All new cars sold from next year will need to have a minimum of two frontal airbags – vehicle manufacturers must comply with this requirement, which takes effect on Jan 1, 2012, Transport Minister Datuk Seri Kong Cho Ha said.

According to reports, he said the Government is prepared to offer a grace period for vehicle manufacturers and assemblers in the country who are not able to comply with the new ruling. “For those (manufacturers and assemblers) who are not able to comply with the ruling, they can talk to us and we are prepared to give them leniency of time. Maybe six months for them to comply,” he told reporters yesterday.

Kong said that all vehicles, except four-wheel drives, will be required to be fitted with airbags from next year, stating that a study by the Malaysian Institute of Road Safety Research (Miros) showed that airbags and seat belts helped to save lives in road accidents.

“I think it will go a long way towards reducing the number of people who are injured in road accidents. It will also reduce the number of deaths,” he said. The reports add that Kong said both Proton and Perodua had assured they could comply with the new ruling.