The government has rolled out the new electronic vehicle number plate bidding system it said would be introduced this year, albeit three months later than that proposed by the transport ministry. The road transport department (JPJ) began the online vehicle registration number bidding system (JPJeBid) in pilot project form on April 15, kicking things off with the FC plate series.

As it progresses, the JPJeBid system is expected to expand its scope to other series plates, though there is no mention of when this will happen and if it will remain only for use with special plates. As it stands, the bidding process for the FC plate ends on April 19.

A quick check reveals that the system is run under the scope of the department’s existing MySIKAP online transaction system, the feature being listed under the registration number management menu. According to the department, available elements in JPJeBid include advertising, registration, bidding, payment as well as application and account processes. These processes need to be carried out by bidders but will be regulated by the JPJ.

The system is open to both companies and public who wish to tender for specific number plates. Registration on the MySIKAP portal is a necessity, and individuals will need to furnish details as well as provide a copy of their identity card for registration purposes.

Companies and businesses will have to provide copies of the business registration certificate and licence, among other things, and those not currently on MySIKAP will need to register at JPJ state offices or branches.

Once the registration has been approved, users will be able to utilise the e-bidding system through a computer or via a mobile device. There’s a RM10 service charge for each registration number bidder, which will not be refunded, being considered revenue for the government.

Each vehicle number requires a minimum payment, with four general categories for numbers – regular (or running), popular (double-digit, certain triple-digit numbers), interesting (matching digits) and primary value (single-digit numbers), with bids starting at a minimum price of RM300, RM800, RM3,000 and RM20,000 respectively.

No deposit is required, but each bidder’s first bid amount must equal or exceed the minimum price set in each category. The minimum bid increase is 5% of the minimum price amount by category, with no limit for maximum increase.

In this case, the minimum bid increase for a primary value number is RM1,000, and RM150, RM40 and RM15 for interesting, popular and regular numbers respectively, and these sums remain constant as a minimum bid increase each time a bid is revised upwards. There is no limit to a bid, but bidders will not be allowed to withdraw their bids during the bidding period.

Bidders can only make payments by locally-issued credit cards, with the use of more than one card permissible for the bid. If a bid is successful, the amount will be deducted immediately from the credit card. Unsuccessful bids will see the cancellation of the transaction and the amount credited back to the credit card, with no charges applied.

The JPJ says that each individual is eligible to successfully bid for a maximum of three vehicle numbers, while businesses and companies will be limited to five vehicle numbers per series.

Bid winners have a period of 12 months to carry out the vehicle registration from the date of the letter of offer given by the department, following which the offer letter will expire and be considered invalid. No extensions – or refunds – will be provided.

Those not wanting to take up the number will also not get refunds, so if you don’t use it, you lose it, both number and the money spent. Finally, individuals will be allowed to transfer the successfully bid number to a member of the immediate family, but this will entail providing relevant supporting documents (birth certificate, marriage certificate etc). Companies, however, will not be able to transfer a number before it is registered to a vehicle.

What are your thoughts on the new JPJeBid system? Does it hold promise of improved transparency in the bidding process, and do you think it should be expanded to incorporate regular plate series? Share your opinion in the comments section.