In May, transport minister Anthony Loke said that an electronic bidding system for special number plates would be introduced to replace the current manual tender system. This has been reiterated, with the government saying that the move to carry out the bidding process online will ensure things are more dynamic and transparent, The Star reports.

“Compared with the current manual tender system, the online one will be beneficial and convenient for the people. People would be able to see the bidding offers made by others through this system, and (interested) bidders can also increase the bid based on what they can afford or what others have offered,” he said in response to a question posed in parliament about the matter.

Loke said that buyers will no longer have to go to JPJ counters to submit their tender forms, instead completing it at their own convenience. He added that the system will enable bidders to see the winner of the special number plate auction when it is announced.

He said the ministry is conducting detailed studies to develop the specifications and workflow process for the system, and will also get advice from the Malaysian Administrative Modernisation and Management Planning Unit (Mampu), which had expertise in information technology, for its views on developing the online bidding system.

“The entire process is expected to be completed in three to six months. The ministry (expects) the system to be complete and can be used early next year,” he said. It was previously reported that the ministry was looking at rolling out the online system in January 2019.

In response to questions about the possibility of setting ceiling – and minimum – prices, Loke said that there were no plans to do either. “It adds revenue to the government. If the ceiling price is set, it would contradict the principles of an open tender,” he said, adding that a minimum price was set for special numbers because they would otherwise appear to have no value.

“So it is best to place a minimum price (for these numbers) and let the tender system take place. For your information, these numbers have the potential to generate a lot of revenue for the government. For example, when the (Pakatan) government took over and introduced the Malaysia number plate series, it managed to generate RM1.11 million,” he stated.

Loke was talking about the Malaysia 1 plate, which sold for RM1,111,111. In all, the government collected more than RM13 million from the plate series.