Dealers disagree on limit to lifespan of cars in Malaysia, cite other safety
factors than just age
November 20, 2013
Used car dealers have disagreed with the Malaysian Institute of Road Safety
Research’s (Miros) findings that cars more than 12 years old are unsafe and should be taken off the roads under a
proposal being studied by Putrajaya.
The proposal has sparked outrage among car owners in Malaysia, most of whom take
hire-purchase loans of up to nine years to buy vehicles which are costly due to high excise duties. Despite the
heavy taxes, some 600,000 vehicles are bought every year.
W. H. Wong, who operates a used car dealership in Damansara Perdana, said the
performance and safety of a car depended a lot on the person using the vehicle and whether the car was
"There are elements of danger, that is true. But it is premature to say that cars
more than 12 years old are unsafe to be on the road as Miros has not taken the owner factor into consideration," he
told The Malaysian Insider.
Wong said those who maintain their cars with regular servicing and replacing parts
on time can still use their vehicles beyond 12 years.
"However, if a user pushed his vehicle to the brink all the time without replacing
parts and servicing the vehicle, it would be a danger on the road even after a year, let alone 12 years," he
Last week, Miros director-general Professor Dr Wong Shaw Voon said that cars more
than 12 years old were not safe to be on the road.
Other dealers have responded in similar fashion to the proposal being studied by
acting Transport Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein to cap a car's lifespan at 12.
W. S. Wong said there were standards which the road transport authorities in
Australia, Hong Kong and Taiwan abided by but which Malaysia did not.
"Cars are sent regularly for checks in foreign countries and the owner can only
renew the road tax and insurance if the vehicle has been certified roadworthy by the relevant
"However, it is not the same in Malaysia as Puspakom checks are only compulsory in
certain circumstances. It is not compulsory to send your vehicle to Puspakom before renewing your road tax," he
said, referring to the privatised national car inspection centre.
Wong, who operates a used car dealership in Cheras, said authorities in Malaysia
also had to play their role properly instead of coming up with suggestions such as banning old vehicles from the
"Removing vehicles which are more than 12 years old from the road might reduce
road accidents but it is not the main cause of accidents," he said.
The used car dealers said in the short term they might suffer losses if the ban on
cars exceeding 12 years was implemented as their inventory of vehicles included old cars.
"However, in the middle to long term, used car dealers will not be affected and
might actually see a boom in business as not everyone can afford to purchase a brand new vehicle."
Wong said on average, each Malaysian household had between three and four
vehicles. If a vehicle had to be changed due to its age, not everyone had the purchasing power for a brand new
"Hence, used car dealers have reacted to Hishammuddin's proposal with mixed
feelings and we look forward to seeing what the government decides," he said.
Hishammuddin said on Tuesday that Putrajaya was considering imposing a vehicle
end-of-life policy but disclosed that the finer details of the proposal had yet to be worked out.
Opposition lawmaker Rafizi Ramli objected to Hishammuddin's proposal, arguing that
it would aggravate the public's finances and increase household debt.
Hishammuddin conceded that Rafizi had a point and said there were many ways to
overcome the problem without elaborating further.
Putrajaya has revealed that there are more than 22 million vehicles on the road in
Malaysia with more than five million older than 10 years.
But the government will have to tread carefully on this issue as obtaining
financial loans from banks and financial institutions is no longer as easy as it once was.
In July, Bank Negara tightened regulations on personal and housing loans as part
of measures to avoid excessive household indebtedness and reinforce responsible lending practices.
Among the measures implemented were a maximum 10-year tenure for personal loans,
35 years for housing and commercial property loans, and prohibiting pre-approved personal financing
– The Malaysian Insider