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Thursday, November 21, 2013

PKR alleges 12-year car age cap to boost GST revenue

NOVEMBER 20, 2013
Cars for sale are displayed in a shopping mall in Putrajaya on October 25, 2008. — Reuters pic
KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 20 — PKR demanded today reasons for the proposed 12-year age limit on cars, and alleged that it was the government’s way of collecting more revenue through the new Goods and Services tax (GST) system which will take effect in 2015.

Party strategic director Rafizi Ramli said the Transport Ministry did not offer any evidence on how cars older more than 12 years contributed drastically to road accidents.

“Until today, we still haven’t seen any evidence that the majority of accidents were caused by cars older than 12 years. There is no scientific explanation or empirical evidence.

“I am only asking for simple proof; for example, if you say that the car or vehicle above 12 years old is very risky, then we need to see the proof. What’s the difference and how much does the risk shoot up between 11-year-old cars and 12-year-old cars? Why are 11-year-old cars OK, but 12 year-old-ones are not allowed?” he told reporters at the Parliament lobby.

Yesterday, Malaysian Institute of Road Safety Research (Miros) director-general Prof Dr Wong Shaw Voon’s said cars that were more than 12 years old were road worthy.

Acting Transport Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein, however, said a comprehensive study on the economic and social impact is needed before banning vehicles aged more than 12 years from roads. The study would also look into those who might be affected by the vehicle life-span rule if it were to be implemented, he said.

He said the government should also consider other factors which contributed to road accidents such as dangerous road conditions, confusing sign boards, and drivers’ carelessness, especially lowly-paid bus drivers who usually resort to speeding or not getting enough rest, to clock more hours.

The Pandan MP added that these factors are more pertinent issues that were not addressed but instead the government is “using the excuse” of road safety to introduce an age-limit on cars.

“My colleagues in PKR and I suspect that the real reason Barisan Nasional wants to introduce the age-limit on cars is to collect GST which will be implemented because GST goes by transaction. The more frequent the transaction, the more GST that you collect. The more cars changing hands, every year, the more the government will collect in revenue.

“Our suspicion is that it is not really motivated by road safety. This is more part of Datuk Seri Najib’s clandestine move to squeeze more from the public in order to make up for the deepening deficit because of the mismanagement of the economy,” he alleged.

Meanwhile, Penampang MP Darell Leiking said the proposed policy is even more unfair to Sabahans as the cost of car prices is up to RM3,000 more expensive than in the peninsula.

“Most of the young people have bought second-hand cars or re-conditioned cars and most of these cars are already five to six years old.

“So you can imagine some might take a loan for up to nine years, and once they have finished paying for their car, it would no longer be considered road worthy.

“So I think this is a very unfair policy. The government should look into the safety aspect, such as the road infrastructure and lighting,” he said.

Leiking stressed that there are several roads in Sabah with no lights and that the condition of cars depends on how the owner takes care of them, and is not determined by the age of the car alone.

“Think about us in Sabah,” he pleaded.

Bayan Baru MP Sim Tze Tzin also stressed that young people would be in debt their whole life if this policy were pushed through.

“Every young person and all those who work will forever be mired in debts because every 12 years, you will have to buy a new car. In your whole life, you would have to buy four to five cars. Let’s say you live until 70, even as a retiree, you would have to fork out to pay or get a bank loan to buy a car. It is just ridiculous.

“We urge the government to be very serious because the National Automotive Policy (NAP) will be out next month and what we see is they want to try to milk everything from us through cars, already we have the highest excise tax in the world, 85 per cent to 110 per cent of excise duty and then right now they want to have an end of life policy,” he lamented.

Sim said buying a house is already a challenge to many. Soon, with this policy, buying a car would also be an added burden. Echoing the sentiments of his colleague, he said the government should study this policy thoroughly before implementing it.

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