The transport ministry says it will ask the government to exempt child car seats from being taxed with import duties and GST. The tax exemption request is among Budget 2017 wishlist items drawn up by the ministry that will be submitted to the finance ministry before the tabling of the budget next month, The Sun reports.

Deputy transport minister Datuk Abdul Aziz Kaprawi said he hoped the ministry’s proposal will be accepted by the government. “We want to make child car seats affordable to parents, as we realise that cost is part of the reason why they are reluctant to purchase and install it in their vehicle,” he told the publication.

Currently, child car seats are categorised as a car accessory and imposed with an import tax duty of up to 30% as well as GST. Road Safety Department of Malaysia (JKJR) director-general Datuk Arifin Che Mat said most ECE R44-certified child seats available locally are imported items. He said that the deparment has been in contact with local distributors and car manufacturers over the past few months to find out how prices of child car seats can be reduced.

However, not all imported child seats are taxed heavily. A local supplier told the publication that it a child car seat is sourced from China, there will be no import tax duty on it because of the ASEAN–China Free Trade Area (ACFTA) agreement. “But if it’s a non-ACFTA deal, it is 30% tax duty,” he explained.

Last year, it was reported that the main obstacle to increased usage of child car seats was their relatively steep prices, at least for those that comply with ECE R44 Child Safety Standards. Cheaper alternatives exist, of course, but do not comply with the basic safety requirements as set out in the European safety standard. In any case, from our own research, we’ve found that proper ECE R44-certified child seats can be had for around RM400.

The transport ministry has said it is aiming to make the use of child car seats compulsory beginning from 2019. It plans to embark on a year-long safety campaign beginning from the end of November to encourage parents to use child car seats ahead of the plan for regulation by 2019.