Currently, road tax for registered commercial goods vehicles in Sabah and Sarawak are calculated differently – in Sabah, it’s based on gross weight (Berat Dengan Muatan, BDM) while in Sarawak it’s based on kerb weight (Berat Tanpa Muatan, BTM). This makes road tax in Sabah higher than it’s neighbour state.

This discrepancy will be no more come April 1, as road tax for registered commercial goods vehicles in both states will be standardised to the BTM criteria, resulting in lower road tax for Sabah. Transport minister Anthony Loke said this was to create a fair and competitive business environment among owners of commercial goods vehicles in the two states, Bernama reports.

“This means all transactions for road tax applications or renewals for commercial goods vehicles in Sabah will enjoy the new rates from April 1,” he said, adding that the standardisation would involve 14 categories or codes of commercial goods vehicles in Sabah.

Loke revealed that the standardisation would result in government revenue being reduced by RM9 million to RM15 million a year. “This will not have a drastic effect on the government or JPJ’s revenue collection from these two states as they account for only about 2.6% of total road tax collection nationwide,” he said.

There was plenty of leakage anyway, as many Sabah owners registered their vehicles in Sarawak. “Based on data from 2009 until 2014, it is estimated that the revenue leakage of vehicles registered in Sarawak was RM64 million, so the standardisation will simplify the control and monitoring of revenue collection,” the minister said.

The difference is quite big. Currently, road tax for a prime mover container lorry in Sabah using the BDM criteria is RM2,478, while a lorry of of similar weight in Sarawak is only taxed RM718.