The problem of abandoned vehicles being a nuisance and causing an eyesore may soon be a thing of the past – the natural resources and environment ministry (NRE) said a review of the law to empower authorities to dispose of these vehicles was being carried out with the transport ministry, the New Straits Times reports.

The objective is the removal and disposal of no fewer than eight million abandoned vehicles across the country, placing them at gazetted vehicle graveyards. According to NRE minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar, these plans follow on the cabinet directive made on September 6 to both ministries to propose sound solutions in resolving the burgeoning issue of abandoned vehicles being dumped nationwide.

“The ministry, through the Department of Environment (DoE), is reviewing the Environmental Act 1974 to include a provision that will allow enforcers to dispose of end-of-life vehicles in the best ways possible, without causing harm to the environment,” he told the NST.

“A task force will be established at the ministry level to coordinate and ensure that a sound mechanism for waste disposal, including hazardous waste from vehicles, is in full compliance with provisions under the Environmental Quality Act, 1974,” he explained. He added that the Transport Ministry will look at amending its Road Transport Act 1987 to allow for such vehicles to be de-registered.

Though the proposal was still at the initial stage, Wan Junaidi said the growing number of abandoned vehicles meant it was a matter of urgency that the policy to be introduced immediately. He told the publication that officers from both ministries met last month to discuss amendments to allow the de-registration and confiscation of abandoned vehicles for disposal.

“We have eight million abandoned vehicles all over the country, and these are only the ones we know about. There may be more than 10 million of them, and they have become a breeding ground for mosquitoes, snakes, leeches and other pests. We have also been bombarded with complaints from the public on such vehicles hogging parking spaces, and creating an eyesore and an unsanitary environment,” he stated.

Wan Junaidi said that the ministries will need to iron out the main areas of enforcement and necessary details, such as a deadline for owners to salvage their vehicles, who would be empowered to tow these vehicles away as well as determining the locations for gazetted ‘vehicle cemeteries.’

He added that the DoE director-general had been told to identify suitable plots of land nationwide to be used as ‘vehicle cemeteries’. “We may have two or three sites each in Sabah and Sarawak, and five or six of them in the peninsular,” he said. He added the junkyards will likely be privately-run, and their owners will be allowed to salvage vehicle parts or destroy the wrecks.