So I happened to be in Petaling Jaya New Town, when I discovered my driving license was not in my wallet. I've been driving illegally since god knows when! A quick search of the area below the car seat and seat pockets turned up nothing (Well it turned up a lot of stuff, but not my driving license).
Now the JPJ office (the department of motor vehicles) was just down the road, so after evaluating the risk of continuing on without a license in the hope that it will turn up somewhere versus getting it replaced right now, I headed over there.
Went to the Kaunter Pertanyaan (inquiries counter) and said I've lost my license, and the lady said no problem and gave me a queue number. I asked if I needed to fill up a form, and she said no need -- how convenient. It makes sense actually, given they already have your details. I wish more offices would think this way (Hong Leong bank, stop asking me for my office address each time I need something done, you already know my company address!). I said I don't have a photo, she said no problem, they'll just copy the digital image out of my identity card ... ooh, how cool! She did say I would need a photocopy of my identity card, which I could do at the stall around the corner while waiting for my number to be called.
The stall wanted MYR 0.40 for the photocopy, which I thought was reasonable for the convenience of having it there. I noticed he had a camera set up too, so decided to take a new photo rather than use the (terribly outdated but much better looking) photo in my identity card.
There were about 20 people ahead of my queue. After a short wait my number was called, I went to the assigned counter and said I needed to get a replacement license and handed over my original identity card and photocopy. I realized just then my licence would expire in six months time anyway, and asked if I could get it renewed as well. The guy said no problem, and I paid MYR 150 for a five year renewal.
The guy said ok just wait for your name to be called to collect your license, and handed me back my identity card, together with the photocopy. Wait a minute ... didn't the other lady just tell me they needed a photostat copy? For which I just paid the now suddenly very-exorbitant-feeling MYR0.40 for? I asked the guy at the counter why he was returning the photostat copy to me ...
"Encik, kalau saya ambil fotostat ni encik kena bayar RM20 lagi kerana ganti lesen. Encik nak "renew" saja kan?" (Sir, if I take this photocopy you'll have to pay RM20 for replacing your license. You just want to renew it right?") with a smile
and a wink. Aahh ... I get it ... clever! After all, the net result is the same, they still have to issue me a new license.
So all done in less than 45 minutes, I left with a new license, without the need to pay the replacement fee, and valid for another 5+ years, which means I don't have to come here again in March. Fantastic!