Sunday, April 22, 2012

Voices letter brings number plate issue to the fore again

A reader's letter in the Today newspaper on Saturday (April 22, 2012) jogged my memory over an issue which I had with the Land Authority of Singapore two years ago.

I had expressed my unhappiness in my blog on July 13, 2010, over my having to pay $1,300 for retaining my car number and using it on another used car that I had purchased.

I thought it was illogical and unfair when compared to the $100 fee which is charged on someone who retains his number and uses it on a new car.

I alerted the LTA about it and, after an exchange of email, it finally agreed to take my feedback "into consideration in our future review of the retention fees."

I had forgotten about the matter until a friend alerted me to yesterday's letter in the Voices page of Today as she had remembered about my unhappiness.

The writer, Mr Bok Hai Suan, has brought up the same issue which I had complained about two years ago.  He wants the LTA to explain "the objectives, relevance and effectiveness of the measure".

If my experience is anything to go by, the chances are he will be getting the same official reply from LTA.

Maybe it would be generous and tell him that his feedback would be taken into consideration in the next review.  Which means it is likely to be lost in the lallang, like mine did.

Mr Bok's letter in Today follows:

Here's an excessive car cost
Letter from Bok Hai Suan

THE high cost of car ownership here is partly regulatory-driven to control the growth and age of our vehicle population. This we can understand. But are there excessive costs that may be irrelevant, as similar measures are already in place?

Here is one: A car owner pays S$100 to retain the registration number of a vehicle to be de-registered immediately. He tops up S$1,200 if the number is used subsequently on an existing vehicle, but $0 if it is used on a new vehicle.

The cost difference is 1,200 per cent.

Similarly, a car owner pays S$100 to retain the number of an existing vehicle (which is not to be de-registered immediately) for a new vehicle, but S$1,300 for another existing vehicle.

It is clear that the cost difference lies in where the retained number is used: New or existing vehicle.

If this is a reflection of the amount of work involved, it is difficult to comprehend how it costs 12 to 13 times more to use a retained number on a new vehicle compared with an existing vehicle in this age of computers.

If this is to encourage car owners to switch to new vehicles, is not the Certificate of Entitlement, with its 10-year validity, already doing the job?

Could the relevant authority enlighten us on the objectives, relevance and effectiveness of this measure?

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