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Monday, November 16, 2009

NST Article: Classic owners in the lurch


Classic owners in the lurch

Submitted by yani on Fri, 13/11/2009 - 7:49pm

Nine days after the new National Automotive Policy (NAP) was announced on Oct 29, the government withdrew the controversial mandatory 15-year-vehicle inspection measure due to overwhelming public displeasure.

It was indeed a huge relief for many but are old car owners actually free to enjoy their right of ownership of such vehicles?
The other NAP measure - ban on import of used car parts and components effective June 2011 - will affect them.

Automotive chop-shops are alternative used vehicle spares hyper-markets existent globally to enable motorists to keep their cars on the road at affordable costs.
These shops offer parts which are generally in good condition, reasonably priced and available at an instant.

A ban on used parts would eventually force owners to dispose of their old cars for new ones.

Even if one can afford to purchase new parts, what if the particular make is out of

Should parts be available abroad, the waiting period and high costs of purchase will frustrate the car owner.

"Our low exchange rate would make it difficult for us to purchase parts via e-Bay or online and I urge the government to reconsider this ban on imported used parts," said 25-year-old Kevin Lee from Kampar, Perak.

"Some of us still prefer our old cars and see absolutely no reason or rhyme to own a new one, so please give that freedom of choice," said Naseer Rafick, who uses his old continental make of 30 years on a daily basis without any problems.

Old car owners could be loosely categorised as low income earners, non-believers of new car price structures, sentimental motorists, students, retirees, rural folk, motor financing rejects and vintage and classic car owners.

In this country, cars are technically deemed as falling into the "old vehicle category" after 10 years since the date of production based on the policies established by the finance and insurance industry.

Gone are the days when finance or credit companies would offer hire-purchase schemes for motorists seeking to buy cars of this age. Even if a loan is offered for a car of 10 years and above, the offering of such a package would depend entirely on the credit standing of the hirer and not on the value of the vehicle.

The bankers call this "character financing". Those who cannot afford to pay cash for such purchases would have to worry about their financial creditworthiness in the eyes of the financiers when applying for loans. In line with this general financing guidelines by these finance companies, motor insurance companies have also maintained a general practice of not offering the preferred comprehensive (first party) motor insurance policies for cars above 10 years old.

In the alternative, motorists are allowed to purchase third party policies to ensure the continuous usage of these old cars. The Road Transport Act empowers insurance companies to offer this minimum form of insurance coverage to enable old car owners to enjoy the right of usage of these vehicles.

However, some time in December 2008, the majority of insurance companies in the country jointly decided to scale back on issuance of third party policies as most of them were allegedly recording losses which they claim were due to high third party bodily injury claims.

Motorists were only made aware of the non-issuance of such policies when they applied for renewal. Many were left in the lurch as they were not able to renew their road tax due to failure in obtaining insurance coverage for their vehicles.
The rejected motorists were directed to try their luck with the Malaysian Motor Insurance Pools (MMIP), a high risk insurance pool collectively run by the insurance industry and deemed as the insurer of last resort.

Due to the overwhelming surge of applications, MMIP and Pos Malaysia formed a strategic partnership to enable the public to purchase such policies at any one of the latter's 684 outlets.

Sounds great but the truth of the matter is that now motorists were not only required to comply with stringent requirements like obtaining a vehicle inspection certificate prior to issuance of policies but had also to fork out extra cash due to the doubling and tripling of the loading and premiums compared with that of the year before!

Some have also complained of delays in purchasing policies from these outlets.
"Naturally with a population of 2.7 million cars on the road that are 10 years or older and only one establishment to handle all insurance renewal applications, many other operational issues like claims and repairs would be also a cause for concern in the near future," said a senior insurance agent.

Sadly, due to these stringent requirements, many motorists have resorted to driving or riding their vehicles without valid insurance and road tax coverage nowadays.
Legal implications, if this trend continues, would be disastrous.

As far as these insurance woes are concerned, the grievances of the general motoring public have yet to be resolved by the relevant authorities.
Some see this as another way of curtailing one's right of enjoyment of an old vehicle!

It is apparent from these issues that implementation of policies are done almost all the time with minimal cross section consultation and the voice of the Malaysian motoring public is clearly not loud enough.

Maybe, the time has come for motorists to establish a strong body, like a Federation of Automotive Clubs, to represent their cause to the relevant governing bodies to ensure consultation is effected before implementation and not vice versa.

By Andrew Suresh



AGAIN, PLEASE DEAR GOVERNMENT, Do spare a thought for the Rural/POOR/Retiree and Classic Enthusiasts... Don't BAN KERETA POTONG... Otherwise, 5000 registered Kereta Potong Countrywide will be shut down and all its workers will be JOBLESS.


Before I signed off, here's a Parting shot: My best friend's "LOW MILEAGE", Tip top, 1979 Datsun 120Y. Queuing up for scrapping (Waiting list) in exchange for a Proton since August...

That’s all folks! Thanks for having the time and Patience to read this Wonderfully Written Article…

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