Why Can’t Malaysians Park Properly?

A look into the disgraceful parking habits of Malaysian motorists. 

It goes without saying that parking is already a fact of life to any motorist, a journey anywhere involves getting from one parking space to another after all. However, for something that needs to be done at least twice for every journey, Malaysians are still fantastically bad at this simple task. 

Regardless of how bad Malaysians are at driving, parking a vehicle properly may also seem to be too difficult to most Malaysian drivers. That is because it will be the only reasonable explanation to why the general Malaysian attitude to parking is even worse than their driving habits.

A prime example of terrible parking behaviour exhibited by Malaysians is something like the one in the picture below of a Mercedes Benz S-Class taking up two parking spaces in what looks like a shopping mall car park.

Now, it is not for anyone to judge whether the driver is just useless at the skill of driving, or is he (or she) just an extremely entitled person who just wants to take up two spaces, so that no one can dent their precious Benz. In any case, it is in scenarios like this that begs the question: Doesn’t the driver feel ashamed when walking away from the parked car, seeing that is not even vaguely within the confines of the box that is clearly marked? And doesn’t the driver not feel any sense of shame that the one car is taking up the spaces of two (or in some cases more) cars?

This Benz, although a good example, is of course not an outlier demonstrating this terrifically terrible parking behaviour. There have been plenty of reported cases like this floating on the internet. Looking on social media, one can usually find many pictures showing usually very expensive cars from premium marques parked like what is demonstrated by the S-Class.

Before moving on, a quick word to those who are insistent on parking like this, who perhaps needs plenty of space to get into or out of their luxury limousine, may I suggest finding a way to park in the disabled bay? Seeing that those bays will definitely be wide enough to accommodate both one’s luxury car and the driver’s terrible parking.

Furthermore, it is worth pointing out that most shopping malls and office towers now offer valet services so that one does not need to worry about not being able to park such a large car into a tiny space. Moreover, being able to afford a car as posh as this means that the trifling valet fee should not be a problem to you. 

That said, these type of entitled parking habits in proper parking bays are not the only examples of Malaysians showing off their disgraceful parking habits. For entitlement, you can’t beat the national Malaysian pastime that is double parking. 

Go to any neighbourhood hangout spot and that there will definitely be signs of cars double parked, blocking other cars. This inconsiderate and entitled parking habit is so imbued in Malaysian culture that we take it for granted as part of daily life now. 

Simply illegally double parking and blocking in the people who parked legally is considered to some Malaysians as a perfectly ok way to park a car. To these people, double parking is perfectly acceptable. Just leave their handphone numbers on as if the driver that is blocked in wants to get out of the parking space, their phone number is there on the dashboard, so all the driver has to do is dial the number and all will be solved. 

Moreover, even if there is no number visible and the annoyed driver that is blocked in has been horning till the cow comes home, waiting for this inconsiderate double parking driver to move the car, a simple oh sorry and a hand wave is all that is needed to defuse the situation.

The best part about double parking is that in nearly all cases, the person who has double parked actually then gets the freed up legal parking space, and not the idiot who drove round and round trying desperately to be find said space. Thus handily proving that the world is in fact an unfair place. 

And in the unlikely scenario that the council tow truck does come to tow away illegally parked cars, the tried and true routine of pleading, then arguing and eventual bribing/fine paying usually sorts the problem on the spot without much hassle. 

To the even more thick-skinned and entitled Malaysians around, there is actually a one up on double parking in the hierarchy of inconsiderate parking behaviour, and that is just creating your own parking anywhere they please.

Many Malaysians have embraced not only embraced the ‘park wherever lah’ mantra to heart, but have took it to a whole new level to create a veritable variety of new parking spaces from ordinarily un-park-able places. It is not uncommon to see Malaysians park their cars on dividers, sidewalks, narrow alleys and even in front of other peoples’ houses. 

Some even just whack their cars in the middle of the road and call it a day, much to the chagrin of the traffic behind them. 

The typical Malaysian perception is where there is a space to fit a car, that shall be deemed as a parking space. Whether it impedes the flow of traffic or inconveniences a substantial amount of people is an irrelevance, as people will somehow find a way around it anyway. 

Malaysians’ terrible attitude to parking is even more contradictory once think of it in the context of how much cars cost in Malaysia. Considering that cars in Malaysia cost a fortune and can be considered a luxury item in our country, the blasé attitude to parking of most Malaysians doesn’t seem to support this fact. You wouldn’t leave your handphone and laptop to book a table at a hawker store in Malaysia, so why would you leave your expensive car in the middle of the road?

What is even more impressive is that every Malaysian is complicit in enabling the behaviour of these irresponsible drivers, because in the minds of every Malaysian there will be the thought as to why bother kicking up a fuss when next time I may want to do that too? Hence it is unsurprising that this nonchalant behaviour towards parking by every and all Malaysians perpetuate the endless cycle of irresponsible parking that causes gridlocks in neighbourhoods and frustration to all. 

At this point some might argue that entitlement is not the only reason why Malaysians can’t seem to park properly. Thinking it is their grandfather’s road isn’t the only issue here, some will inevitably bring up the fact that there actually isn’t any parking space near the shop they want to go to or that they don’t want park in the faraway parking complex. However, these commonly heard excuses for bad parking behaviour distills down to not wanting to pay and/or not wanting to walk under the hot sun, ergo entitlement. 

Here is a suggestion to those who concede that they can’t be bothered to park their cars properly: Maybe consider taking a Grab instead? That way there is actually no need to stress about looking for parking anywhere you go. You can be dropped right where you want to be and the best part is there is no need to pay for any expensive parking ticket. 

Joshua Chin

Automotive journalist. Professional work on and Personal writing found at Instagram: @driveeveryday

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