KUALA LUMPUR: Large families in Malaysia will be exempted from installing child car seats in their vehicles, the Transport Ministry said on Thursday (Nov 28) ahead of the mandatory use of the seats from January.
“Exception will be given to large families, which cannot install as many child seats as the number of children they have,” Deputy Transport Minister Kamarudin Jaffar said in parliament.
Mr Kamarudin was responding to a question raised by Rasah Member of Parliament (MP) Cha Kee Chin on how the government would implement the compulsory use of child car seats.
Mr Cha said an ordinary private car cannot accommodate one car seat per child for large families.
“Imagine a family with four children below (the height limit of 135cm), what car should they use? They can’t all be using (Toyota) Alphard.
“Although I am a member of parliament, I myself cannot afford an Alphard,” he said in his follow-up question.
While stressing that children’s safety should be prioritised, Mr Cha hoped the ministry will be flexible in the installation of child car seats for those between 120cm and 135cm.
As a general rule of thumb, the child restraint system is suitable for children up to 36kg and 135cm, the deputy minister explained.
Mr Kamarudin said the ministry has thought about the implementation and large families will be exempted from using car seats.
In October, Deputy Prime Minister Wan Azizah Wan Ismail said the government would enforce the use of child restraint systems in vehicles from Jan 1 next year.
Transport Minister Anthony Loke said last Tuesday that the government would not penalise drivers who fail to comply with the new ruling in the first six months.
Noting that only 30 per cent of car owners have installed child safety seats, the minister said the enforcement would focus instead on awareness and education.
The Finance Ministry has consented to reduce the Sale and Services Tax of child car seats from 10 per cent to 5 per cent, Mr Loke added, with the import duty zero-rated.
On Thursday, Mr Kamarudin said the mandatory use of child seats only applies to private vehicles for now, before the government considers expanding it to public transportation.
“Statistics showed that 14 per cent to 15 per cent of 7,000 road accident deaths in a year were children,” he said.