Forum: Tweaks to COE needed to ensure better social equity in car ownership

The certificate of entitlement (COE) scheme was put in place to control the vehicle population here.

But the limitations of the COE system as a tool to curb car numbers can be seen from how higher-income households own multiple cars.

Thus, an additional buyer's stamp duty should be applied to each additional vehicle purchased by a household, to reduce the ability of rich buyers to hoard cars that they do not really need. Applying it to everyone living in the same household would prevent people from getting around the restriction by registering cars under different names.

And if this duty is still not effective enough, a rule restricting each household to owning one car could be considered.

On the other side of the coin, it should be recognised that a car may be a need rather than a luxury for some families with seniors, multiple young children or family members with disabilities.

These families should receive subsidies, or even exemption from COE altogether for as long as they need to ferry their less mobile family members around.

Their circumstances could be reviewed yearly to make sure that they are still eligible to receive the benefits.

Lim Fu Kang

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.