JULY 11 — Last week I was chatting with a friend who’s been a e-hailing driver for five years.
He told me about the problem he faced when it came to road tax renewal, a problem which affects thousands of e-hailing drivers in our country.
All these years he’s never had a problem renewing his road tax. However, last week he experienced a shock as JPJ refused to renew his road tax.
Why? Because they said they could not renew the road tax of an e-hailing driver if the E-Hailing Vehicle Permit (EVP) has expired or is less than 30 days to expiry.
Nevertheless, and unfortunately, his EVP renewal had not been processed at the time he went to get his road tax renewed.
So now (as of the time of writing), my friend is stuck. He cannot renew his road tax and therefore is unable to drive and has no income until he can.
My friend’s frustrations aside, his situation raises a key question: Why does JPJ need to examine the EVP to renew a vehicle’s road tax?
Isn’t a road tax tied to a car’s general use of the country’s roads and highways as opposed to a vehicle’s specific employment by a particular sector?
If a car’s road tax could be renewed before it was driven for Grab, why does Grab’s renewal of this same driver’s EVP now impact JPJ’s granting his vehicle a road tax?
It’s almost as if I’m unable to renew my Identity Card because, oh, my college hasn’t renewed my Teaching Permit!
Furthermore, the EVP does not mean the car is now classified as a commercial vehicle which makes it even more bizarre why the road tax renewal depends on it.
At most, it would only make sense for EVP non-renewal to impact e-hailing i.e. not being allowed to drive for his e-hailing company until his EVP is renewed is one thing, but now officially my friend isn’t allowed to use the roads for even personal errands.
This is ironic as it would appear that in recent months the Ministry of Transport has been trying to be more flexible to make things easier.
For example, now we don’t have to display our road tax on our windscreens, we have a MyJPJ app to ease mobile transactions, etc. So why make things unnecessarily complicated by tying road tax renewal to EVPs?
Finally, and to reiterate, what if e-hailing companies fail to perform the renewal of the EVPs in time? I have, in fact, heard of some occasions when the EVP was renewed weeks and even months later.
If so, drivers like my friend would be without a road tax through no fault of their own.
For the sake of the thousands of e-hailing drivers in our country, perhaps the relevant authorities will look into this matter and come up with a solution that allows them to get their road tax done in time.
* This is the personal opinion of the columnist.