KUALA LUMPUR - The Vehicle Entry Permit (VEP) system, which affects cars entering Malaysia from Singapore, will be discussed by the Cabinet, said the country's Transport Minister Anthony Loke.
"I have been briefed but it needs to be discussed in Cabinet as we want a comprehensive solution," he said at a press conference on Thursday (May 24).
In October last year, the government had announced that all foreign-registered vehicles entering Malaysia would soon require a VEP costing RM25 (S$8.40), in addition to paying existing road charges. The permit is valid for five years.
The VEP is aimed at preventing foreign vehicles from being cloned and sold in the country. It will also enable the government to prevent vehicles with outstanding traffic summonses from leaving the country.
The VEP scheme, which was originally set to start in January, has been delayed as more time is needed to fine-tune the system.
Malaysia's new Pakatan Harapan government has announced it will review a number of the country's mega-projects entered into by the previous administration, including the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High-Speed Rail (HSR) and the East Coast Railway Link.
Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad on Wednesday announced the Land Public Transport Commission (Spad), which led negotiations for the HSR, will be abolished and its tasks carried out by the Transport Ministry instead.
In response to concerns about job losses ahead of the Muslim Hari Raya festival, Mr Loke said on Thursday that approximately 800 permanent Spad employees will be absorbed by the Road Transport Department (JPJ).
"There are 1,000 vacant positions in JPJ which are frozen for new intakes, and we have decided to take in all the Spad staff to fill these spots. Any overlapping will be reviewed and decided on later... Pakatan Harapan is a considerate government," he said.
As the government is looking at ways to cut costs to pare down its national debt of RM1 trillion, the ministry has decided to end the practice of authorising certain non-governmental organisations to sell special number plates.
"The minister has the power to allow this but it ends now. Any purchase of plate numbers must go through JPJ, without exceptions. This is government revenue and we intend to collect all of it... we need the money," he said.
Mr Loke said JPJ, one of the highest income generators under the Transport Ministry, contributed RM4 billion to the government in 2017 through revenue from road tax collection, and sales of driving licences and vehicle plate numbers.
"Of the amount, RM280 million was raised from normal bidding for plate numbers. The amount should increase with the introduction of the e-bidding system."
"It is expected to be rolled out next January," he said, adding that the electronic system will enable the public to purchase their favourite vehicle plate numbers online.
"Those who can afford to bid on their favourite numbers can contribute to government revenue," he said.
The highest bid for a plate number to date is RM900,000.