Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow said a strike would cause traffic chaos.
“We would appreciate it if all involved can work out a solution so tow truck services can once again be available,” he said at a press conference on Monday.
On Sunday, the Penang Motor Vehicles Workshop Owners Association went on strike by parking about 50 tow trucks at an empty space in Juru, Butterworth. They also closed their workshops and would not accept cars in need of repairs after accidents.
The move was seen as a protest against the alleged monopoly of authorised franchise workshops (those with authorised dealerships from automakers) in carrying out repairs and maintenance on new cars provided under a five-year warranty.
Federation of Automobile Workshop Owners Association of Malaysia vice-president Khor Kong Siah, who is also Penang branch president, said complaints included voiding car owners’ warranty for opting for independent workshops, a lack of transparency in warranty regulations and double standards employed by insurance companies.
He said the moves were in violation of the Competition Act.
Chow said the state had contacted the Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry, Road Transport Department and the association to understand the issue better.
Earlier on Thursday, 35 association members agreed in writing to go on strike until the authorities resolve the issue. The association has 122 members in Penang and the 35 members are the prime workshops that deal in car repairs after accidents.
During the meeting, the members passed resolutions, including calling on Bank Negara Malaysia, the Malaysia Competition Commission and Road Transport Department to intervene.
Workshop operator Ch’ng Hong Choon said compelling drivers to repair their vehicles only at franchised workshops was bad as consumers should have the right to choose.
Meanwhile, General Insurance Association of Malaysia in a statement, said its member companies had activated their contingency plans to minimise inconvenience to motorists.
It also asked policy holders to contact their insurance company for more information.
“We are monitoring the action by the Penang Motor Vehicle Workshops Owners Association who want to cease all towing operations of accidents cases in Penang and close their workshops.
“We hope all parties will come to an amicable solution soon for the benefit of the public,” the statement said.
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