PETALING JAYA: Any effort to improve the acquisition of road tax for heavy and commercial vehicles should include cutting the process of physically collecting them at Road Transport Department (JPJ) offices, according to stakeholders.

Pan Malaysian Bus Operators Association (PMBOA) president Datuk Ashfar Ali suggested that JPJ service kiosks which were currently set up in public areas to aid consumers in renewing their motor vehicle licences should also be extended towards commercial vehicles, such as fleet buses.

“The kiosks should (also) operate 24 hours as it allows fleet bus operators especially to not be tied down to office hours when it comes to obtaining their road tax.

“The guidelines for improvements towards the road tax acquisition for commercial vehicles should be stated in detail to avoid any confusion,” he said.

Ashfar also proposed for the Transport Ministry to look towards embedding electronic chips into the number plates of commercial vehicles while also enabling roadside inspections to be carried out efficiently.

“Embedding these chips into number plates can also be a means of tackling the issue of the brittle road tax discs.

“The chip can similarly contain information such as the vehicle’s road tax status, the vehicle’s owner and the date of recent inspections by the national vehicle inspection company Puspakom, among others.

“It also prevents issues such as duplication of number plates, where only licensed (number plates) have the chip inserted,” he said, adding that this would make the relevant authorities’ inspection processes easier.

The Malaysia Trucking Federation, previously known as the Pan-Malaysia Lorry Owners’ Association (PMLOA), said digitalising the process could potentially cut waiting times for heavy vehicle owners to obtain their vehicle’s road tax.

Explaining further, its secretary-general Alvin Loke said this would allow heavy vehicles that had completed their vehicle inspections with Puspakom in the evenings to possibly obtain their road tax before the following day.

“As per current procedure, transporters and lorry owners are required to complete and pass their Puspakom inspections before obtaining their road tax and for vehicles whose inspections are completed in the evening, their road tax can only be collected the next day, which sees downtime for operations.

“Road tax collection at JPJ offices can also take time, depending on the crowd, which increases this (downtime).

“Through digitalisation, hopefully the ministry can come up with a mechanism that allows road tax to be collected earlier,” he said when contacted yesterday.

Gym equipment supplier Lim Jian Hung, whose business is reliant on logistics services, concurred, saying that any efforts to digitalise the road tax acquisition process should hasten the process of heavy vehicles acquiring road tax following inspection.

“The current process is quite timely as it is not a one- or two-hour affair, and we have to plan ahead in order to meet and exceed customers’ expectations.

“If we can digitalise the road tax acquisition process following (vehicle) inspections, we can improve our services and better meet consumers’ needs,” he said.

On Friday, Transport Minister Anthony Loke said a more efficient and convenient road tax acquisition mechanism will be introduced after Chinese New Year, with more details to be announced soon.

He added that digitalising (the road tax acquisition process) could also provide smoother and faster service to the public, where they would no longer have to go to JPJ offices to pay for or collect road tax discs.

Loke also previously mentioned that poor quality road tax stickers would soon be a thing of the past, with the road tax system being overhauled and changes being introduced this year.