MyEG, JPJ, VicRoads on road taxes: the difference is trust?

On Twitter today, Christopher Tock stated:

If @myegclub cld have a service to notify road tax of a car nearing expiry date, I’m sure it’ll get more ppl to register under them! ;) #fb

I replied:

Instead, why not send new road tax one month before expiry by mail, and get payment via @myegclub ? @spinzer @nikicheong

Christopher then asked about the situation in which people don’t pay, and they receive their registration labels by mail. And Niki Cheong said that “many people try to find their way around paying for stuff here. ingrained in our lives”.

VicRoads website It got me thinking. In Victoria, Australia, VicRoads sends out registration labels and the certificate every year, about a month before expiry. You then head online, and pay for your registration using your credit card. I believe you might also be able to pay for it in cash at various locations (post office, etc.), though I’ve always done it online. You never ask – what if I don’t pay for it. You just do. I’m sure there are stiff penalties for lacking payment. But the process is easy – it comes to you, there’s no need to remember when things are expiring, and you can pay for it online, all without leaving the comfort of your home.

In Malaysia, JPJ does not remind you when your road tax is expiring. The onus is on you to know this. You then have to head to the post office to pay for it and get the registration label, and settle your insurance at the same time. Or you can avoid all this by sending it to your car’s service centre and they’ll take about two days to sort this out for you. Insurance can be paid via credit card, but your road tax needs to be in cash (or so UMW-Toyota tells me).

JPJ websiteThe government of Malaysia is heavily pushing their e-government services portal – MyEG. You can now renew your road tax online, thus getting rid of the whole visiting the post office or your manufacturer’s service centre. This is similar to what VicRoads does – you enter your registration number and it will tell you if you have a payment to be made or not. This is a step forward – except for the fact, that there is no reminder for you to renew your road tax!

Will it be hard to implement? Of course not. Part of the registration for MyEG includes you giving away your identity card (IC) number. A simple change to the database can ensure that you can tie several cars to your account and you can thus make payment on them. MyEG will know when the road tax is expiring, and a simple SMS message might suffice (bulk SMS costs are cheap). And if they’re more trusting, mailing out of the labels themselves!

But I guess Niki is right – it is ingrained that Malaysians might want to find away around the system, if the labels were sent out, pre-payment. Take a look at petrol kiosks: in Australia, you pump your petrol first, then go in to make the payment. You don’t think about running away after getting your full tank. You do this no matter how much petrol costs. In Malaysia, you pay for your petrol first. Either at the counter, or via credit card authorisation. No payment, no petrol.

I sincerely hope MyEG/JPJ figure this out at some stage. As we move towards a more knowledge-based economy, and the goals of the government certainly include getting Malaysia more in-tune with the rest of the First World, it probably makes sense that service delivery takes a notch up.

As a quick aside, do look at both the VicRoads and the JPJ website. Look at how the information is architected. How its presented. Its an interesting comparison. I wonder how many web designers go through this sort of thought process, when thinking about designing websites that are targeted for mass consumption of government services.


  1. Niki Cheong says:

    Thanks for writing this – I was thinking along the same thing.

    What I said to you and Chris is an old opinion. I remember the days in Australia when I was resident assistant and I'd sometimes be responsible of collecting the money from the washing machine – only to find half of the coins in there RM1 coins instead of Australian dollars.

    Then I remember in Perth, where some stops are based on trust (in that you just have to hold a valid ticket and not go through any barriers), and some of my Malaysian friends would take the risk that there wasn't going to be a spot check and just not pay.

    In Malaysia, I often encounter people who keep asking for free stuff (and wouldn't pay if they had to – they rather skip the event).

    It's unfortunate but yes, ingrained. I think the problem is beyond MyEG :) We need to change mentalities first.

    • Niki Cheong says:

      I meant that train system in Perth.

    • Jeffro Ong says:

      I have to agree on this point. Mentality is what makes a difference here. Even so implementing what Mr TS Wong had mentioned, still there will always a bunch of getting their around the system. For instance, I knew some friends from before who would have their accounts created and initially pay for the services (of which I cannot mention), then delay payment thereafter and subsequently not pay all using excuse as Internet connection issues, the original site is malfunction or down whenever they were to do a transaction, etc. From there, they took advantage of kindness given to them where they had gotten some sort of rebate or even free of charge services from their complains made.

