We’ve all seen cars that have obviously illegal number plates and window tints that do not conform to regulation (way too dark or just a weird colour), but now we have numbers to support this phenomenon….at least in the Klang Valley.
A recent study conducted by KL-based behavioural research firm Centre for Governance and Political Studies (Cent-GPS) proves what we, as motorists on Malaysia’s roads, have known to be true: that there are those of us who love to ‘customise’ their vehicles through number plates and window tints, and that they usually appear on those ‘orang kaya’ cars.
'Atas' Cars Only?
These would include any number plates that do not conform to the standards set by the JPJ and use incorrect spacing, colours, backgrounds, and/or fonts. Vehicles found in violation of this can be fined between RM300 and RM3,000.
According to their findings, observed over a pool of 1,256 cars (they did not take motorcycles into account) with relevant violations, an estimated 56% of cars “that had illegal plate numbers” are worth RM160,000 or higher based on current new-car pricing, which Cent-GPS is categorising as those belonging to the T20 economic class.
Meanwhile, the remaining 44% were broken down into brackets of between RM120,000 to RM160,000, RM80k to RM120k, RM50k to RM80k, and lastly RM50k and less. Of that, none of these lower tiers accounted for anywhere near as many illegal plate numbers as the cars worth RM160k and up.
The firm then also took a different look at the same data set and calculated that an estimated 58.5% of the cars observed with this violation belonged to individuals in the T20 group while the M40 were responsible for 25.6% and the B40 took 15.9%.
This was determined by assuming each car was purchased with no downpayment and with 5-year hire purchase financing. The firm also arrived at these numbers with the assumption that the owners were financially literate and did not spend more than 24% of their monthly income on loan repayment for said vehicle.
Continental Cars vs Everything Else
Here’s where it gets a little more interesting, though, as Cent-GPS also found that, at 51%, the majority of the cars found with illegal number plates were from ‘Asian’ automakers, which we take to mean those from brands such as Toyota, Honda, Nissan and others.
Contrary to our own expectations, ‘Continental’ cars such as those of European and North American brand origin account for 33.4%. Lastly, Malaysian cars made up the remaining 15.6%, though even Cent-GPS admits that most of them could be narrowed down to the Proton X70.
That’s pretty hilarious. Guess if you aren’t quite ‘atas’ enough to be in the T20, you can aspirationally pretend to belong there by mimicking their higher tendency to disregard JPJ regulations such as those surrounding plate numbers and window tints.
Speaking of which, the firm also found that 52.8% of cars observed with illegal driver side tinting were worth over RM160,000, making them also fall under the T20 group. Interestingly, they did break down their results by individual brands unlike those for illegal plate numbers, revealing that Toyota owners top the chart and accounting for 22% alone.
In the runner up spots with around 15% and 13%, respectively, were Honda and Perodua owners. Who knew buyers of cars from those two other brands would be extra inclined to violate JPJ regulations so blatantly. We’d hazard a guess that over 80% of those Toyotas are made up of Alphards and Vellfires, but had reckoned Honda owners were above such disgraceful decisions.
We’ll end on the closing comments from Cent-GPS, which they used at the end of a series of tweets:
“With cars over MYR 160,000 dominating both categories of cars with illegal plate numbers and illegal tinted windows, we must ask why our society treats the ‘seemingly rich’ with more privileges, allowing them to think that they can get away with clear violations of the law,” they said, adding that “it begs the question on our policy-making and rule of law: if something as simple as car plate number laws are not being obeyed by certain segments of our country, how are we going to enforce more complex laws in the future?”