TechTalk number plates

Published on April 1st, 2023 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez


YB Anthony Loke It Is Time For Standard Number Plates

We are already have a format for number plates but most are not following them as enforcement is lacking.

We should be moving to nation-wide standard format of number plates for all vehicles in Malaysia. There should be an end of fancy and self designed number plates which is a common sight on Malaysian roads.

If the Thailand and Singapore road transport departments can standardize their vehicle registration plates years ago, why can’t we?

More than two decades ago we (dsf) actually brought the idea of standard registration plates to the JPJ and it was met with little enthusiasm as there was already a format, but enforcement was lacking.

Our idea was to have just designated number plate suppliers (controlled) and it must be delivered to vehicle owners with their new car registration by the JPJ.

This way there can be NO fancy number plate shops all over the country. If you lose or damage your vehicle registration plate, you need to purchase a replacement from JPJ ONLY.

Meanwhile, we actually have a standard number plate directive (see below) from our road transport department (JPJ) but sadly its not being followed by car owners and even ‘many’ new car sellers who provide the number plates to the customers.

number plate

So you might ask, ‘why’ is there a need to have a standard type-face for vehicle registration plates in Malaysia when abuse could still occur despite having standards?

Well, the simple answer to that is that the lack of clear standards leaves room for a larger number of abuses i.e. “custom”, “fancy”, or “personalised” registration plates.

Standards are important for there to be coherence and clarity in the application of the rule of law. Countries like Germany, Italy, Singapore, UK and many more, all have standardised number plate type-faces and clear display guidelines.

A standard number plate typeface will also allow for technologies like Automatic License Plate Recognition (ALPR) to be more effective for tracking and enforcement (also with many new car parks today that provide this service when you enter and exit to ease payment).

Meanwhile, there should be law prohibiting license plate shops from issuing fancy (unauthorised type face and fonts) number plates. There should also be a law preventing the production of back lit number plates which can be seen on many tuned and very expensive vehicles.

number plates

Interestingly, the official ‘tendering’ of number plates provides very good income for our Road Transport Department (JPJ) and this should be enough for them to start looking at having standard number plates that the department can issue via their approved vendors and stores to car owners. It could be mailed out like with our yearly road tax renewal.

The plates could be issued with a micro-chip embedded in them and this will also prevent the abuse of cloned cars running around the country and giving massive headache to owners of cars that have been closed as speeding and parking summons are very hard to explain to our authorities.

number plates

There was some chatter back in January 2017 to have this done, but it fizzled out after some time and nothing was executed. Maybe now with a YB Anthony Loke in charge of JPJ, we might see execution of this like we did with the revised road tax sticker.

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