Budget 2013 is just around the corner, and every Tom, Dick and Cuepacs is shouting out demands. Since we’re at it, how about the introduction of GST along with the reduction of personal income tax? Currently, too small a group is carrying too big a tax burden for the country, and it’s only fair to share the load and broaden the current tax base.

Enough with my wishful thinking and on to the automotive sector’s wish list. The Malaysian Automotive Association (MAA) has two items on it – the extension of incentives for hybrid cars and a a long-term vehicle scrapping scheme.

The reason Honda and Toyota are selling so many hybrid cars these days is the government’s incentive scheme of 100% import and excise duty exemption for CBU hybrid vehicles below 2,000 cc. The incentives, as spelled out in Budget 2012, expires on December 31, 2013. MAA believes that it should be extended for at least three to five years.

This will be a step in enabling the growth of green vehicle ownership, said MAA president Datuk Aishah Ahmad. “We feel the two-year period given earlier is not sufficient for the market to develop fully,” she added.

Should this green car incentive be extended to other fuel efficient vehicles? Naza Group joint group executive chairman SM Nasarudin SM Nasimuddin thinks so. “The latest diesel-powered cars offer better fuel consumption and lower CO2 emissions than petrol-powered cars. With the volatility in global crude oil prices, more consumers are seeking cars that consume less fuel,” he pointed out.

Naza’s unit Nasim recently introduced diesel-powered Peugeots for the first time in Malaysia. BMW Group Malaysia has also been a strong promoter of diesel efficiency over the years.

Another MAA wish is for a long-term vehicle scrapping scheme to be put in place, with incentives to be financed by the government. Besides boosting vehicle sales, such a scheme will see better and safer cars on the road, MAA reasons.

“This is to encourage owners of old vehicles to change over to new vehicles that are safer, more fuel efficient and more environmental friendly. And, at the same time boost demand for new vehicles,” said Aishah, who also suggested a grace period of two years to allow stakeholders to transition smoothly.

It’s not the first time we’re hearing something like this. Back in 2009, the government suggested a Vehicle End-of-Life Policy that wasn’t very well received, and was eventually scrapped. Do you think that we’re ready for a vehicle scrapping scheme ala Singapore?

Malaysia’s market leader Perodua is for such a scheme, which it says will address vehicle safety and roadworthiness issues. “During recent discussions with the government, the automotive industry proposed that the policy should be implemented voluntarily before making it compulsory,” Perodua MD Datuk Aminar Rashid Salleh was recently quoted as saying.

Agree? No? Two-sen donations are welcome in the comments section.