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  • RMK-12: Highway development to be reviewed – reasonable toll rates for rakyat, fair investor returns

    In the 12th Malaysia Plan, or Rancangan Malaysia Ke-12 (RMK-12) as presented by prime minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob, the Malaysian government outlined its plans for the restructuring of the highway development model.

    According to the Plan, this restructuring is aimed at reducing the risk to the government while enabling concessionaires to carry out operations and maintenance of the highway, while enabling the generation of fair returns from toll fare collection.

    Formulated last year, the Highway Network Development Plan 2030 (HNDP 2030) was devised for the provision of “a comprehensive and systematic masterplan” for the upgrading and development of new roads, and this masterplan conceived as a reference for development on federal, state and local levels.

    LPT 2 highway

    The government will also explore options in order to ensure the viability of existing highway projects, the Plan stated. HNDP 2030 will also have provision for “a mechanism for prioritising new highways and available funding options,” it continued.

    The 12th Malaysia Plan also provided a brief progress report for ongoing highway developments in the country. For the central to east coast regions of the Peninsula, Central Spine Road (CSR) connecting Bentong, Pahang and Kuala Krai, Kelantan was at 58.2% completion as of the end of 2020, and the construction of the remaining CSR alignment is expected to be complete by 2025.

    Construction of the Kota Bharu – Kuala Krai (KBKK) highway in Kelantan is also being carried out in phases, with two out of eight sub-packages from Pasir Hor to Ketereh completed in 2019. Work progress on the KBKK was at 38% as of the end of 2020, with the remaining alignment from Ketereh to Kuala Krai expected to reach completion by 2025.

    Preliminary works on the Lebuhraya Pantai Timur 3 (LPT 3) commenced in 2020, with completion expected in the second quarter of 2022, according to RMK-12. The LPT 3 will connect Gemuruh, Terengganu to Tok Bali, Kelantan.

    For East Malaysia, work progress on the Pan Borneo Sabah Highway was at 44% at the end of 2020, and a further 281 km of the highway is expected be to complete by 2024. Meanwhile, the Pan Borneo Sarawak Highway from Telok Melano to Miri was at 59.4% completion as of the end of 2020, and is expected to be ready by 2022.

    For the Greater Klang Valley, five highways are under construction; these are the Sungai Besi-Ulu Kelang Elevated Expressway (SUKE), Damansara-Shah Alam Elevated Expressway (DASH), East Klang Valley Expressway (EKVE), Setiawangsa-Pantai Expressway (SPE) and Putrajaya-KLIA Expressway (MEX 2). All are scheduled for completion Q4 2021. Meanwhile, the West Coast Expressway (WCE) from Banting, Selangor to Taiping, Perak is expected to reach completion by 2024.

  • RMK-12: Training on energy-efficient driving to be mandatory for obtaining driving licence in Malaysia

    More news from the 12th Malaysia Plan (Rancangan Malaysia Ke-12 or RMK-12), which was revealed today by prime minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob. The government has said that it will enforce an “energy-efficient driving programme”, making it mandatory for all driving licence classes in the country.

    Frustratingly, the plan did not provide any specifics, but we can presume that it will involve a lot of coasting, light throttle applications and shifting to as high a gear as possible. Such a proposal has been bandied about in many countries and has even been implemented in places like Austria, in which a driver’s ability to “drive in an environmentally conscious manner” is assessed as part of its driving test.

    Implementing an eco-driving programme in its driving test criteria would certainly put Malaysia as one of the leaders in this regard, although there are some factors that need to be considered beforehand. For one thing, there are aspects of fuel saving that are diametrically opposed to safe driving, such as driving slower than the normal flow of traffic, which could increase the risk of a collision.

    Then again, driving in a fuel-efficient manner will also teach learners to better anticipate the movements of other road users, which could make them more aware on the road and thus, safer. Over to you now – do you think prospective drivers should learn to drive in a manner that maximises the distance between the pumps, or do you think there are other priorities to consider? Sound off in the comments after the jump.


  • Toyota Corolla Cross Hybrid teased for Malaysia – CKD petrol-electric SUV finally launching October 14?

    Toyota distributor UMW Toyota Motor is continuing its painfully slow tease of its upcoming CKD locally-assembled hybrids, finally confirming officially that it is reintroducing petrol-electric vehicles in Malaysia soon. The move is a long time coming, as it was made known as early as February.

    This is, however, the first time it is communicating an impending launch in no uncertain terms, although it has revealed precious little in terms of actual details (i.e. not advertising fluff). What it did do is release a few teaser images that pretty much nail down the identity of the first model due to be sold here.

