Tap Water Safety in Malaysia

Can you drink the tap water in Malaysia?

In general, no.

The US Center for Disease Control's travel advisory recommends avoiding tap water and drinking bottled or disinfected water in Malaysia (source).

Like all countries though, water accessibility, sanitation, and treatment vary widely from location to location, so we encourage looking for specific city information.

What do people in Malaysia think about the tap water?

  • Never drink tap water unless you’ve verified that it’s safe.
  • Boiling water is the most efficient method of purifying it.
  • Check bottled-water seals are intact at purchase.
  • Avoid ice in places that look dubious.
  • Avoid fresh juices if they have not been freshly squeezed or you suspect they may have been watered down.
  • Iodine, the best chemical purifier, should not be used by pregnant women or those who suffer thyroid problems.

Wikitravel

Generally, you can eat pretty much anywhere in Malaysia. Food outlets are comparatively clean - the only thing you should avoid is ice for your drinks, when you frequent the street stalls since the blocks of ice used there might not be up to your hygienic standards. In actual restaurants this is not a problem. Also you might want to avoid ordering water from stalls or the mamak restaurants as they are usually unboiled tap water.
Tap water is drinkable straight off the tap as it is treated (depending on location), but even locals boil or filter it first just to be on the safe side. When travelling it is best to stick to bottled water, which is very affordable.
Ice in drinks might be made from tap water but nowadays, most restaurants and even roadside stalls use the cylindrical variety with a hollow tube down the middle that are mass-produced at ice factories and are safer to consume.

The most commonly searched cities in Malaysia are:

For a full list of cities in Malaysia, scroll to the bottom of this post or click here.

World Health Organization Malaysia Water Summary

The World Health Organization estimates that 97 percent of Malaysia have access to drinkable tap water.

In 2000, 93% of the population had access to drinkable, tap water on site, and 97% within an accessible distance, including both rural and urban areas.

World Health Organization's 2017 Malaysia Water Data

The World Health Organization data on water quality and availability throughout Malaysia includes the national average, averages for urban population centers, and averages for rural areas.

DataDescription
Safely ManagedA location that safe, drinkable water that is free of biological or chemical contaminants available on premise.
At Least BasicSafe drinkable water is available within 30 minutes from the location
LimitedIt would take more than 30 minutes from the location to access safe, drinkable water.
YearPopulation in 1000sSafely managedAt Least BasicLimited
National
20002318693%97%1%
20173162493%97%1%
Rural
20008811-94%1%
20177906-89%1%
Urban
200014375-99%1%
201723718-99%1%

What Do People In Malaysia Think About The Tap Water?

Travelers and residents of Malaysia have rated the water quality and pollution as follows, according to subjective survey data.

A score of 100% is considered very high, and a score of 0% is very low. Please be cautious that "moderate to very high" water pollution is bad and the higher the rate of water quality the better.

DescriptionScoreRating
Drinking Water Pollution and Inaccessibility45%Moderate
Water Pollution63%Moderate
Drinking Water Quality and Accessibility55%Moderate
Water Quality37%Moderate

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View our tap water report on all cities in Malaysia

View other countries in Asia