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The Transport Ministry has dismissed talk that the enforcement on the use of child car seats will come about in 2016. Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai says that there are no plans to have mandatory usage of child seats that early.

He said seats cost anywhere from RM750 to RM4,000 each and would be a burden to many parents. “We understand it is expensive, that is why we are not enforcing it yet. However, the ministry encourages their use as they keep children safe,” he told reporters. Child seats meeting the required standards such as ECE R44-certified units can be found for around RM400.

Last week, it was reported that usage will be made compulsory by 2017, which is the original date proposed for the move. In June, the government said it was looking to propose an amendment to the Road Transport Act 1987 to regulate the use of child seats in cars by 2017.

This was later moved to 2019, deputy transport minister Datuk Ab Aziz Kaprawi saying that the extension was due to the fact that “it may take time to promote this among the road users as it involved more cost for them.” The latest move to bring it back to a 2017 timeframe was announced by Road Safety Council honorary treasurer Ahmed Ismail Amin.

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Meanwhile, on the same subject, The Star reports that some parents are urging the government to bring forward the mandatory use of child seats in cars as early as possible, instead of the 2019 (or 2017) timeframe.

One said that if it was compulsory for adults to wear safety belts, children should not be exempted from similar safety requirements. Another said that making the matter clearly defined by law would mean that parents cannot be lax in strapping their kids down.

As for the subject of cost, those interviewed said the government could look into subsidising the cost of certain car seats to make them more affordable, and suggested those who found new seats too expensive could shop around for used child seats.

Here at paultan.org, we’ve long stressed before on the paramount importance of using child seats in cars, and recently adopted a proactive role in the matter – we bought a total of 165 units of ECE R44-compliant child seats (60 non-Isofix and 50 Isofix seats are sponsored by Mercedes-Benz Malaysia) and have offered free use of these child car seats to 165 Malaysian families over the Hari Raya month.