    As you can see here, the photos show simple line drawings of the car, but the shape hints at it being an SUV. Then there are the identifying features such as the large grille, relatively big headlights and distinctive front and rear fender bulges that prove beyond all reasonable doubt that this is, in fact, the Corolla Cross Hybrid. Not surprising, given that petrol version is due to be assembled locally this year.

    To recap, the Corolla Cross Hybrid pairs a 1.8 litre Atkinson-cycle four-cylinder petrol engine – which makes 98 PS at 5,200 rpm and 142 Nm at 3,600 rpm – to a 72 PS/163 Nm electric motor, resulting in a total system output of 122 PS. The car is already being sold in Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam, so it is obviously very important to Toyota’s electrification plans in the region.

    Aside from the Corolla Cross Hybrid, you can also expect the Corolla sedan (already spotted here in hybrid form two years ago) and Camry to get hybrid variants as soon as they are locally assembled. The news coincides with the 12th Malaysia Plan revealed today, which among others, confirms that the Low Carbon Mobility Blueprint will be implemented to promote the use of energy-efficient vehicles, hybrid and electric vehicles, so there’s likely a tie-in of some kind.

    The official Toyota Malaysia website also teases a “Live Hybrid Film Premiere” in just under 17 days’ time, putting the reveal at October 14. Hopefully it will be an official launch instead of yet another teaser. As usual, we will bring you more news as we get them.

    GALLERY: Toyota Corolla Cross Hybrid, Thai-spec

  • RMK-12: Vehicle end of life policy for Malaysia to be studied for green reasons – no more old cars soon?

    Prime minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob today presented the 12th Malaysia Plan, or Rancangan Malaysia Ke-12 (RMK-12), a five-year guide for the country’s development. In Chapter 8 of the document titled Advancing Green Growth for Sustainability and Resilience, the government outlines its plans for Enhancing Green Mobility.

    A low-carbon mobility blueprint will be introduced to guide the planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of green mobility initiatives. The blueprint will outline strategies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector as well as accelerate the shift to green mobility, particularly low-carbon public transport and active mobility, which includes walking and cycling.

    “A study to identify mechanisms in phasing out old vehicles in a sustainable manner will also be undertaken,” the RMK-12 states. Now, this isn’t a new topic, far from it. The government has long toyed with the idea of a vehicle end-of-life (ELV) policy, which limits the lifespan of vehicles. Think Singapore and its vehicle scrapping policy. Looks like this is still very much on the agenda.

    The RMK-12 is a broad plan and there’s no time and space for details, but in March, the Malaysian Institute of Road Safety Research (MIROS), in conjunction with the ASEAN New Car Assessment Programme (ASEAN NCAP), opened a three-page ELV survey to the Malaysian public.

    The youngest car pictured here is the Mazda at 18 years old – naturally, car enthusiasts are against ELV

    The survey was meant to gauge opinion on the matter of vehicle scrapping; should there be an age limit on vehicles, and if so, how old should they be allowed to run before being scrapped – 10 years, 40 years, or not at all? It suggested methods for the implementation of the vehicle ELV policy in Malaysia, which includes incentivising owners of old vehicles to scrap them, and offering rebates for the purchase of new vehicles in return.

    The vehicle ELV idea usually goes hand-in-hand with periodic roadworthiness inspections, much like the UK’s MOT checks and semi-annual Puspakom inspection for commercial vehicles in Malaysia – the survey touched on this as well. Another suggestion was to increase insurance premiums for vehicles over 10 years of age. See the MIROS vehicle ELV survey in full here.

    Generally, and this is in our words, carmakers would be for ELV (people will have to buy new cars to replace old ones) while the rakyat would be against the idea, wanting the freedom of choice of if and when to replace their cars. If there was no resistance, the government would just press ahead with ELV, but each time the topic is raised, there’s bound to be uproar. The ruling coalition would have to be strong enough to risk an unpopular move like this, even if it has merits. What do you think?

  • RMK-12 plans to shift Malaysians from cars to public transport – less parking, higher charges in city centres

    The government is aiming to encourage a behavioural shift from private vehicles to public transport as part of its development structure for the country under the 12th Malaysia Plan (RMK-12). Presently, the public transport modal share remains low (it was just 21% in 2018), with the general choice of mobility still very much centred around cars.

