The transport ministry has announced that the ‘Malaysia’ special number plate series will be open for bidding at all state JPJ HQs on August 1. Bidding was originally set to run from July 2-16, but the dates have now been changed to August 1-16. It was however not mentioned if the reveal date for tender results will be moved from the original August 23 date.

Additionally, the plate series – which is being introduced in conjunction with Merdeka Day celebrations – will also launch a pilot e-bidding system, the New Straits Times reports. According to transport minister Anthony Loke, a local company has offered to set up the e-bidding system for the ministry without cost.

“We have agreed (to the system) in principle, but it is still pending approval from the ministry,” he said, adding that if the launch is successful, the ministry will look into utilising the e-bidding system for normal vehicle registration number plates. Loke had earlier said that the government is targeting to roll out an e-bidding system by January next year.

Loke said that the e-bidding system will make the process simpler for bidders. “Under the (existing) conventional system (for bidding vehicle plate numbers), applicants need to pay 50% via bank draft. If the person does not win the bid, the process to return the deposit can take between two to three months,” he said.

The new system will involve zero outlay until a bid is successful. “With this system, it is done online via credit card. Even if the bidder does not succeed, he does not have to pay anything,” he explained.

The Malaysia number plate series, which runs from 1-9999, is expected to net the government over RM22 million. There will be no numbers reserved for VIPs and all numbers will go to the highest bidder, except for Malaysia 2020, which will be offered to prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.