Car rental association chief: Lease costs of govt’s Vellfires make no sense

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The lease costs of the government’s new Toyota Vellfires revealed by Finance Minister Tengku Zafrul Abdul Aziz makes no sense, said Malaysian Car Rental Association president Farouk Fernandez.

He said it is important to note that vehicles are sold at different prices to the government as opposed to private entities, where the former can save cost through duty and tax exemptions.

“Even having said that, the numbers don’t seem to make sense in terms of the monthly lease cost of the vehicle based on the estimated price of the vehicle,” Fernandez told Malaysiakini today.

Last Thursday, Zafrul defended the government’s switch from Proton Perdana to Toyota Vellfire as the new official government vehicle with a monthly cost of RM5,759.35, saying that it saved the taxpayers RM2 for each vehicle after the switch.

Fernandez cited an example of a commercially sold Toyota Camry, a sedan which cost about RM200,000, significantly lower than a multi-purpose vehicle like the Vellfire which cost around RM367,000.

Toyota

“A three-year lease on a Toyota Camry which includes road tax, insurance, maintenance, and replacements, will come close to RM5,000 monthly,” he said.

Fernandez admitted that he has no idea exactly how the government arrived at the lease cost of RM5,759.35 but questioned whether there is an urgent need to switch the government’s official fleet now.

“The numbers can be made to look however they (the government) like. It all depends on how the computation is done.

“I think the point for most Malaysians is that while the country is going through such hardship, and the government’s fund is so depleted, why is there a need to change the (official) vehicles?” he said.

Luxurious vehicles

Fernandez’s sentiment was echoed by PKR Bayan Baru MP Sim Tze Tzin, who sarcastically congratulated the government over its “achievement” to save RM2 for the taxpayers.

“I suggest this achievement should be recorded in the ‘100 days achievement of the new administration’ which will be reported to the people soon.

“Surely the people will be proud of the finance minister’s achievement,” he said in a statement today.

Sim said the Finance Ministry’s parliamentary reply about the vehicle switch on Nov 3 only added more questions, including why there is a need to rent luxurious vehicles costing millions while the people are facing economic and pandemic crises.

“The ministry also needs to answer whether the concession company had obtained the contract through open tender or direct negotiation since Spanco’s contract ended in 2020,” he said.

Tendering process

Spanco is a vehicle renting company which was the sole concessionaire providing official government vehicles from 1994 to 2020.

The Pakatan Harapan government oversaw the tendering process for a new concession in 2020 when the contract ended, in which seven companies, including Spanco, submitted their proposals.

That was until the administration fell during the Sheraton Move, and the new administration led by former prime minister Muhyiddin Yassin did not disclose who was the eventual bidding winner.

Sim said with the reopening of Parliament, he urged the Finance Ministry to explain the tender issue of concession companies.

“How many companies went into the tendering process? What were the government’s requirements that are beneficial to itself?” he asked.

Sim added that the explanation is important so the people will know whether the government led by Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaacob really worked hard to save the taxpayers’ money. – Malaysiakini