THE Consumers’ Association of Penang (CAP) is baffled by the Transport Ministry’s decision to allow darker tints for the rear windshield and windows of vehicles. Not only was the decision announced suddenly, but there also appears to have been no consultation with other relevant authorities including the police.
Transport Minister Anthony Loke was reported to have said that the ministry’s decision was in response to the public’s desire to have darker tints on their windows to filter
out heat. With this decision, the Transport Ministry is bending backwards to satisfy the public’s desire instead of ensuring safety.
Our country is already one of the world’s worst in terms of the high rate of road crashes, with half a million accidents and 7,000 fatalities costing us RM9bil every year. This new ruling will only worsen the already shameful record we are known for.
No doubt, tinted screens provide some extent of comfort by filtering out bright sunlight and harmful ultraviolet rays. But it is the issue of safety that needs to be considered. Vehicles with dark tints are more likely to experience collision from the back, as tinted windows block the front view of the driver in the rear vehicle.
The experience of motorists who regret switching to the darker tint speaks for itself. Those who have done so say it is difficult to gauge the road condition through the rear view mirror. This may be even worse at night and during stormy weather. This is why the Road Transport Department has maintained the visible light transmission (VLT) level for the front window at 70%. The rear and side windows were maintained at 30% and in 2016 increased to 50%.
The claim by the Transport Minister that the new ruling would solve the import of Japanese cars with different levels of tint is ridiculous. Manufacturers and importers have to ensure that imported vehicles conform to Malaysian laws and safety standards. So why are we shifting our goal post and for whose advantage?
In addition, we can expect kidnap, rape and theft to be on the increase. Darkness is a haven for criminals. Only those who seek to hide from the law and from the glare of public view would be happy with this new ruling.
S. M. MOHAMED IDRIS
Consumers’ Association of Penang