The Malaysian Automotive Association (MAA) has called on the government to defer the mandatory implementation of emergency call devices until the industry is ready. The plan has proposed the devices to be implemented on all newly-registered vehicle starting from 2019.

Details of the proposed emergency call equipment are scarce, except that it is to come from one as-yet unnamed Malaysian supplier, an arrangement MAA president Datuk Aishah Ahmad has called ‘ridiculous’ because of possible major complications should there be any issues arising from that single supplier.

This is due to anticipated increases in eventual car prices if the e-call devices are implemented, as well as a lack of confirmed regulations and device specifications for the e-call device, she added.

The installation of the e-call devices into new motor vehicles can be very costly, said the MAA. This is due to the increase in excise duty, import tax and GST which will in turn increase the overall cost and subsequently the on-the-road price of a vehicle if the device is considered part of a vehicle, the association said.

It added that such a move would defeat efforts towards reducing car prices gradually in Malaysia, which was promised by the ruling government during the 13th General Election. The proposed January 2019 implementation also allows for too little lead time for the industry to comply, and there are also concerns that the benefits of the system will only be tangible when the necessary infrastructure is in place.

A comprehensive and holistic study is required to justify the mandatory implementation of the e-call service in Malaysia, MAA said in a statement. This study should include an analysis of road fatalities in Malaysia, and of any deficiencies in the notification of or response by emergency response teams, in order to support the proposal for the devices’ implementation.

To date, Russia is the only country known to have a similar setup in place – should this proposal receive the green light, Malaysia will be the second country globally to have emergency call devices installed in road-going vehicles.

The MAA also recommended that the e-call service and devices not be made mandatory for new vehicles in Malaysia.