Private vehicle owners with young children have until the end of the year to get a child restraint system (CRS) installed. The use of child safety seats has actually become mandatory since January 2020, with Malaysia adopting the United Nations R44 or R129 Standards for CRS. At that time, the Pakatan Harapan government had set a six month grace period, that would have ended in June, for the enforcement of their use.
Now, the current government has extended the grace period until the end of the year. This means that no summons will be issued to vehicle owners whose children are not seated in a CRS.
During the latest Parliament session, Umno’s Libaran MP Datuk Zakaria Mohd Edris asked the government for an update on the status of the implementation of CRS in private vehicles.
Transport Minister Datuk Seri Wee Ka Siong (pic above) responded, “We are still at the stage of studying which is the most suitable CRS to use for vehicles. So for now, no summons will be issued until the end of the year to vehicle owners who do not have a CRS installed.”
He added that for now, the government will stick to its initial decision to make child seats compulsory for private vehicles only, while it continues to study the most conducive way for them to be installed in public vehicles such as buses.
However, two road safety experts have criticised the government’s decision not to impose fines on those who ignore the rules. University Putra Malaysia’s Road Safety Research Centre Law Teik Hua and consultant Karen Goonting, said that fines must be issued to ensure parents follow the rule.
They had suggested for better education on road safety for children, and for manufactures to make seats more affordable or tax-free. The government under Pakatan Harapan had also said there would be tax breaks for child seats to encourage quicker adoption and assist the bottom 40 income (B40) group.
Goonting is of the opinion that it made no sense to continue implementing the rule without imposing fines. “It is like a tiger with no teeth. They are telling people to change their behaviour and use CRS, but they don’t tell you why,” she said.
Under the current guidelines, there are four different types of child safety seats:
From birth up to 13kg, up to a height of 83cm (approximately 0 – 18months)
9kg – 18kg, 71cm and above (approximately 15 months to four years of age)
15kg – 25kg, 100cm and above (approximately four to seven years of age)
22kg – 36kg, up to 135cm ( approximately six to 12 years of age)
According to Road Transport Department (JPJ) director-general Datuk Seri Shaharuddin Khalid, once enough data has been collected, it will be able to decide the type of summons and offences for those who do not abide with the law on the compulsory use of CRS.