The e-plate system for digital vehicle licence plates will not only help reduce congestion at highway toll plazas, but also help to curb vehicle theft, The Star has quoted experts as saying.
The digital vehicle licence plates will help improve enforcement measures as personnel at roadblocks will only need to scan the digital plate to retrieve the vehicle owner’s details, said Universiti Putra Malaysia associate professor Law Teik Hua.
These will make enforcement personnel’s work easier while also possibly reducing traffic congestion, as the chips in the digital plates will be linked to the vehicle registration system which cannot be changed by the user, thus improve vehicle security, Law added.
“The government should engage with car manufacturers to work towards this. Having built-in chip in car plates will also increase the radio frequency identification (RFID) device adoption rate,” said Law, who is the head of the Road Safety Research Centre at UPM.
Digital plates could also curb vehicle-related crimes, according to Malaysia Road & Transportation Safety Association president Nik Mohd Salim. “In some countries, toll gates will not open if the [number] plates and vehicle types do not match,” he said, adding that the e-plates can help authorities trace stolen vehicles if they enter areas which require the use of digital plates.
Additionally, “e-plates will also allow the nation to gradually move towards the MLFF toll system,” the association president said. Earlier this week, works minister Datuk Seri Alexander Nanta Linggi said that a proof of concept (POC) for MLFF will be conducted before the end of October 2023 before it is implemented for all highways in Malaysia.
On the other hand, one challenge that will face the roll-out of digital vehicle licence plates is privacy concerns for potential data breaches. As digital plate-equipped vehicles are used, their data including travel history will be uploaded to an online database, and anyone with access will be able to find out where the vehicle has been, Law said.
The topic of standardised licence plates in Malaysia dates back a number of years. The road transport department (JPJ) stated in 2016 that is was aiming to have a standardised licence plate system in place by 2017.
A similar idea was mooted in 2017 where the licence plate would have an embedded chip containing information on the vehicle owner and driver, as well as vehicle details such as the engine and chassis numbers plus the colour and model. Subsequently, the police proposed e-plates in 2021 with the aim of standardising the identification of all vehicles in the country.