The Malaysian High Commission in Singapore has denied reports in the republic's newspapers that restrictions on their off-peak cars (OPCs) have been imposed by the Malaysian authorities from New Year'S Day.
High Commissioner Datuk N. Parameswaran said in a statement Thursday that the government of Malaysia "has no intention of restricting the entry into Malaysia of any OPCs at any time."
He said Malaysia welcomed visitors from Singapore and expressed hope that they would enjoy the various events and attractions during Visit Malaysia Year 2007.
I beg to differ. Singapore's OPCs should not be allowed on Malaysian roads.
The OPC scheme replaced the Weekend Car Scheme on 1 October 1994. The Weekend Car Scheme was introduced when I was residing in Singapore on employment pass. The scheme offers new and and existing car owners the option to save on car registration and road taxes in return for reduced usage of the car.
An OPC can be freely driven on Sundays, public holidays and during the following non-restricted hours:-
> Mondays to Fridays from 7 pm to 7 am. (The OPC cannot be on Singapore roads from 7 am to 7 pm)
> Saturdays and eve of New Year, Lunar New Year, Hari Raya Puasa, Deepavali and Christmas from 3 pm onwards.
If the owner of an OPC need to use his car during the restricted hours, he will need to display a $20 (about RM45) a day licence.
Note: The registration number plates of the OPC are in red. A seal is affixed onto the number plate by the authorised Inspection Centre approved by the Land Transport Authority.
Now, if an OPC is not allowed on Singapore roads, that is during its restricted hours, then why should it be allowed on Malaysian roads?
Normally, the owner on an OPC will drive during the non-restricted hours to Malaysia, sometimes for the whole week and as far as Penang. Then he will return to Singapore during the non-restricted hours to escape from paying $20 per day.
If the car is involved in a fatal road accident in Malaysia, what about the third party insurance coverage?
To my knowledge and I stand to be corrected, insurance companies only provide third party coverage during the non-restricted hours, that is when an OPC is legally allowed on the road. When the OPCs are in Malaysia, most of the time during restricted hours (according to the Singapore OPC Scheme), there is no insurance coverage.
What will happen if the OPC is involved in a fatal accident, involving Malaysians, while being driven on Malaysian roads?