KUALA LUMPUR: The enforcement of the child restraint system (CRS) policy will focus on education and advocacy until the end of the year, says Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong.
The Transport Minister said the main intention of the Ministry making CRS mandatory was based on the interest, safety and welfare of children when they are onboard vehicles.
"It is not intended to impose penalties, summonses or to burden the people.
"The public must give focus on the matter to avoid any regrets if they face an accident.
"The rule was introduced to change the mentality and attitudes of the public in stages on the importance of CRS to protect the safety of children.
"At the moment, the use of CRS is only mandatory for private vehicles.
"Aside from that, exceptions are also given to those with huge families who are unable to install the CRS completely in their vehicles," he told Datuk Zakaria Mohd Edris @ Tubau (Bersatu-Libaran) during Question Time on Wednesday (Aug 12).
Zakaria had asked the Ministry to state the latest status of CRS implementation which came into effect on July 1.
Dr Wee said that experts and groups related to road safety across the world have admitted the importance and benefits of using CRS in reducing risk of injuries or mortality of children during an accident.
"Since the introduction of the ruling, based on studies conducted, there is clear evidence of an increase of awareness among parents in the use of child safety seats by 6%, which is from 38% in 2019 to 44% this year," added Dr Wee.
The government, he added, realised the concern over the cost of CRS faced by parents.
"The government also realised the challenges to expand the implementation of the CRS ruling to public service vehicles such as express buses, taxis and e-hailing services due to several practicality factors.
"For instance, the CRS equipment may not be suitable to be installed on the seats of buses as well as the challenges in finding a suitable CRS equipment for children in taxi and e-hailing services, taking into consideration of the different sizes of children," he said.
He also noted that he had ordered the Malaysian Institute of Road Safety Research (Miros) to conduct a detailed discussion with vehicle manufacturers, sellers, CRS manufacturers and importers in order to reduce the price of CRS.
"For taxi and e-hailing services, the use of CRS is encouraged.
"Service providers are also encouraged to use a universal CRS for their customers," he said.
Dr Wee added that he had discussed with relevant stakeholders the best approach to implement the CRS policy.
"In general, all stakeholders believed that the Ministry should return to the back-to-basics principle in the issue of protecting children while they are in vehicles," he said.
Dr Wee added that, among others, the Transport Ministry will also draft a long-term plan to protect the safety of children and, at the same time, not burden the public, especially parents.
"The Ministry is currently looking into the feedback from the public, regarding the standard weight, height and age of children while using CRS so it will be in line with and relevant to international safety standards," said Dr Wee.