The JPJ says that the successful bidders of five exclusive Selangor BMW number plates were not named – and the amounts they paid for the plates not disclosed – to avoid negative public perception, according to a report by The Malaysian Insider.

Denying that they were issued for free, the department’s director-general, Datuk Ismail Ahmad, told the publication that the bids for BMW 1, BMW 2, BMW 7, BMW 9 and BMW 10 were all paid for, but the winners were not named, instead listed as Anggota Pentadbiran Kerajaan” (government administration personnel). The amounts paid for the plates were also not disclosed.

Ismail said the successful bidders were comprised of royalty, judges and cabinet ministers. “They made bids for the numbers and they got it. We withheld their names and the figures to avoid negative public perception,” he told TMI. He added that it was standard operating procedure to keep the names a secret and to never disclose the names of bidders who were members of the royalty.

“It is not about transparency. It is our SOP and we have no bad intention in keeping this information a secret. We want to avoid speculation and doubts. As long as one has the money and used the proper channel to get the numbers, they can have it, whoever they are,” he explained.

The BMW number plates went on public tender from August 14-28. Among the notable bidders were national shuttler Datuk Lee Chong Wei, who plonked down RM97,777 for the number plate BMW 6, and MyWatch chairman R. Sri Sanjeevan, who forked out nearly RM340,000 for two plates, BMW 8 and BMW 11.