More on the new window tint regulations, which has drawn a mixed reaction from the public since it was announced two days ago. The new guidelines allow the minimum visible light transmission (VLT) levels of the rear side windows and rear windscreen to be lowered beyond the 30% in place previously.

This potentially allows motorists to reduce the VLT levels of the rear windows and windscreen to zero, which the police isn’t happy about. The department says that the new ruling will make enforcement work tougher and could potentially affect the safety of its personnel, as officers will no longer be able to sight a car’s rear passengers during inspection.

What irks the police the most is that the complete absence of consultation on the matter. According to Bukit Aman department of investigation and traffic enforcement director deputy commissioner Datuk Azisman Alias, the police was not asked for its opinion on the new rules. “I feel disappointed. They could have discussed (with us) and considered our point of view,” he said yesterday.

Today, the transport ministry replied to that point and said the views of the police were taken into consideration, based on a workshop that was held in 2014. Transport minister Anthony Loke said that the police had contributed its views on the topic then, and these had been taken into account, The Star reports.

“Some supported our move, and some didn’t — we respect all their views, but what has been decided upon has already taken into account all considerations and factors to amend the ruling,” he said.

Loke explained that any changes made to the window tint regulations fell under the jurisdiction of the transport ministry, and any amendment to the ruling was made under the Road Transport Act, making it final.

The workshop in 2014, he added, decided on amending the allowed VLT level for rear windows from 50% to 30%. This resulted in regulations being updated in February 2016, when the Motor Vehicles (Prohibition of Certain Types of Glass) (Amendment) Rules 2016 replaced the previous 1991 rules.

While conceding that no recent workshop had been organised on the topic, he said the latest amendment to the ruling was based on following international regulations. Loke explained that UN ECE R43 regulations do not specify a VLT level for the rear windscreen and rear windows, and it is left to a member country to determine a percentage it feels is permissible.

“Some countries set the permissible VLT level for the rear at 25-35%, while some do not set a percentage at all. What we have decided on is in line with international regulations. For example, we are following Japan, which does not set a VLT percentage for the rear,” he said.

Loke also touched on the subject of darkening the vehicle completely, in which individuals can apply to reduce the VLT percentage of the front windscreen and front side windows below the regulated 70% and 50% level respectively for security and health reasons.

He said that despite there being revenue involved, not every application will result in approval. “Anyone can apply, but that does not mean it will get approved. We will assess what kind of risk the person has,” he said.

Loke said a committee had been set up to approve these applications. He explained that this was to ensure there was no power abuse by the transport minister or the director-general, especially as applicants have to pay RM5,000 fee for a two-year permit if approval is granted.