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If the Road Transport Department’s (JPJ) plan comes to fruition, all vehicles nationwide will have to be fitted with a Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tracker by 2018. JPJ claims that it will allow real-time monitoring of traffic conditions and help police track down criminals, The Sun reports.

While this may raise privacy concerns, Deputy Transport Minister Datuk Aziz Kaprawi told the daily that the use of RFID tech will herald a new era for vehicle security in Malaysia and could be the answer to combat vehicle theft and cloned vehicle syndicates. It will also work well with the Works Ministry and Malaysian Highway Authority’s plan to establish free flow multi-lanes without toll plazas.

For all vehicles including motorcycles, the tracker will feature a “smart code” tag embedded into the road tax sticker. The code can be tracked by the relevant authorities and satellites. It will be designed to shatter at any tampering attempt and can transmit an alert to the JPJ and police should one try to remove it.

“The RFID implementation will be done in stages and will probably be completed within three years, starting with newly registered vehicles and road tax renewal of vehicles,” Aziz said. He is optimistic that by 2018, JPJ would have completed vehicle data synchronisation with other agencies including the Immigration Department and Touch n Go.

Plus-gateless-gantry-02The authorities are already testing a gateless gantry toll system using RFID technology

RFID tech will be put to test soon, via the upcoming Vehicle Entry Permit (VEP) implementation at the country’s immigration checkpoints.

“For now, we are using the passive RFID with readers at immigration checkpoints for the upcoming VEP exercise in Johor Baru. This October, we will begin the pilot stage of the RFID for VEP tags for all types of vehicles – both local and foreign – which travel in and out of Johor’s border checkpoints,” Aziz said, explaining that the RFID tag is one-third the size of our road tax sticker and will be placed on the windscreen.

“We want to make sure that the new system won’t create congestion at border checkpoints and toll plazas. A one-off fee of RM10 for five years will be imposed for foreign private cars. Motorcycles and commercial vehicles are exempted from paying any fee,” he added.

The idea wasn’t cooked up yesterday. RFID implementation was first mooted by the Transport Ministry in 2005. Then, it was reported that the RFID was a proposed “MyKad system for vehicles” as part of the government’s Automated Enforcement System (AES) with 700 surveillance cameras.

In 2013, Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar urged Transport Ministry to revitalise RFID or “e-plate” technology as used in the US, UK and Australia to help eradicate vehicle theft and registration forgeries frequently used by criminals. Be careful, big brother is watching!