    A number of reasons define why this remains so – with inadequate connectivity, lack of accessibility and patchy reliability of services, it’s no surprise to see people continuing to rely on private vehicles for their daily transport needs. Nowhere is this more telling than in the Klang Valley, despite the reach provided by the Klang Valley Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) and Light Rail Transit (LRT)) networks.

    In this urban environment, the key to success (or traction) lies with seamless, accessible first- and last-mile connectivity, something that has been lacking. The government realises this, and says that continuous efforts will be carried out to improve these aspects in a bid to increase the ridership of public transport services.

    To minimise waiting and travelling time, the frequency of feeder buses will be increased and the routes will be realigned, while e-hailing services will be integrated with the MRT/LRT network and other transport services.

    Efforts to encourage the usage of alternative transportation for first- and last-mile connectivity will also be undertaken. The plan is to increase usage of micro-mobility vehicles and enhance pedestrian lanes in urban areas to encourage active mobility, and the infrastructure at primary public transportation nodes will also be upgraded to facilitate the integration of micro-mobility vehicles.

    All good and fine when it comes, but reliance on the trusted is a hard thing to break, and so, to steer people towards looking at public transport as the primary choice, the 12th Plan also outlines the plan of introducing loading on private vehicles to prompt the shift away from their use, especially into city centre areas.

    The plan mentions that collaboration between relevant authorities will be enhanced in ensuring effective enforcement of private vehicles entering city centres. How this will be managed was not detailed, but the possibility of a road pricing scheme (similar to the ERP in Singapore) cannot be discounted.

    Also, measures such as limiting parking spaces and imposing higher parking charges in areas with good public transport connectivity will also be implemented in a bid to manage the inflow of private vehicles into city centres. As an additional carrot, unlimited passes for train and bus passengers will be extended to further encourage ridership.

    In the intra-urban context, dynamic fares will be expanded for ETS services to encourage the usage of inter-city rail transport, where fares will be determined by market demand. Higher fares will be charged for last-minute purchases compared to planned journeys.

    For rural areas, the RMK-12 outline suggests innovative and non-traditional public transport options will be considered. An alternative community-based public transport system that offers affordable services will be introduced, with one of the options being considered a ‘dial-a-ride system’, where a phone call-based system provides door-to-door service for people who do not have access to conventional public transport amenities.

    The government says that it is also looking at addressing the lack of holistic travel demand management by getting everyone to “talk” to each other. How it plans to do so is by integrating different modes of transport under one coordinating platform. This will coordinate and optimise schedules, effectively minimising the waiting time between different modes.

    The platform, which will incorporate the sharing of real time data among public transport operators to ensure efficiency, will also develop an integrated and reliable journey planner.

  • RMK-12: Incentives for EVs in Malaysia to be reviewed – to promote local production and customer purchase

    The 12th Malaysia Plan (RMK-12) announced by prime minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob for 2021 until 2025 has stated details on the Malaysian government’s direction for the next five-year period, including intiatives for the enhancement of green mobility initiatives.

    Usage of green vehicles, which operate with reduced air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions as well as with improved energy efficiency, will be promoted by the government in order to drive user transition to green mobility. To this end, the government will review the incentives provided to manufacturers based in the country for the production of these vehicles, as well as their purchase by customers.

    In May this year, Malaysia Automotive, Robotics and IoT Institute (MARii) CEO Datuk Madani Sahari said that the Malaysian government will look into further customised incentives for manufacturers based on their level of commitment, on top of fixed incentives that will benefit both end users and the industry.

    For car buyers, the range of proposed benefits are to include zero-rated import and excise duties and sales tax for electric vehicles, as well as zero road tax for limited run of CBU (fully imported) vehicles.

    The voluntary MARii EEV labelling scheme was first applied to the 2020 Proton X70 CKD

    The private sector will also be encouraged to invest in driving the advancement of next-generation vehicles, technologies and supporting infrastructure, such as energy-efficient vehicles, hydrogen and battery-electric vehicles as well as charging stations, according to the document.

    Additionally, the private sector will also be encouraged to adopt the practice of green labelling for next-generation vehicles and technologies, the document wrote for the 12th Malaysia Plan.

    Taken as read, this would be a version of the labelling that currently exists in the form of the MARii EEV label that was first sighted on the 2020 Proton X70 CKD. This included a QR code that leads to a list of the car’s key specifications, including model designation, fuel consumption CO3 emissions and top speed.

    The labelling scheme itself was first introduced in March 2018 at the launch of the National Emissions Test Centre (NETC), in line with Malaysia’s commitment to reducing carbon emissions by 45% by 2030 as outlined under the Paris Agreement.

