time when your parcel will arrive in your local PosLaju branch.

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Nice blog. Thanks for sharing useful information.
Gift Malaysia

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Thanks a lot for sharing this useful information with us, as many people don't know how to clear custom in Malaysia

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May I know how much in ringgit your item? Because your tax was rm 340++

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I have problem about my parcel from indonesia...using ems.. Right now my order was held at KL custom for almost 2 years already...how can i settle this? Please help me

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i am having the same problem now. bought something from 1999. same issue. i bought 2 items priced at less than 500 each but thought they will be cheaper shipped together without realising this. well life is about learning. lol thanks.

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