Intent on solving the problem of abandoned vehicles, the government says it is planning to come up with a new standard operating procedure that will see the eyesores being scrapped within a month of being served notice, The Sun reports. Currently, cars that are abandoned are only sent to the scrapyard close to a year on.

According to transport minister Anthony Loke, the move is aimed at freeing up space in vehicle compound depots, in which overcrowding has previously led to local councils in highly populated districts being unable to tow away the vehicles, subsequently causing a nuisance to the public.

“Currently, it takes the local councils between six and 12 months to scrap abandoned cars, including serving a notice and inter-agency cross-checking on vehicle ownership. It’s too long and congesting the depots,” he stated. He added that between 2014 and 2017 alone, over 15,000 complaints have been lodged to eight local councils in major cities nationwide on abandoned vehicles.

On the proposed plan to speed up the scrapping of abandoned vehicles, he said the public complaints bureau has been tasked to draft the new SOP and table it at the next national transportation council (NTC) meeting in November, with adoption targeted by early next year.

“I have asked for a new SOP to be established that will be the standard across the board for all councils and reduce the process to just a month. You can expect this to be implemented by early next year at the latest,” he said.

Local councils will be given full authority on the towing and scrapping of abandoned vehicles once the new SOPs were enforced. As for how long a vehicle has to be idle before it can be considered as abandoned, Loke said this will be detailed in the future SOP.

“At the moment, there are no guidelines on how long a vehicle has to be idle (before deemed as abandoned). It can be two weeks, can be months. It depends on the efficiency of the local councils. Now, we want a standard guideline,” he said.

Last year, it was reported that there were no fewer than eight million abandoned vehicles across the country, and the natural resources and environment ministry (NRE) said it was planning a review of the law to empower authorities to dispose of these vehicles. The suggested plan back then was to remove these vehicles and dispose them at gazetted vehicle graveyards.