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At a technical conference organised by the Malaysian Automotive Institute (MAI) earlier today, Bosch revealed some startling figures surrounding Malaysia’s adoption rate of anti-locking brake systems (ABS) and electronic stability programmes (ESP) for locally-assembled models produced in 2015.

According to the data presented, only 36% of new CKD passenger cars and light commercial vehicles in Malaysia produced last year are said to be equipped with ABS. This puts us even lower than Indonesia, where the adoption rate is 37%. Thailand is next at 40%, while China is miles ahead with 87% of its locally-assembled new models equipped with the basic safety feature.

It’s equally worrying that Malaysia also has a low take-up rate of ESP systems. In 2015, just 11% of new CKD passenger cars and light commercial vehicles were equipped with the life-saving feature. Indonesia’s rate is said to be just 4%, while Thailand and China has a higher rate of 31% and 41% respectively. Globally, ABS has an adoption rate of 89% while ESP has 64%.

With minimal government regulation, the issue of vehicles lacking crucial safety equipment typically arise from manufacturers sacrificing such items to keep prices low. In Malaysia, for example, the cheapest new model money can buy is the Perodua Axia. In 2015, the base Axia E (RM24k) and G (RM31k) variants weren’t equipped with ABS, let alone ESP – the Axia G variant was updated with ABS for 2016.

It’s a similar case for the nation’s other automaker, Proton. The Saga, its cheapest model, offers no ABS or ESP either. Also, while none of Perodua’s models offer ESP, Proton has made massive strides in the department in recent times. Its latest model, the Proton Iriz, even in its base trim (the 1.3 Standard MT – RM39k) offers both ABS and ESP systems as standard. You can read our detailed report on the importance of ESP here.

But what do you think, dear reader? Would you prefer a cheaper vehicle at the cost of these safety features, or would you rather spend a little bit more for something that could save your life one day? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below.