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KUALA LUMPUR: THE full implementation of United Nation’s (UN) safety regulations in relation to vehicles by the end of 2015 will better protect Malaysians on the road.

Malaysia Automotive Institute (MAI) chief executive officer Madani Sahari said Malaysia, through the Road Transport Department (RTD), had already adopted more than 120 UN regulations pertaining to safety.

The regulations would look into all aspects of safety including frontal and lateral crash safety.

“All new models sold in the country after that period must pass these regulations to get a Vehicle Type Approval (VTA).”

The VTA was implemented in 2010, but will be fully enforced by the end of next year.

Madani said the VTA was done prior to model approval for commercial purposes, meaning it must conform to the required safety standards.

He said while the VTA cannot guarantee manufacturing reliability, VTA approval entailed rigorous testing which would help authorities detect safety defects.

“A VTA steering committee comprising relevant ministries and agencies has been formed to give VTA approval.”

Spearheaded by the RTD director-general, the steering committee includes MAI, the International Trade and Industry Ministry, Malaysian Institute of Road Safety Research, Transport Ministry and Road Safety Department. Madani was speaking to the New Straits Times in relation to the most recent recall of Honda City and Honda Jazz cars after the Japanese car manufacturer’s investigations confirmed faults in the driver-side airbags.

Investigations were launched after a 27-year-old woman and her unborn child were killed due to an abnormal rupture of the driver-side airbag in her 2003 Honda City. The airbags are manufactured by a Japanese company, Takata Corporation, in the United States. The incident occurred after Honda Malaysia announced a recall on its 2003 City, 2002-2003 Jazz, 2003 Accord, and 2001-2003 Stream models in June this year due to issues in its airbags.

Honda Malaysia public relations head Jordhatt Johan said the company had notified certain owners of 2003 and 2004 City models as well as 2004 Jazz models since Thursday.

He said affected owners can send their vehicles to Honda service centres for the replacement of the airbag component adding that the process of changing the component would take approximately an hour.

“We have no specific time-frame for the replacement period, but the recall will be carried out till all the components of the affected units have been replaced,” Jordhatt said.

He said the recall affected 15,612 Honda City 2003-2004 models as well as 122 Honda Jazz 2004 models.

When asked if there were vehicles that were recalled on both instances (June recall and November recall), Jordhatt declined to comment.

He also declined to comment on whether the woman who was killed had her vehicle recalled in June.

Federation of Malaysian Consumers Associations deputy president Ratna Devi Nadarajan said Malaysia had many gray areas when it came to vehicle accident and safety investigations.

“In the United States, they have the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that investigates car accidents as well as safety defects in motor vehicles,” she said.

Ratna Devi added that in Malaysia, inspections would be carried out by the auto-manufacturers themselves with the details of the report not given to the government.

“Officials in the government should collect this data to ensure that incidents like this do not happen,” she said.

She said auto-manufacturers in Malaysia that recall vehicles do so on a voluntary basis and not based on a government decision.

Consumer Association of Penang president S.M. Mohamed Idris said Honda should widen the recall to include all cars fitted with air bags from the manufacturer.

He said that it was crucial that the authorities carry out their own tests on the safety of cars being imported.

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