More cars than people in Malaysia at present? Not likely, as 33 mil figure is total registrations since 1946 – paultan.org
Last week, it was reported that the number of registered vehicles in Malaysia had reached 33.3 million units, with an increase of a million units annually since 2019. That number, it was said, had overtaken the population of the country, which stands at 32.6 million. The quoted figure was put as one of the reasons why traffic congestion has gotten worse in recent months.
However, former transport minister Liow Tiong Lai says that the claims are an exaggeration and does not portray the true picture of the current vehicle population, because the reported figure was an accumulation of registered vehicles since the British colonial days, as FMT reports.
He said that claimed in the news report did not reflect the real situation, stating he was certain that the number of vehicles on public roads was not more than the population at present. “The heading (of the media report) is very misleading. It is not possible that the number of vehicles is more than the population of Malaysia,” he told the publication.
While the country does have 33 million vehicles registered in the system, it is the total that has been administered in the past seven and a half decades. In November last year, road transport department (JPJ) director-general Zailani Hashim stated that the department had registered 33.05 million vehicles in the past 75 years, since it was incorporated on April 1, 1946 as the registrar and inspector of motor vehicles (RIMV).
Liow called for the government to clear the air on the matter, and said that JPJ should provide the necessary figures to eliminate the confusion. “They must put the facts in the right perspective. The department can use the latest road tax renewal records to confirm the numbers,” he explained. He added that JPJ should implement a “death certificate” for inactive or dormant vehicles, so the number of active vehicles in the country can be known.
Liow’s thoughts were echoed by former road safety department director-general Abd Ghafar Yusof, who said the statistics inherited since pre-Merdeka days has always been used to reflect the number of vehicles nationwide. He said that the practice of quoting that total, including those gathered since British days, was applied until the day he retired.
“I don’t understand why it is still being used today. This big figure was often used to reflect the representation and ratio of deaths on the road against the number of vehicles in the country. For example, it would determine an ‘x’ number of casualties against the total registered vehicles at a certain point of time or throughout the year,” he explained.
Ghafar said this method did not present the right picture of the country’s road safety index, and had repeatedly asked the transport ministry to use the number of vehicles based on the latest road tax renewal database to go along with the reported number of road accidents and fatalities. This, he said, would accurately provide data for the road safety index. However, nothing came of it, he added.
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