  • RMK-12: Pedestrian and cycling infrastructure to be improved to promote active mobility in Malaysia

    As part of the 12th Malaysia Plan (RMK-12), there will be a focus on active mobility with a focus on pedestrian and cycling infrastructure. The emphasis will be on user-friendly, connected infrastructure that is safe and comfortable.

    Measures to be implemented include traffic calming measures and natural shading for pedestrian walkways. This is part of the plan to enhance green mobility as an integral part of city and township development including low-carbon mobility.

    A low-carbon mobility blueprint will be introduced to guide the planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of green mobility initiatives in both urban and rural areas. Additionally, accessibility, connectivity, safety and reliability of public transport will be further improved, along with seamless micro-mobility services for first and last-mile connections.

  • RMK-12: Public transport use low due to cheap cars, reg vehicles up from 20 to 30 mil between 2010-2018

    Prime minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob has just announced the 12th Malaysia Plan (Rancangan Malaysia Ke-12 or RMK-12), a five-year guide for the country’s development. In it, the government has both reviewed the nation’s performance in line with the 11th plan and proposed several measures to address the biggest issues, including in the area of transportation.

    Here, we’re focusing on Malaysia’s public transportation, which has seen sweeping development over the past five years, such as the introduction of the first Klang Valley Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) line (Kajang Line) and the extension of the Kelana Jaya and Ampang/Sri Petaling Light Rail Transit (LRT) lines. Despite this, Malaysia failed to reach the 40% public transport modal share target last year; it was last recorded at just 21% in 2018.

    The government listed a number of reason for this – inadequate connectivity, lack of accessibility and reliability of services, the reluctance of the public to switch from private vehicles and, of course, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Poor first- and last-mile connectivity between different modes of transport is said to be a particular pain point, hampering seamless travel.

    The local public transport system is also said to suffer from low On Time Performance (OTP), long journey times and lack of holistic travel demand management, affecting its efficiency and reliability. All this has contributed to an underutilisation of public transport, below the government’s target.

    Another huge contributor was Malaysia’s relatively low cost of car ownership, which has made the public reluctant to switch from private vehicles to public transport – likely exacerbated by the pandemic. The number of registered vehicles has shot up by around six per cent per annum, rising from 20.2 million in 2010 to 30 million vehicles in 2018. The ratio of vehicles to population stood at 0.9 in 2018, making Malaysia one of the highest in the region in this regard. So much for our “high car prices”, eh?

    It’s not all bad news, however. The government trumpeted the success of KTM’s Electric Train Service (ETS), which was introduced in 2010 and stretches from Gemas in Negeri Sembilan and Padang Besar in Perlis. Daily ridership doubled from 5,500 in 2015 to 11,000 just two years later and was targeted to hit 12,000 by December 2020 with up to 44 trips a day.

    To help with this, KTM added nine new train sets equipped with business class coaches in 2019 and will extend the services up to Johor Bahru once the Gemas-Johor Bahru Double Track project is completed in 2023. This will effectively link up the north and south of Peninsular Malaysia along the west coast, improving connectivity and providing a more comfortable journey for long-distance rail passengers.

    Low public transport utilisation is a serious problem, which is why RMK-12 also includes a number of initiatives to fix this by providing affordable, reliable and seamless mobility in the near future. The government wants to provide a more accessible and integrated transport system and reduce the nation’s dependence on private vehicles. The latter will include measures such as limiting parking spaces and imposing higher parking charges in city centres.

  • Flash floods hit Shah Alam – car owners without special perils insurance coverage face hefty bills

    Just look at these scenes from Shah Alam yesterday evening. According to Selangor bomba chief Norazam Khamis, the flood around the Shah Alam Stadium in Seksyen 13 was around 1.2 metres high. It was reported that water rose up to chest level following heavy downpour that went on from 3pm. Other areas affected by the flash flood included Seksyen 9, 10, 4 and 7.

    Everyone knows that this isn’t an isolated incident; it was Shah Alam yesterday and it could be Cheras, Puchong or KL city tomorrow. Some areas are more susceptible to flash floods than others, but development and new infrastructure has introduced flooding to more areas now, and weather seems to be more severe these days, and not just in Malaysia too. Experts have pointed to global warming as the cause.

    When we come across news articles or forwarded WhatsApp pictures of floods, the usual reaction is along the lines of “wow, it’s quite bad” or “finish la all those cars”. It feels like someone else’s problem if your home is not in a historically flood-prone area, but what about where you’re going?

