PETALING JAYA: The Automobile Association of Malaysia (AAM), the country’s premier motoring authority, could be facing the end of the road.
With many of its employees not being paid for months, the body is struggling with a debt crisis said to amount to about RM6mil.
Founded in 1932, AAM has scheduled a special general meeting on Oct 3 for a salvage plan which will involve the sale of its building in Shah Alam.
“We heard that a 10% booking fee has already been paid for the building,” said an AAM official, who disclosed that the sale price had been set at RM7.5mil.
He said to make matters worse, members had been clamouring for refunds of annual fees paid.
AAM charges an annual fee of RM60 for principal and RM30 for supplementary membership. Its fleet and individual membership is said to total about 300,000.
Besides its popular 24-hour vehicle breakdown service, AAM helps issue motor insurance cover notes and handles road tax and driving licence renewals.
It is affiliated to 133 motoring associations in 102 countries, including the International Automobile Federation (FIA) and the International Motorcycling Federation (FIM).
The official said services offered by the body have been crippled “as there is no one to attend to calls at any of our 16 breakdown centres”.
“This is because the unpaid staff have not turned up for work,” he said, adding that about 100 employees still turned up regularly in the hope that they would be paid.
“We help by redirecting requests for assistance,” he added.
Despite the gloomy state of affairs, he said there were still motorists who signed up or renewed their insurance policies and membership fees as they kept faith in the body.
A long-standing AAM member, who wished to be identified as Jason, said no one attended to his many calls when he tried to seek assistance to jump-start his car on Saturday.
“I did not expect that they were faced with a crisis. I hope AAM will sort things out as it has been so dependable for decades,” he added.
AAM general manager Eugene Tay refused to comment when contacted, asking instead for written queries.
According to AAM’s annual report, the body has been recording losses since 2008, with its biggest deficits being in 2010 (RM2.9mil) and 2013 (RM2.15mil).
On Aug 17, affected AAM staff picketed outside their headquarters in Shah Alam demanding their salaries.