Was Deputy Minister Aziz Kaprawi making a joke when he was reported to have said that it will be ‘No cost to new cars’ for the proposed new metal number plates that are set to be introduced this year?
It is likely that the ‘No cost’ meaning will be passed on to the buyer through the payment of ‘registration fees’.
The current practice of buyers paying for registration is seldom refuted as the task of registration is undertaken by the dealer and the prices are always ‘standard’.
We spoke to a sales person in Hyundai who chose not to be named, and to date no directive from the Ministry of Road Transport nor the JPJ has been received, and according to him, the current process is still maintained.
Another sales personnel in the auto industry which has its landmark showroom in Jalan Ipoh, is of the view that such a standard number plate which caters to number recognition will be useful for electronic road tagging and payment systems, such as that used in Singapore. He is only concerned about the delivery of the number plates, as from news reports the sales person will have to arrange for the new cars to be delivered to the vendor for number plate installation.
“There will be a bottleneck concern if there is only one vendor for this number plates”, expressed Mr.Liew who also laments the longer process instead of the 3-5 working days currently taken to deliver a new car to a buyer.
With the initial introduction of the AES system, the bigger plan was to have ‘number plate recognition’ which automatically enables the authorities to track any law offending car and the owner for subsequent action. However, in Malaysia, number plates are easily produced which results in the current scenario where the styling of each letter is determined by the owner who selects the font type from the accessory shop. The implementation of such a policy will not only affect the livelihood of some, it will also be seen as an avenue for the eventual vendor as a money making entity.
As confirmed by the Deputy Minister in his interview with The Sun newspaper, the source of these eventual number plates will be limited to one supplier. Is this a smart move on the part of the Ministry? Or better yet has the Deputy Minister shot himself in the foot, as he later clarified that the proposal of undertaking the cost of introduction of the set of number plates ‘will be passed on to the cabinet’ for approval?
The initial plan once announced will be that all new vehicles will be mandated to use these new number plates whereas existing registered vehicles will be given a 5 year period to do so.
It still does not answer the question of who will get this lucrative business. Malaysia has approximately 17-18 million vehicles, and it does not take a genius to figure out that the eventual supplier will stand to make hundreds of millions from this implementation.
A car accessory shop owner who wished to remain annonymous was of the opinion that the system and intention may be good, yet if the government was serious about the implementation, could still make it a fair inplementation by including current business owners in the process. “Curiously, emborsed number plates are already in the market, so how different are these new plates that are being talked about by the authorities?”, he asked.
The question is will car owners take this lying down?