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19 Nov 2013

Real reasons behind 12-year car lifespan – Saad Hashim

So the proposal to scrap cars older than 12 years is being revived, and this time, based on the statement from acting Transport Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein, it may come into force.

The Government is determined to enforce this policy, knowing that the next general election is still far away and by then, it is worth the risk of losing votes. After all, to ameliorate the consequences of this policy, it could come up with a few sugar-coated policies for those badly affected.

At this juncture, I am reminded of a scene from a Hollywood movie, “The Second Civil War”, during which the American president, who was facing a threat of secession by the state of Idaho and worrying about his plunging popularity rating, asks his spin doctor how voters in Florida would feel about the crisis.

The “crisis” erupted when the governor of Ohio refused to accept refugee children from Pakistan after a “nuclear blast”.

“Don’t worry about voters in Florida,“ said the spin doctor.

“They are all old and won’t be around at the next presidential election.

“Where are these voters when we need them,” asked the spin doctor.

Thus, I guess Hishammuddin is not worried about votes for Barisan Nasional at the next general election from a segment of voters, that is, older people and owners of thousands of “jalopies” like government pensioners and petty traders.

Most of them are Malays, especially in the rural areas. After all, rural Malays are hardcore PAS supporters, so to hell with them.

According to Hishammuddin’s homework, not many Chinese will get angry with this policy. Parti Keadilan Rakyat strategy director Rafizi Ramli said the proposed policy would hurt those who buy their cars with a maximum nine-year loan, who are mostly Malays. Most Chinese buy their (more expensive Toyotas, Hondas, Nissans or Mazdas) with a shorter loan period.

Thus after 12 years, the Malays get virtually nothing for their Protons while the Chinese still get good value for their cars.

The proposed policy is another proof that BN is only business friendly, the poor can be kept in check with occasional handouts from time to time.

Car producers, the used-car industry, the insurance industry and God forbid, those cronies with a bagful of approved permits must be amortising their profit now because this policy looks certain to become law.

This has nothing to do with safety on the roads and all that. Thousands of pensioners who look after their “bone shakers”, unlike the children of VVIPs with their European cars, only use their old vehicles to go to their neighbourhood markets, mosques or send their grandchildren to schools.

It is all about money, taxes and many government MPs who are lobbyists for those industries.

Ironically, we didn’t hear Puspakom objecting to this proposal. Well there is no irony at all because Puspakom is also part of DRB-Hicom, which owns Proton. So Puspakom would not lose much. Cars still have to go to this monopoly when there is a change of ownership. – November 20, 2013.

* The writer reads The Malaysian Insider.

 - MSN