    Whether a parking lot in the city centre or on the Federal Highway en route to Klang for makan, you could be walking into the eye of the storm without realising it. And these things happen fast, usually too fast for one to escape, and that is if there’s a way out.

    If you have been renewing auto insurance yourself, as opposed to handing it to a runner or agent, you would be familiar with flood coverage or special perils, which includes cover for natural disasters and acts of God. Tick these optional boxes and you’ll be reimbursed by the insurer should your car suffer damage from natural disasters, at a fee of course.

    What’s the typical cost? Allianz offers special perils coverage for 0.25% of the vehicle’s sum insured, and this includes cover against floods, typhoons, hurricanes, storms, landslides, landslips and other convulsions of nature. Etiqa offers the same for 0.5% of the sum insured, but there’s also a “basic flood coverage” (floods and storms only) for 0.25%.

    Click to enlarge

    From my own plans with Etiqa, basic flood coverage seems lower at 0.225% – see the samples above. Basically, at 0.25% of insured value, it’s an extra of RM125 for a RM50k car and RM250 more for a car valued at RM100k.

    An example is your car being crushed by a fallen tree caused by a storm. You won’t get a cent from the insurer if you did not go for the optional special perils cover. If you did, and the car is declared a total loss, you will be compensated based on market value at the time of incident, or agreed value if you paid more for that fixed sum option.

    If getting caught in a flood can happen to anyone, then why doesn’t everyone add on flood or special perils coverage to their car insurance? Of course, it’s to save money, and I have been guilty of that as well back in the day. We think that it won’t happen to us because our area is low-risk, and if we’re careful about where we park.

    When you’re deciding whether to tick the box, you might also remind yourself that nothing ever happened the times when you did go for extra cover, and the premium went to waste. The same goes for windscreen cover.

    “As a claims professional I cannot emphasise enough how important it is to always add-on special perils cover to your motor insurance. Sure, you would be spending a little extra on your motor insurance premium, but in hindsight, it is an investment that protects your vehicle against unplanned events and calamities,” said Damian Williams, head of claims at Allianz General Insurance Company.

    “Just because you do not live in a flood-prone area, it does not mean that a flood will not happen. Every year, we see a lot of these incidents, and unfortunately, only a fraction of people can experience a claim when it comes to flood damage,” he added.

    If you’re an uninsured victim of flood damage, is there any form of recourse? The government and DBKL have went on record to say that they will not compensate flash flood victims because it’s an act of God. One can argue the last point – pointing to insufficient drainage, poor planning, etc – and try to sue the local authority, but that would involve much time and resources, not to mention legal fees – better to just pay the 0.25% of sum insured in the first place, no?

    It goes without saying that the more protection you have, the better, but that’s assuming that protection is free. Extra cover for your car comes at a cost, as you’ll discover by ticking all the option boxes available, but seeing how frequent, unpredictable and severe flash floods can be here in Malaysia, basic flood coverage should be the first name on the team sheet, as they say in football – in other words, a must have.

    Ask yourself this: is the likelihood of your car being stolen so much higher than it being caught in a flood, so much so that protection for the former is maximum, and zero for the latter?

  • 2021 WSBK: Mandalika on for Indonesian WSBK race

    Pushed back a week due to logistics and organisational consideration, Mandalika International Street Circuit, Indonesia, scheduled to hold a round of the 2021 World Superbike Championship (WSBK) on November 19 to 21. The postponement is to allow Mandalika to host the Idemitsu Asia Talent Cup to allow the circuit some experience in hosting a motorsports event for the first time and avoid overlapping with the MotoGP round at Valencia on November 12 to 14.

    The WSBK race marks the return of superbike racing to Indonesia after an absence of 24 years, the last WSBK race held at Sentul, Indonesia in 1997. The Mandalika round will the the curtain closer for the 2021 WSBK calendar organised by Mandalika Grand Prix Association (MGPA), a subsidiary of a subsidiary company under state-owned corporation PT Pengembangan Pariwisata Indonesia (Persero) and the Indonesia Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC).

    The 2021 WSBK championship is currently led by Toprak Razgatlioglu of Pata Yamaha, followed Jonathan Rea of Kawasaki Racing Team in second and Scott Redding of Ducati in third. The next round of the 2021 WSBK will be held in Portimao, Portugal before heading the Argentina on October 15 to 17 and ending the season with Mandalika, Indonesia on November 12 to 14.


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Last Updated 23 Sep 2021