The Consumers’ Association of Penang (CAP) is baffled by the Transport Minister’s announcement on the new rules on private car window tints. Not only was the announcement very sudden, but there appears to have been no consultation with other road transport authorities. This sudden U-turn does not address road safety and security concerns.
The Transport Minister, Anthony Loke, was reported to have said that the Ministry’s decision was in response to the public’s desire to darken their vehicle windows to filter out heat. With this decision the Transport Ministry is bending backwards to satisfy the public’s desire instead of ensuring safety.
Our country is already having one of the world’s worst road safety records, with half a million accidents and 7,000 fatalities and making the country poorer by RM9 billion every year. The authorities have been struggling for years and miserably failed to bring this statistics down. Hence, this new ruling will only worsen the already shameful safety records we are known for.
CAP has been urging the authorities against heavy tint since 2007. No doubt, tinted screens provide some extent of comfort by filtering out bright sun light and harmful ultraviolet rays. In reality, it is not a question of global warming or weather change, rather it is the issue of safety which needs to be considered. Vehicles with dark tints are more likely to experience collision from the back, as tinted windows block the front view of the driver in the rear vehicle. Tailing vehicles will be unable to apprehend obstructions on the road and thus lead to slow reaction ending in collision.
The experience of motorists who regret switching to darker tint speaks for itself. Those who have done so find it is more difficult to view through the rear view mirror. This may be even worse at night and during stormy weather. This is the reason why the Road Transport Department has maintained the Visible Light Transmission (VLT) level for the front window at 70%. The rear and side windows were maintained at 30% and in 2016 increased to 50%.
The claim by the Transport Minister that the new ruling will solve the import of Japanese cars with different levels of tint is again ridiculous. When we import cars, the manufacturers and importers have to ensure that those cars conform to Malaysian laws and Safety Standards. Can we export our Malaysian right-hand driven cars to USA? So why are we shifting our goal post and for whose advantage?
In addition to this we can expect kidnap, rape and theft to be on the increase. Darkness is haven for criminals. Those who are seeking to hide from the law and from the glare of public view will be happy with this new ruling.
Therefore, CAP urges the Ministry of Transport to repeal the new law on tinted windows immediately, without trying to please any sector, for the safety and security of the people.
Press Statement, 8th May 2019