PUTRAJAYA: A new standard operating procedure (SOP) for managing and disposing of abandoned vehicles is expected to be introduced in July, Transport Minister Anthony Loke said today.
He said the new SOP, formulated by the Housing and Local Government Ministry, would have to be approved by Cabinet first and this was likely to take place next month.
“Once Cabinet has given its green light, the SOP will be presented before the National Local Government Council in June and it will come into effect in July,” he said after chairing the National Transport Council meeting.
The minister said the proposed SOP was presented before the National Transport Council members today.
Under the new SOP, Loke said, local councils would begin the process of disposing of abandoned vehicles within 33 days, once a complaint is lodged.
Owners, he said, could still reclaim the abandoned vehicles within a stipulated period.
“Cases of unclaimed vehicles will be brought before the Seized Assets Committee at the local council level for disposal.”
He said the Transport Ministry had started the ball rolling to address the issue of abandoned vehicles in the country with the decision to amend the Road Transport Act.
Under the amended law, Loke said, the Road Transport Department had been empowered to de-register abandoned vehicles.
Local councils cannot tow away abandoned vehicles if their registrations are still valid.
It was reported that there are more than 60,000 abandoned cars nationwide.
Loke said abandoned vehicles had been an ongoing problem for local councils, and cited the example of Petaling Jaya City Council which had to spend RM564,000 a year to rent a big space to store the vehicles before disposing of them.
“The Subang Jaya Municipal Council spends RM40,000 a year to place notices about abandoned vehicles in the newspapers.”
Moving on to another issue, Loke said the stage bus industry would be restructured.
He said it was unsustainable for the Federal Government to continue providing subsidies to stage bus operators at the state level as the amount continued to grow each year.
The minister said it was time to come up with a formula together with the state governments, including the possibility of a lower subsidy.
“We are also looking at empowering state governments to identify bus routes and networks for areas that require such services.
“At the same time, we are looking at allowing state governments to appoint their own stage bus operators.
“Currently, everything is being done at the Federal Government level.” he said.