SINGAPORE: People frustrated with the process of registering for Malaysia's Vehicle Entry Permit (VEP) have complained about lengthy waiting times, a lack of appointment slots and little help from the authorities.
Malaysia announced in 2017 that all foreign-registered vehicles entering the country will need a VEP, meant to tackle car theft and cloning syndicates and prevent vehicles with outstanding fines from leaving the country.
After a delay to “fine-tune” the system, Malaysia’s Transport Ministry said in April that the VEP will be enforced from October.
NO APPOINTMENT SLOTS
But people have been complaining on social media about the "chaotic" registration process that requires an excessive amount of information and inconveniences drivers because of the need to cross the border to complete the process.
Those invited to book an appointment in Malaysia to install a radio-frequency identification (RFID) tag for the system said they have been unable to do so, suggesting that all appointment slots have been snapped up until the requirement kicks in on Oct 1.
Only VEP-registered vehicles will be allowed entry into Malaysia once the system is implemented.
According to Malaysia's Road Transport Department’s (JPJ) website, failing to register for VEP is an offence that carries an RM150 (S$49) fine.
In a HardwareZone forum thread dedicated to VEP, user BeyondTheSky posted on Tuesday (Sep 17) that appointment slots were fully booked until the end of September, while dates for October were unavailable.
At least four other people reported the unavailability of appointment slots.
On a Facebook post detailing steps on registering for VEP, Yong Zhi Tan commented: “Just logged in to see and all slots are red now. I guess I have to (pay) the RM150 fine if they don’t postpone.”
WEBSITE CRASHING, HELPLINES UNRESPONSIVE
Malaysia’s Transport Ministry has said that setting up a VEP requires a "simple three-step action".
The first step is setting up an online account and entering the vehicle and owner's details; next is receiving a confirmation email upon successful registration; the final step is booking and attending an appointment at designated counters in Johor, where the RFID tag will be installed.
But several people said they had issues registering on the website.
Facebook user Edelyn Teo said the VEP portal on JPJ’s website was prone to crashing. “Been trying for forever … The website keeps timing out and logging me out,” she wrote.
When CNA tried registering for an account and logging in, the website had trouble loading on several occasions.
Others expressed concerns about a lack of response to calls and emails asking for help. CNA's email on the initial website issues went unanswered.
Facebook user Seong Kit said: “Best part is their VEP hotline. Can’t get through. Been calling them for days. If I can get through, I think I will strike 4D, TOTO and Big Sweep.”
Once logged in, motorists will need to enter their vehicle details, including their Certificate of Entitlement (COE) and engine information. While most details about the vehicle can be retrieved through the Land Transport Authority's (LTA) One Motoring website, some information - such as the number of axles on the vehicle - was not readily available.
People on social media have questioned the need for so much information, with some concerned about the sensitivity of the data.
“What does COE price or car price have to do with VEP?” asked Facebook user Es Lim.
“VEP registration is asking for a lot of private information,” added J Chang Thai Man, expressing concern about potential data leaks.
After submitting the vehicle and owner's information, CNA received an email from JPJ stating that “you don’t need to do anything for now until you hear from us again”.
“We will soon announce the date and location where you can collect your VEP RFID tag via VEP website as well as other channels,” it added.
USING REGISTRATION CONFIRMATION SLIP
Some have successfully registered for the VEP from as early as July, but have yet to receive an invitation to book an appointment.
A JPJ official said in an email seen by CNA that drivers who have been unable to book an appointment can use the registration confirmation slip as a substitute for the VEP RFID tag when entering Malaysia.
One concerned driver had sent an email to JPJ and got a reply saying he will first receive a “tag collection invitation email”.
“You will receive the invitation according to the order of registration,” the email said.
“You may use confirmation slip as substitute to the VEP RFID tag … Until then, you can continue enter Malaysia as you usually do.”
However, some netizens remained unhappy about having to complete the registration process in Malaysia.
Facebook user Aylwin Lim said he did not have an issue with paying for the VEP, a five-year permit costing RM25, but questioned why motorists needed to go into Malaysia to install the RFID.
“I don’t remember Singapore trying to make Malaysia vehicles register and come in to Singapore just to collect VEP tag,” he wrote. “What are they thinking?”
HardwareZone user hwckhs added: “Very frustrating. They announce the go-live date and possible fine, but the implementation process is chaotic.”
CNA has approached the Transport Ministry for comment.