Some time ago a suggestion was mooted that all cars above 12-years of age were unfit / unsafe to be driven on public roads. This caused a furor among owners of older cars, and even raised the eyebrows of many classic car owners in the country, yours truly included. This ‘knee-jerk’ statement was seen by many as nothing more than a thinly-veiled attempt to get people to buy more new cars, i.e. Protons. It was so obvious.
But also very obviously, the perpetrators of this idea to scrap cars above the age of 12 had not thought it through properly, or even attempted to gauge the impact the implementation of this idea would have on the general public. All they needed to do was take a drive around Malaysia – like I have many times – and see for themselves how older cars are still being used, safely, on a daily basis, especially in the small towns that dot the landscape outside the Klang Valley.
Often seen at the various food stalls that have been set up usually by an elderly couple in their golden years, would be their trusty decades-old Nissan or Toyota, which is not only used as personal transport, it’s also a ‘carrier’ for the goods and wares they sell. Now understand this; even if they could afford to buy a new car, they would not qualify for a bank loan due to their age, thus it would have to be a cash buy, and that’s out of the question. The worst part is that a mandatory ‘scrapping’ policy would not only take away their means of transport, without that car, it would affect their livelihood too.
Thus, like me, they keep their cars in excellent running condition, since to have it breakdown would definitely not only be costly, but it would mean downtime for their business as well. Now if the powers-that-be want to implement a yearly inspection to ensure that all the cars that are older than a certain age are fit for the road, I actually laud that decision. But to come out with a ‘blanket’ statement that all old cars are unfit, well that’s just ridiculous, because I haven’t even mentioned anything about ‘Classic’ cars yet.
So needless to say I was all-ears in regards to the VVI or Voluntary Vehicle Inspection that was raised during the NAP recently, but apparently they are still ‘looking into it’. I hope they give this a lot more thought this time, and perhaps come out with an incentive scheme for those who own older cars. I’d suggest a reduction in road tax for old cars that pass this VVI, which should be a free service, if no incentive is given. It should be free since it’s supposed to be ‘voluntary’ after all, and if it isn’t, then an incentive should be given, and not a threat to scrap. Here’s hoping some good comes of this. We’ll keep you posted.