Malaysia 1 : What's In a Number?


Malaysia 1 : What's In a Number?

The most expensive registration number plate on the road out there is “MALAYSIA 1” worth RM1,111,111. Zakiah Koya analyses our obsession with these golden numbers.

In Malaysia, the type of car one owns may be a symbol of status but it is the registration number plate which says it all about who you are and the kind of money you may have. After all, according to international car review website Jalopnik, we are among the most expensive countries in which to own a car.

Having said that, no matter what make your car is, even with all the right shades, proper specs and the emblem showing, one is expected to show it to the world an exclusive registration number plate – the top range being the “Golden Number”, for only then are you a “VIP” (Very Important Person).

It is with such a “culture” on the road that many Malaysians do not think twice at forking out massive sums to make their mark and turn heads, as they drive by or if they are just sitting in a bumper to bumper crawl.

RTD managed to collect RM280 million from the sale of special plate numbers and RM137 million from the normal plate numbers

For the Road Transport Department (RTD), the proceeds from the sale of special registration number plates is perhaps its biggest income.

It was reported that last year RTD managed to collect RM280 million from the sale of special plate numbers and RM137 million from the normal plate numbers.

RTD was one of the biggest contributors to the government’s revenue last year. RTD provided contribution worth RM4 billion from vehicle licences, road tax and vehicle number registration.

There have been complaints though that under the previous government, certain special numbers were given out to certain NGOs which then sold only at a cap of RM1 million and not put out to the public to bid.

With the new government, e-bidding was allowed and the special numbers "Malaysia 1" to "Malaysia 9999", except for “Malaysia 2020” were opened to the public on August 1.

“Malaysia 2020” was reserved for the Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

Today, Transport Minister Anthony Loke announced that the special car registration number plate "Malaysia 1" has broken the record as the most expensive bid ever made for a single number.

The winning bid was made by Aldi International Sdn Bhd, was RM1,111,111, said Transport Minister Anthony Loke.

A quick check showed that Aldi International “operates as an alternative investment company with interest in property development" and is based in Johor Bahru. 

The same company had also made bids on “Malaysia 2” and “Malaysia 4”.

While many of us with mere coins in the pockets would gape at the amounts these people are willing to fork out for a few letters and numbers, in Abu Dhabi, in 2008, a man paid seven million pounds for the car registration number plate “1”.

That would have been about RM35 million today.