In Malaysia, it is very common for almost every citizen to own a car. This definitely explains why we never fail to face traffic jams everywhere we go at any time of the day, especially if you live in high-density areas. This makes us wonder, is it possible for Malaysians to live without a car?
To answer this question, we talked to different Malaysians who shared their thoughts on why they never regretted their decision to not buy a car!
1. “I want to finish paying off my PTPTN loan”
“With my starting salary, cost of living and PTPTN loan that I have to pay monthly, I definitely cannot afford a car anytime soon.” Joe, 24, Junior Account Executive
To paint a clearer picture, we did a little digging. Did you know that in 2019 alone, there was a 6.9% increase in graduates from 2018 totalling about 5.29 million? Unfortunately, Bank Negara found that the starting wage for said graduates has actually been decreasing since 2010 up until 2018, while the wage growth has remained fairly stagnant since the mid 2000’s for those between the ages of 20 and 29.
All of these total up to a pretty challenging job market for our graduates. On top of that, they are also obligated to pay off their student loans once they start working. Paired with the increasing cost of living in the city, it’s no wonder the younger generation is no longer interested to commit to any big purchases anytime soon.
2. “My apartment literally has no available parking spaces left”
Unfortunately, a high-rise home often does not come with a lot of parking spaces unless you want to pay a monthly fee just to secure one within the apartment compound!
“This is the norm at my place. You can either park illegally outside the apartment and risk getting a saman, or you can get a parking spot inside and pay a monthly fee. Both of which are just as expensive!” – Lily, 37, Digital Marketing Specialist
On top of that, did you know that a past study stated that KL-ites would spend an average of 152 hours per year just searching for parking? The same study also predicted that by 2022, the parking congestion would go up by 4.5 times! This speaks volumes as to how congested this city really is.
3. “I live in the city and it’s already way too packed with vehicles”
Gone are the days where traffic jams would only occur during ‘rush hours’. Nowadays, traffic jams would occur everywhere we go no matter the time! In fact, a past study revealed that KL-ites spend an average of 53 minutes per day sitting idle in their car during traffic jams. Imagine what a waste of time that would be if you’re the driver in the front seat!
“I live 10 minutes away from my workplace but with traffic, it’ll take more than 40 minutes to get there! It’d be such a waste of time if I were to drive since I cannot do anything. That is why I prefer to take e-hailing since it’s a lot easier to multitask when you’re in the backseat.” – Dev, 29, HR Admin
With our developing public transport systems and the availability of more convenient choices like e-hailing, it’s no wonder Malaysians are straying away from choosing to drive.
4. “I don’t want to contribute to environmental pollution”
“Malaysia already has too many cars on the road right now and it’s because we have so many solo drivers! This is why I’d like to do my part by resorting to other solutions.” – Jess, 30, Content Writer
Believe it or not, owning a car and driving it is actually one of the biggest contributors to environmental pollution. As a rough estimate, in 2019 alone, Malaysia recorded 31.2 million vehicle registrations which increased from 28.18 million in 2017. Within just two years, the number of vehicles increased by almost three million!
This also explains why our CO2 reading as of 2019 was recorded at 244.47M which is a drastic increase from 10 years ago when it was only at 190.30M. Especially with the never-ending traffic jam in Malaysia, being stuck in a running car can drive up our carbon footprint tremendously!
5. “I get to be more flexible with my spending”
“In my opinion, I don’t think owning a car is worth the commitment. Can I afford one? Yes. But I will have to spend a large chunk of my savings and salary on it, which forces me to compromise on other luxuries in life.” – Helmi, 25, Junior Designer
Currently, even a compact local car with the lowest specification will set you back over RM400 monthly (and this is excluding maintenance, road tax and all those other hidden costs!). It is also estimated that cars in Malaysia could suffer an average depreciation rate of 10% to 20% annually!
Thus, to say that you’re losing money by owning a car might not be that far from the truth. It’d be much wiser to opt for other alternatives such as public transportation, and invest the money you’d spend on a car to make it grow over time.
Think about it, how many times have we been on the road saying to ourselves “aiya, why are there so many cars on the road?“. In order to remedy this, the change must come from us. After hearing the thoughts of these everyday Malaysians, we can definitely see why they don’t regret not owning a car and how it can be the smarter choice!
Additionally, in this day and age, we have plenty of options to go about our day with the help of public transport. Not only will this help us financially, but can also be better for the environment and our productivity by reducing the number of cars and the time we spend on the road. Plus, with the help of e-hailing services, it can be both convenient and safe to utilise even during this MCO period. Time to change our perspective, guys!
Do you think owning a car is a necessity or more of a liability? Tell us your opinions below!
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