Right VS ‘Left’ Way of Getting Indonesian Driver’s License

A traffic policeman is seen examining a motor bike license applicant. By right, you should pass the practical test before obtaining a driver’s license (Photo source: Antara Photo/Feri Purnama).

Do you like to follow policies or do you prefer to make your own rules? In Indonesia, the right path to acquiring anything could always be tough and involves a lot of obstacles. On the other hand, the ‘left’ or the wrong way, a path that is often not aligned to the rules and regulations, is a lot easier, but is it justified doing things this way? That depends on you, your opinions and your beliefs.

Let’s learn from this instance: obtaining a driver’s license in Indonesia. There is both a right way and a wrong way to acquire the license. Unfortunately, few still opt to doing it the right way. Why is this so?

The usual consensus of reasons: corruption, time constrains, lengthy procedures, difficult tests and so on. Instead of following what has been recommended by the authorities, people just bribe and get their diving licenses. Give some money to the concerned individuals, get profile picture snapped, and that is it. You would get a driver’s license and no one is going to stop you from driving on the roads. At the end of the day, there is relatively less pain in obtaining a driver’s license the left way, which is why this seems so much more preferable.

However, bribery is still not recommended because it is not and will never be legal. It would get you to where you want but by availing it as an option, don’t you think you are hurting your own country? Moreover, when others do the same, you would probably not like it, so why follow their suit?

Some may argue that because Indonesia is already very corrupted, these ‘slights things’ do not matter. But have not you remember the saying “sedikit demi sedikit, lama-lama menjadi bukit”, which translates to “little by little, will eventually accumulate into a major thing”. You do your part and others will do theirs, and eventually all wrongs will accumulate and do a major harm to the country.

Coming back to the driving license, if bribery is not the way to obtain one, then what ensures that you can get it the right way? Let’s have a look.

The Theory Test

The right way starts with the theory test. Before performing this theory test, the first step involves paying a small amount of application fee and filling up several required forms.

The theory test is a 30 multiple choice questions. You have to choose the correct answer from three options and you have 15 minutes to get this done. Be sure to take a 2B pencil and pen. Choose the answers carefully as you need to get 18 rights to pass the test. If you fail, you can sit for the test again after two weeks, and you have to pay no fees this time.

The questions that are asked in the test are all related to driving. Search the internet, and you would come across many sample papers. The questions are not that difficult, and with just a bit of practice, you can get most of them right.

The Practical Test

The practical test is based on examining six major aspects; forward, reverse, zigzag forward, zigzag reverse, reverse parking and parallel parking. All along the track, cones have been set up. Hit any one of these and you fail. Drive carefully and drive slowly, all the while putting your full concentration into the task. The parking can be a bit tricky, but if you have had enough practice, you would be able to do it perfectly.

With the right way being written above, is the process really that difficult? It may take time, but you will get through and acquire a license. So why switch to bribery and contribute to wrong?


Global Indonesian Voices (GIV) is Indonesia’s first independent online media, established for ‘Connecting Indonesia to the World‘ by publishing independent news and stories written by and for Indonesians and Indonesia-philes all around the world.

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