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Sylvia Lim: “Give COE Concessions to those who Under-Utilise their Vehicles”

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Aljunied MP Sylvia Lim has raised the issue of building a fairer COE system in parliament.

She said that the government should look at ways to help those who need to own a vehicle, but use them sparingly.

This can be achieved through concessions or rebates.

Ms Lim said she had in mind retirees who use their cars to send their disabled spouses for medical checkups, or ferry their grandchildren to and from school.

She said that these retirees no longer earn an income, and it would be a painful decision for them to give up their vehicles as it would mean they can no longer contribute to the families the way they used to.

COE receipts are expected to come in at about S$3.7 billion for FY 2014, according to Finance Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam in his Budget 2015 speech.

For this coming financial year, Mr Tharman expects revenues from COEs to be about S$5.1 billion.

This is the transcript of Sylvia Lim’s speech:

“According to the website of LTA, a COE represents a right to vehicle ownership and use of the limited road space for 10 years.  Thus, there are two aspects to the COE – the right to own the vehicle as well as the road usage.

Since road usage is part of the rationale for COEs, there is a case for looking into how we could make the system fairer for those who currently have vehicles that are under-utilised and are seeking to extend their COEs for the same vehicle.  I have in mind retirees who use their cars only to send disabled spouses to medical check-ups or to ferry their grandchildren to and from school.  As these vehicle owners no longer earn an income, they are now faced with giving up their vehicles when their COEs expire, due to the high COE prices.   This decision is painful as it would mean they can no longer contribute to their family lives the way they used to.

I would like to ask MOT to look into the possibility of giving vehicle owners renewing their COEs for the same vehicle a rebate or concession, if their usage of the vehicle in the first 10 years is below a threshold and the COE renewed is not transferable.  There would also be a corresponding need to also ensure that odometers recording mileages are not tampered with, which would at the same time be a good safeguard for consumers of used cars.”

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