  2. James says:

    In WA they only sent out the sticker after you'd paid, but the system was otherwise the same as Victoria. Now all WA police cars can look up license plates in the central database and find out registration status from that, so they don't even send out stickers any more.

  3. TS Wong says:

    First of all, thanks for highlighting ideas on how we can make it more convenient for Malaysians to transact with MyEG.

    i. If you have transacted with MyEG before, (whether paid for your PDRM summons, renewed your roadtax etc), we will consider you a willing user, and we do send you a reminder via email one month before the expiry of your roadtax. If you did not receive this reminder email, it is probably in your junk box.

    ii. I agree that it would be impossible at this stage to implement a service whereby we deliver the roadtax first, and then attempt to collect payment. There will be too many disputes and complains. In fact, there is a high percentage (>15%) of registered vehicles owners who do not renew their roadtax. Surely, not everyone of them forgot that it has expired.

    iii. We do appreciate suggestions from everybody and anybody on how the public delivery system can be further improved.

    Thank you.

    Best regards
    TS Wong
    Managing Director
    MyEG Services

    • colincharles says:

      Thanks for the response TS Wong. I was at SMCKL today and listened to your colleague, KK Chin. Very entertaining speaker. And clearly I'll be paying a little more attention to MyEG now.


  4. Thanks for highlighting the issue in a more in-depth approach, certainly learned a thing or two. Until the Malaysian mentality changes from a third world country's, I'm afraid TS Wong is right; it'd nearly be impossible for a service to be granted before making a payment.

    But I do hope anyway, and from my experience today with an expired road tax issue, I intend to go through as much as I can so that I may be able to identify the root of problem here. Wish me luck :)

  5. Neil Walter says:

    Growing up in Australia and now spending a couple of years in Malaysia – I think it's definitely an issue of mentality. The mentality of most Australians is quite honest – and while a few will drive away from the Petrol Station without paying or trying to not spend money when not chased – 99% do the right thing. Things such as Road Tax – I'm sure there's plenty of people driving around in Australia who are late with payment or haven't yet. If they're stopped at a Road Block they may be checked – but as 95% of people do everything on time, it's not a problem.

    Here in Malaysia I sense it's a little more as if people can find a way to not do something “undesirable” such as paying Road Tax – then they won't. Of course legitimately forgetting to pay VS deliberately avoiding it is a different thing. However, there are more people in the deliberately avoid group VS the forget to pay group – hence the strict action taking by the authorities. In Australia, the vast majority of late payments is forgetting – so the opposite.

    Just my two sen anyway =)

    • Niki Cheong says:

      I think we need to also look at the reason why we have this mentality and really – and very unfortunately – it comes from the notion that we can almost get away with it.

      What was not presented in this post by Colin – and rightfully so, considering it is a separate issue – was Chris' “harassment” by friends and family asking him why he did not choose to simply pay off the officer.

      Because we can get away with it, so we care less.

      Interestingly, I have encountered this receive first, pay later system only once in Malaysia. There is this charity organisation that raises money for mouth and foot artist (disabled artists with no hands) who used to send cards every few months featuring their artwork. You keep the cards and pay them if you like, or return the cards. I'd be really interested to know what the statistics are in terms of who actually pays to keep the cards. Then again, it's a charity so maybe people are more inclined to give than to just take. :|

      • Neil Walter says:

        Simple: Bribing is a social norm in Malaysia. In many other countries it is majorly frowned upon. It shows a lack of integrity and integrity is an important trait to have.

        But it's nice for Chris to take a stand – unfortunately though for him, dragging it out will be a much more dangerous road than simply slipping some money.

        Good luck Chris!

        • Niki Cheong says:

          Don't disagree with your first statement Neil. Not sure I agree with the statement that Chris has chosen a “dangerous” road though. More hassle maybe, but not dangerous, I think. :)

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