The Straits Times
Published on Feb 25, 2013

Don't dismiss balloting for COEs


I DO not agree with Minister of State for Transport Josephine Teo's statement that balloting for certificates of entitlement (COEs) will send the wrong signal to genuine buyers.

Rules can be put in place to eliminate speculators and any potential black market.

I propose that a small number of COEs be set aside for balloting. This will run in parallel with the current COE bidding system, which caters to wealthy buyers. These balloted COEs can be used to buy only efficient cars that get the maximum carbon emissions-based vehicle scheme rebate.

To eliminate the black market, only individuals can bid for them, and they are non-transferable, so the bidder must also be the owner and insured driver of the car. They are valid for the purchase of one vehicle, which can only be scrapped or exported, but not resold locally.

Each successful bid will bar the bidder from making further bids for 10 years.

I am sure our policymakers can further refine the rules to make the system work; perhaps even imposing a non-refundable deposit for bidding. The proportion of these balloted COEs can also be adjusted to tweak the vehicle population.

Such a system will send the message that owning a car is not a necessity, but at the same time it is not purely a privilege of the wealthy. It will also increase ownership of efficient cars that can be made to last a full 10 years, decreasing waste.

I urge the authorities not to dismiss the idea of balloting for COEs.

Aaron Lee Kwang Yang