More cars than people in Malaysia at present? Not likely, as 33 mil figure is total registrations since 1946

More cars than people in Malaysia at present? Not likely, as 33 mil figure is total registrations since 1946

Last week, it was reported that the number of registered vehicles in Malaysia had reached 33.3 million units, with an increase of a million units annually since 2019. That number, it was said, had overtaken the population of the country, which stands at 32.6 million. The quoted figure was put as one of the reasons why traffic congestion has gotten worse in recent months.

However, former transport minister Liow Tiong Lai says that the claims are an exaggeration and does not portray the true picture of the current vehicle population, because the reported figure was an accumulation of registered vehicles since the British colonial days, as FMT reports.

He said that claimed in the news report did not reflect the real situation, stating he was certain that the number of vehicles on public roads was not more than the population at present. “The heading (of the media report) is very misleading. It is not possible that the number of vehicles is more than the population of Malaysia,” he told the publication.

More cars than people in Malaysia at present? Not likely, as 33 mil figure is total registrations since 1946

While the country does have 33 million vehicles registered in the system, it is the total that has been administered in the past seven and a half decades. In November last year, road transport department (JPJ) director-general Zailani Hashim stated that the department had registered 33.05 million vehicles in the past 75 years, since it was incorporated on April 1, 1946 as the registrar and inspector of motor vehicles (RIMV).

Liow called for the government to clear the air on the matter, and said that JPJ should provide the necessary figures to eliminate the confusion. “They must put the facts in the right perspective. The department can use the latest road tax renewal records to confirm the numbers,” he explained. He added that JPJ should implement a “death certificate” for inactive or dormant vehicles, so the number of active vehicles in the country can be known.

Liow’s thoughts were echoed by former road safety department director-general Abd Ghafar Yusof, who said the statistics inherited since pre-Merdeka days has always been used to reflect the number of vehicles nationwide. He said that the practice of quoting that total, including those gathered since British days, was applied until the day he retired.

More cars than people in Malaysia at present? Not likely, as 33 mil figure is total registrations since 1946

“I don’t understand why it is still being used today. This big figure was often used to reflect the representation and ratio of deaths on the road against the number of vehicles in the country. For example, it would determine an ‘x’ number of casualties against the total registered vehicles at a certain point of time or throughout the year,” he explained.

Ghafar said this method did not present the right picture of the country’s road safety index, and had repeatedly asked the transport ministry to use the number of vehicles based on the latest road tax renewal database to go along with the reported number of road accidents and fatalities. This, he said, would accurately provide data for the road safety index. However, nothing came of it, he added.

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Anthony Lim

Anthony Lim believes that nothing is better than a good smoke and a car with character, with good handling aspects being top of the prize heap. Having spent more than a decade and a half with an English tabloid daily never being able to grasp the meaning of brevity or being succinct, he wags his tail furiously at the idea of waffling - in greater detail - about cars and all their intrinsic peculiarities here.



  • Absolutely, this is the transparency, accuracy we need.

    Data is right, but not representative to current situation- it is cheating, misleading.
    A leaders/debates should not naively use wrong data.

    If it’s not comparable, don’t compare blindly, naively,
    Learn from mistake, Admit and make good changes, after identifying the right data.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 20 Thumb down 0
    • Eat My Smoke on Jun 13, 2022 at 2:22 pm

      JPJ system got all the information. More kapchai will come forward to renew roadtax, insurance if targeted subsidy is implemented

      Now 65% more RON97 users switching to RON95 will burden gomen even more subsidy(every liter >RM1.70 in early April). Literally gomen is paying more for every litre we buy RON95 now

      So to resolve traffic jams and promote public transport usage, gomen please market-float RON95 @RM4.50

      Once fuel subsidy is removed, whatever foreign vehicles pump also OK. Anyway our EURO4 fuel is cheaper than EURO6 in SG

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0
      • Ghani on Jun 13, 2022 at 5:29 pm

        Just proved how useless, the incompetent BN UMNO govt is. 64 years and this kinda Huge Embarassment. Bodo tak abes2 geng BN UMNO ni , Hahahahah.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 17 Thumb down 3
    • Celup King on Jun 13, 2022 at 3:36 pm

      If that expert quoted number of cars registered since 1946 then he must also compare versus number of births since 1946. Ini barulah ngam apple to apple.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0
  • Kenny Lim on Jun 13, 2022 at 11:40 am

    Lol, use road tax renewal? how many are paying road tax now? hearing tons of stories of car got bang and the culprit does not have a valid insurance+road tax.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 1
  • Dong Gor on Jun 13, 2022 at 11:43 am

    Yeah, and someone please dig how they claimed 20% of the population (T20) is using 80% of the subsidized fuel. even the best statistician can’t get this number right as there is no tracking on the samples.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 3
    • Kea Was on Jun 13, 2022 at 1:23 pm

      Well that is simple when they assume all T20 using car which is around 6.5L/100km while all 100%-B20 using a motorbike which consumes around 3.5L/100km. Boom 80% of subsidized fuel because I say so.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1
  • Yet another socalled “experts” who played with statistics to inflate his numbers to make what he says sound dramatic. Now wonder these jokers are not on MIROS board or consultants.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0
  • geran lipat on Jun 13, 2022 at 12:15 pm

    also does not take into account thousands of vehicles that only exists on paper “geran” only, for the purpose of retaining unique plate numbers.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0
  • since 1946? Then why not provide total born since 1946. People die and car scrapped too. It is government encourage us to buy more cars, esp proton n perodua. Is government does not want to control as we can but proton n pwrodua with zero downpayment. Also allowed bank to extend installment period to 9 yrs. Let set minimum 20% downpayment and maximum 5 yrs installnent!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1
  • my god… i never knew liau has brain… not bad liau finally u are using it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0
  • DemakATM on Jun 13, 2022 at 3:02 pm

    Hawau punya prof bagi fakta tak betul.. Datang daripada U mana tu?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0
  • Civic Turbo 2018 on Jun 13, 2022 at 4:48 pm

    No GST this financial year. More time to prepare targeted fuel-subsidy. Maybe RON95 wont be under exemption list

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
  • alldisc on Jun 13, 2022 at 5:23 pm

    Sincr the past 15 years or so Malaysia has successfully registered more than half million units of new cars without fail.

    That’s like putting 1,600 new cars every day onto our roads. Surprised?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

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