As it turns out, there are more people than cars in Malaysia at present, with the number of vehicles deemed active at present standing at around 23 million units instead of the 33.3 million vehicles quoted last week in a report. In the report, it was indicated that the number of vehicles in Malaysia had reached the latter figure, effectively overtaking the population of the country, which stands at 32.6 million.
However, earlier this week, former transport minister Liow Tiong Lai said that the claim was not accurate, because the reported figure was an accumulation of registered vehicles since the British colonial era.
This has now been ascertained to be very much the case, as FMT reports. In a document sighted by the publication, the road transport department (JPJ) indicated that 11.37 million vehicles were listed as inactive or dormant. According to a senior official at the transport ministry, JPJ estimated that there were 21,709,492 active vehicles in the country up to September last year.
The source, who asked not to be named, said since the country did not practice a vehicle end-of-life policy, it was difficult for JPJ to identify inactive vehicles and issue obsolete ‘death’ certificates unless it is declared by the vehicle owner, which rarely happens.
The department has also had to apply a general formula of a 10% reduction annually for inactive or depleted number of vehicles, the source added. “The rule of thumb nowadays is that if a vehicle’s road tax is not renewed after three years, it is considered inactive,” he explained.
The report added that the absence of clear guidelines to determine the length of time for a registered vehicle to be considered idle or inoperative as well as a simple process to deregister a vehicle has been causing JPJ and local councils a headache. It also remains unclear whether JPJ delists a vehicle deemed as ‘total loss” in a road crash.
On the topic of inactive vehicles, Datuk Mohamad Dalib, former director of the automotive engineering division of JPJ, defended the department for the incomplete data collation of vehicles. “It is unfair to point fingers at JPJ. We had been working hard to compile the data over the years,” he said.
He said not many realised that the effort to centralise the database registry of vehicles started in 1990 after years of isolation and the listing of stand-alone machinery by each state since the inception of the registrar and inspector of motor vehicles (RIMV) began in 1946.
“We must not forget that heavy machinery and vehicles used in construction, agriculture, plantation, airports and other areas, which are not present on the public roads on a daily basis, are also required to register with the JPJ. So, it is hardly a surprise that there are 33 million registered vehicles in the country,” he explained.
Acknowledging that there had been a surge in the number of inactive vehicles nationwide, he suggested that the government conduct a comprehensive study. “There are many vehicle owners who have died. There should be a survey with a big sample,” he said.
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