PUTRAJAYA: Imagine learner drivers taking their practical test on the circuit without an examiner sitting next to them in the car, or anywhere in sight.
The examiner will instead be evaluating their driving skills from a control room via multiple cameras on the circuit.
An automated process that minimises human intervention could be in place from as early as next year, to prevent “Kopi O” licences and “Guaranteed Pass” packages.
Transport Minister Anthony Loke said the Road Transport Department (JPJ) will roll out the automated system in stages, starting in a few months.
“As for on-the-road tests, we want driving institutes to install dashboard cameras in all test cars so that there will be proof of record of the driver’s skills.
“Should an applicant fail and he believes it was because he did not pay duit kopi (under-the-counter money), he can appeal with evidence from the dashboard cameras,” Loke told a press conference after meeting JPJ officers yesterday.
He said the packages offered by driving schools were often far more expensive than the actual cost of obtaining the licences.
According to JPJ, a motorcycle licence (B2) costs RM350, while a manual car licence (D) is RM1,150 and an automatic car licence (DA) is RM1,250.
However, Loke observed that some driving schools collected up to RM2,200 per applicant, allegedly to smoothen the entire process.
“Institutes can offer additional services – for example, transport to and from the institute – but these must be optional and clearly stated in an itemised bill to licence applicants.
“There must be no more hidden costs or I will cancel their (driving school) licences,” he said, adding that the mechanism for all these ideas will be fine-tuned later with driving institutes.
On the bidding and selling of special vehicle number plates, Loke said he will stop the practice of authorising certain NGOs to sell these plates with immediate effect.
“From now on, any buying of number plates must go through JPJ, without exceptions. This is government revenue and we intend to collect all of it,” he said.
On the bidding process, Loke said he has instructed JPJ to work on a system for e-bidding to replace the current manual one.
“At the moment you need to physically show up to bid for certain numbers at JPJ offices in certain states.
“We hope to roll out the online system by January 2019, which will allow more vehicle owners to bid for special number plates,” he said.
Meanwhile, Loke has assured some 800 permanent staff members of the Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) that they will be absorbed by JPJ.
“In JPJ alone, we have 1,000 vacant positions which has been frozen for new intakes, and we have decided to take in all the SPAD staff to fill these spots,” he said.
Two days ago, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad announced that SPAD will be abolished and its duties taken over by the ministry.