KUALA LUMPUR – February 6, 2017: Malaysian road users are up against a blatant parts-for-rent scam that has been helping unscrupulous commercial vehicle operators beat Puspakom’s stringent mandatory vehicle inspection.
The Mole can reveal that this syndicate operates via the social media and has been active in recent months, and perhaps even years.
The rentable parts are usually made available by automobile repair shops. These parts range from something as simple as tyres and vehicle windows to more intricate parts such as brake drums and drive shafts.
A complete set of non-tinted windows can be installed for between RM700 and RM900 for cars, and RM1, 200-RM1, 700 for commercial vehicles.
The retail price for these screens is RM2, 000-3, 500 for cars (depending on the model) and RM5, 000- RM10, 000 for commercial vehicles.
Tyres for rent are cheaper, from as low as RM70 a piece for cars and RM100-RM130 per tyre for commercial vehicles.
“We still make good money even if we charge them less,” said a Gombak-based vehicle window specialist who does window glasses installations for cars, busses, lorries and trucks.
“They came to us because they do not want to go through the hassle of removing and reapplying their illegal window tint film every time they need to send their vehicles for a Puspakom inspection,” he said.
“They could’ve avoided doing this if they just follow JPJ’s (Road Transport Department) window tint regulation but if they’re willing to pay just so that they can borrow my wares…then who am I to complain?”
A tyre mechanic who runs his shop in Sungai Buloh argued that there is nothing illegal about such business.
“It’s not like we’re forcing them or lending them counterfeit parts. The tyres that I rent out to my customers are of the same quality as the ones that I sell.
“What they do with it or why they choose to rent it instead of buying new ones is none of my business.
“We’re not doing anything wrong.”
Puspakom chief executive officer Mohammed Shukor Ismail disagrees, totally.
“What they are doing is irresponsible .. and dangerous,” Shukor said.
Puspakom, however, cannot act against these cheats.
“We do not have the power to enforce laws and our inspection is based on the condition of the inspected vehicle at the time of the inspection,” he told The Mole.
“We have come across road accidents involving vehicles that had passed our inspection … except that at the time of the accident, they had parts that would not have made the grade.
“Not only can such irresponsible behaviour endanger the safety of other road users, it also contravenes the Road Transport Act 1987,” said Shukor.
Renting automotive parts for passing Puspakom’s inspection is not the only bad habit of some vehicle owners.
“Some of them don’t seem to be able to tell the difference between inspection and maintenance.
“Some owners skip the periodic maintenance on their vehicles … they seem to think, somehow, that their vehicles will remain tiptop until the next (Puspakom) inspection that is usually due every six months,” Shukor said.
In reality, he added, the normal process of a vehicle’s wear and tear will occur as soon as the inspection ends.
“So just because your vehicle scored a borderline passing mark of 52 per cent for its brake test, it does not mean it will continue to score the same mark throughout the entire month,” he explained.
Shukor believes that drivers’ poor attitude and insufficient driving proficiency are the biggest contributors to road accidents.
He thinks it is high time that the national driving syllabus be reviewed and updated.
“For example, those who are applying for heavy-duty commercial vehicle driving license must undergo rigorous training.
“I also think that fleet operators must be required to conduct training from time to time in order to gauge the competency of their drivers .. and send those who performed poorly for immediate remedial courses,” said Shukor.