Thursday, 3 July 2008

FLIP FLOP?

I was sipping my regular Nescafe tarik with some friends at a cosy air-conditioned kopitiam bitching about the current state of our country’s affair when a black SUV with a fully black tinted windscreen drove and parked adjacent to us with the music so loud we could party by the roadside.

Jason (not his real name), whilst happily digging my favourite chicken pie and with his mouth full, mumbles at how JPJ was suppose to engaged in a nationwide crackdown on cars with tinted windscreen. It was headline news many months back in almost all media exclaimed Jason pointing his fork sword-like forward expressing his disappointment at how easy it is for the government to say something today and simply reverse their directive which is now becoming a joke rather than a distress.

We laughed while our banana fritters were served. It was really a joke, said Azhar (also not the real name). He reminded us of other jokes without hesitatingly munching the hot banana fritter. The media once asked our Prime Minister if he and Jeanne Abdullah, before their actual announcement, were married but to be denied at. PM rebutted then said that he was still mourning but a few days if not weeks later, announced his marriage. Azhar, whom shared similar interest in running with me, giggled thinking perhaps our PM was being careful as if it is polygamy.

The Cafe proprietor or so it seems, overheard our laughter and conversation interrupted us and said our PM was funnier when he rebutted the election date when asked by the media. I notice his attire is different from other waiter and even the Manager. We did not know the café proprietor but his friendliness to built a good PR with the customers do not augurs well especially when speaking of politics but I suppose other people share our sentiment too. In his chinese dialect English, he said we were all convince that the election will not be held on the date that was speculated when PM dismissed it although the speculated date was similar to his favourite number. Instead of disgruntling on our PM, we laughed.

Even the recent insurgence of the oil price, the government reacted hastily and banned all foreign vehicles from re-fuelling at our border petrol station and again reversed the directive. John, whom had the last piece of our favourite banana fritters wiped his mouth and quickly said don’t forget the announcement by yours truly PM that there will be no fuel price increased before august and soon thereafter our petrol price were increased by 41%!! Everybody on our table were in silent with only the sound used plates being piled up and utensils thrown into used trays. Somehow, petrol price is still an issue and cannot be joke upon.

This ‘flip flop’ is something that is gifted in some people but what is harder to comprehend is the tinted windscreen. On the one hand our Ministry of International trade and Industry issued thousands of AP (authorised permits) that is pre-condition on various types and models of the car as well as used or new imported cars. Some cars such as the Honda SUVs and Alphard were installed with OEM fitted dark tinted windscreen and were allowed to enter our country although our Road Transport Department enforced the Road Transport Act that forbids any vehicles with excessive tinted windscreen. Certainly there is no communication between MITI and RTD or perhaps our Minister did not communicate with each other? Or maybe the Ministers were awarded with the AP or a dark tinted windscreen permit?

I am also puzzled, said Jason, the fact that all imported cars have to obtained a certificate from Puspakom before registration. Most car owners with heavily tinted windscreen had to remove the tint first before they can obtained the Puspakom certificate for the transfer of ownership but these imported cars can passed the Puspakom and RTD inspection and be registered although it failed the windscreen light penetration test! is there a misinterpretation of our Road Transport statutory act? Jason said he was given a choice once by Puspakom official to either tear the tint or come back again without the tint. To avoid another long queue for inspection, Jason tore the tint on all windscreens infront of the Puspakom official.

It is a mystery how imported cars with heavy tint and tinted films were allowed to be imported and freely installed on any cars by any retailers to the public when it is a pure breach of the Road Transport Act.

In other words, any import vehicles would have to pass through the MITI (for AP) before getting clearance from the Custom Department and subjected to Puspakom and RTD inspection before registration. Tinted films (which is now 100% imported) after passing the Custom department clearance will be sold by retailers (to the public) whom obtained license from the local municipal council and under the purview of the Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumers Affair.

This mystery was never resolved but the consumer or the public will be prosecuted due to the incompetent coordination by the government.

It was agreed by empirical evident (on a sampling of size of 3.. 4 including the Proprietor of the Café) that the public do not understand how Government Ministries and departments communicate with each other to enforce the law. Before any nationwide crackdown on tinted windscreen, the government via MITI should ban (as a pre-condition in issuing the AP for imported cars) and the custom department should enforce the ban by prohibiting both the entry of imported cars with tinted windscreen and the tinted film into the country. RTD and Puspakom should never passed and register any cars that is in breach. Both the Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer affair and the Local council should enforce the inspection of automotive accessories shop and confiscate, and prosecute any retailers in possession of the banned items.

The public (on the same sampling) agree that until the lack of coordination were resolve, all car owners in possession of any heavily tinted windscreen should be left alone. Our initial laughter and joke ended-up in a serious discussions but our meal were on the house when the proprietor (I cant remember his name) signed for it (if he is reading this.. thanks again for the meal).

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