Last week, the road transport department (JPJ), which halted all its counter services on March 20 in compliance with the movement control order (MCO), announced that it would be resuming counter service operations across the country from April 29, but only for business transactions involving commercial vehicles, namely for public service vehicles as well as freight and tourism vehicles.

The department reiterated that again today, stating that counter operations will not be available for matters pertaining to private individual cars or for taxis and ride-hailing vehicles. It said via a statement that this is to avoid any unwanted issues with crowding and the inability to practice social distancing at its offices.

It said that the temporary waiver previously announced by the government, in which the requirement for renewal of individual driving licenses and road tax has been excluded for the duration of the MCO, remains in effect.

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This means that anyone who has a driving license or vehicle road tax that has expired during the MCO period can still drive their own vehicle, but the vehicle is required to have valid insurance coverage and a road tax (even if without a physical copy). The transport ministry has said that drivers are advised to bring a copy of their vehicle’s insurance certificate or an e-cover note while driving during the period of the MCO to avoid any complications.

The department said that counters will be open from 8am to 1pm throughout the working week, and available services are the renewal of road tax for commercial vehicles, the renewal of goods driving licence (GDL) and public service vehicle (PSV) licences as well as the payment of summonses/blacklist clearance in relation to the above.

The decision to go with facilitating transactions for commercial vehicles is not surprising, given that there remains a great need for the movement of essential goods and food products to remain unaffected and uninterrupted during the MCO.