SOP in the works to dispose of abandoned vehicles faster, says transport minister

Transport Minister Anthony Loke speaks to reporters during after chairing the National Transportation Council meeting at the Putrajaya International Convention Centre March 5, 2019. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon
Transport Minister Anthony Loke speaks to reporters during after chairing the National Transportation Council meeting at the Putrajaya International Convention Centre March 5, 2019. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon

PUTRAJAYA, March 5 — The Transport Ministry is looking to resolve the conundrum that is the management of derelict vehicles, which minister Anthony Loke said is financially burdensome and time-consuming for local authorities.

He said it is common to spot such abandoned vehicles or their remnants in residential or commercial areas, leading to numerous complaints from the public as they are an eyesore and attract unwanted attention.

“Presently there is no clear standard operating procedures (SOP) to handle this problem, besides the councils having to move them to depots and then look for the owners,” Loke said after chairing the National Transportation Council meeting.

He added this could take up to one year, before the vehicle is finally disposed of.

“From 2014 to 2017 there were approximately 15,000 derelict vehicles managed by eight city or municipal authorities nationwide.

“They also have to spend money on renting depots to place the vehicles, purchase tow trucks to haul them there, and even place notices in the newspapers to that effect. Bear in mind, none of these generate any revenue for the local authorities,” Loke said.

A proposed SOP by the Housing and Local Government Ministry in today’s meeting may soon help to shorten the time period required to dispose of the vehicles.

“We are still working out the processes, but the proposal will see the vehicles disposed of in less than 33 days instead of a year.

“Once it is finalised, it will be brought to Cabinet for discussion sometime next month, then to the National Local Government Council in June. All in all it is expected to be implemented by July,” he said.

Loke said the new SOP will also mean local authorities can form Seized Assets Disposal Committees by themselves to handle the vehicles.

“As the SOP is retroactive, applying to vehicles seized before it comes into effect, we expect the process of disposing or scrapping them to become much faster this way,” he said.