KUALA LUMPUR, June 7 — Most cars in Klang Valley that did not comply with Road Transport Department's (JPJ) number plate rules were those retailing at RM160,000 or higher, a study by the Centre for Governance and Political Studies (Cent-GPS) suggested.

The think tank said it surveyed several locations in the city and observed 1,256 vehicles that did not adhere to the legal requirements for font style, size, spacing, and others.

“The majority of cars that had illegal plate numbers are worth over RM160,000 at 56 per cent; 13 per cent of the vehicles were worth between RM80,000 and RM120,000.

“Another 13 per cent had a price tag of between RM120,001 to RM160,000. Only 8 per cent of the cars observed with illegal plate numbers were worth RM50,000 or less in the current market,” cited the study.


In Malaysia, the law regarding car plates is straightforward. According to JPJ: individual letters and digits must be 7cm tall and 4cm wide while the break between letters and numbers should be 3cm and spaces between letters must be 1cm.

If found in violation of the standard regulations, vehicle owners can face a fine of not less than RM300 and not more than RM3,000 under Section 14 (4) of the Road Transport Act 1987.

The think tank said its study assumed that every car they observed was purchased through a bank-loan, with a five-year repayment plan and no down payment.


They also assumed that the owner was financially literate and would only spend 24 per cent of his monthly income on paying the vehicle loan to estimate whether the owner has a B40, M40 or T20 income.

“Of the Klang Valley vehicles we found to have illegal plate numbers, we roughly estimate around 58.5 per cent of the cars came from the T20 income group, 25.6 per cent belonged to the M40 income group whilst only 15.9 per cent came from the B40 income group,” said the study.

The study noted that they did not observe motorcycles, so could not conclusively state that T20 are more likely to break the JPJ rules for plate numbers.

“Moreover, there is a strong chance that the T20 priced vehicle we observed just has a M40 owner who is overpaying on his car bank loan. These limitations can be improved in future studies.

“Whilst this is a simple (and fun) social experiment from Cent-GPS, the results should make us think about our Malaysian culture and society at large,” said the study.