Behold, the car number plate that is worth more than most cars in Malaysia.
Datuk Lee Chong Wei recently splurged an incredible RM97,777 for the number plate BMW6. This is not the first time car-enthusiast Datuk Lee Chong Wei has spent an extravagant amount on his car number plate. In 2012, he spent RM69,100 on car number plate BLG1 for his Ferrari F430, a monster of a vehicle capable of going from 0 to 100km in 4 seconds.
This, however, was not even the highest bidder on the list.
Tengku Sulaiman Shah boasted the highest bid with RM188,100 on BMW5. Even this, however, was nothing compared to MyWatch chairman R. Sri Sanjeevan paid RM174,776 and RM165,000 for car plate numbers BMW8 and BMW 11 respectively, amounting to a total of RM339,776.
To put this in perspective, the MyWatch chairman spent the equivalent of ten Auto Transmission Perodua Axia on a piece of plastic with some words and a number on it. OR if you have really expensive taste, that same amount of money could get you two BMW II6i (Hatch) at the recommended retail price of RM170,800 per vehicle. You could even get a BMW Sedan 328i Gran Turismo for RM329,800 with almost RM10,000 to spare.
This prompted many Malaysians to question his source of income on the social media. When questioned about this purchase, Sanjeevan defended his actions by saying that the purchases were an “investment”. In a statement to The Rakyat Post, he further added that he will be able to auction off the number in the future at an even higher price. In addition, he insisted he was doing this with his personal money earned from other ventures.
MyWatch is a Malaysian Crime Watch Task Force that is a Non-Government Organization (NGO) working to protect Malaysian citizens from criminal harm by preventing, identifying, managing, investigating and dealing with fraud and corruption.
You think RM339,776 is too much to pay for car number plates? Well, hold onto your seats, Vulcan Post readers.
Two years ago, Malaysian royal state leader Sultan Ibrahim Ismail spent a mind-numbing RM520,000 ($165,600) on car plate WWW1. Two years prior to that (in 2010), RM300,100 was paid for car plate MCA1.
But all this is nothing, nothing compared to what was paid for car plates BMW1, BMW2, BMW7, BMW9 and BMW10:
That’s not a horrible typo, these appear to be free BMW car number plates. Not only were the amounts listed as RM0.00, the successful bidders were anonymous as well, with only “Anggota Pentadbiran Kerajaan” where the name should be. The Selangor’s tender list unveiled by JPK after bidding from August 14 to August 28 has been circulating throughout the social media for the past few days. Public outrage rose when speculations came about that the Road Transport Department had given out the five highly sought-after registrations number plate for free.
RTD director-general Datuk Ismail Ahmad denied the claims in The Malaysian Insider. According to him, the bidders won the bids fair and square and the names were withheld to avoid “negative public perception.”
I mean, what better way to avoid negative public perception than to keep secrets from the public, right?
He divulged that the winning bidders were cabinet ministers, judges and royalty. He further added that the standard operating procedure (SOP) dictated that the names were not allowed to be disclosed as they were members of royalty or immediate/close relative of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.
He then contradicted his own statement about not giving out the car plate numbers for free by adding that the Yang di-Pertuan Agong is the only person who is entitled to more than one free car number plate while ministers are allowed only one free car plate number. In his own words, Datuk Ismail stated that, “As long as one has the money and used the proper channel to get the numbers, they can have it, whoever they are.”
So… were the numbers given away for free or not?!
Having money means that they paid, but going through the proper channel could mean a number of things. Did they call in a special favour with Yang di-Pertuan Agong? Either way, there should be nothing for them to hide!
We aren’t the only ones who’re itching to know as the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) have plans to summon the Road Transport Department (RTD) to explain the so-called ‘Standard Operating Procedures” involved. PAC chairman Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed said that it would be better for all parties involved if the RTD were to come clean with the process.
In the meantime, we rest easier knowing that having those car plate numbers are not exactly compulsory. According to the JPJ government website, a golden number costs RM10,000, an attractive number costs RM2,000, while a popular number is only RM300.
Or, if you’re a penniless drone like me, you’ll take whatever they have to offer free of charge. Who knows? You could get lucky and end up with a car plate number like mine: 864, which means “Die on Saturday” if you literally translate it in Chinese.