RTD must explain ‘BMW’ number plates

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KUALA LUMPUR: The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has asked the Road Transport Department (RTD) to explain the procedures involved in acquiring special vehicle registration plates following controversies arising from the “BMW” number plate series in Selangor. PAC chairman Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed said RTD was already scheduled to come before the committee on Nov 5 for other issues but the committee decided that during the session, they would also ask the department to explain the issuance of special vehicle registration plates.

“RTD will be asked to explain the operation of its MySikap portal as well as the process in acquiring the special number plates,” Nur Jazlan said in Parliament after chairing the PAC meeting.

MySikap is the RTD’s online transactions portal which allows users to perform transactions involving motor vehicle and driver licensing. Some transactions are free while others have a service fee.

In a statement last week, Nur Jazlan said the committee wanted to get more information on the standard operating procedure (SOP) of the tender process so the public would understand the methods involved in acquiring special number plates. “The tender in acquiring special vehicle registration plates always becomes an issue and it has given a negative perception of the government and the successful bidders.”

The RTD told The Malaysian Insider recently that Cabinet ministers, judges and  royalty were the anonymous bidders who won the much sought-after “BMW” number plates. The department also said it was normal procedure to blank out their names as well as not disclose the actual bid amount to avoid negative public perception.

RTD director-general Datuk Ismail Ahmad denied that the department had given five exclusive car registration number plates to government administration personnel for free but he would not disclose the total amount the department had collected for these five number plates. “We want to avoid speculation and doubts. As long as one has the money and used the proper channel to get the numbers, they can have it, whoever they are,.”

Nur Jazlan said the RTD was scheduled to appear before the PAC based on the recommendations by the Auditor-General (AG) following its 2013 Series 2 report.

The five anonymous bidders came to light recently when anti-crime activist R Sri Sanjeevan was found to have paid almost RM340,000 for the number plates BMW 8 and BMW 11. The MyWatch chairman was listed along with other successful bidders for the numbers one to 12 with the BMW prefix, for cars registered with the Selangor RTD. — The Malaysian Insider

This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on October 15, 2014.