An absence of public transport, improved roads and the economic development of Cambodia’s rural areas was reflected in an increase in vehicle registrations by 7.7 per cent from 2011 to 2012, official data shows. However, as an insider said yesterday, many cars and motorcycles will not be registered because administrative infrastructure is missing.
Last year, the ministry handed out documents for 233,497 scooters, seven per cent more than in 2011; 3,356 car licences, an increase of 15.96 per cent; and 63.05 per cent more papers for heavy goods vehicles, of which 4,709 were registered. Light goods vehicle and large passenger vehicle registrations grew by more than 24 per cent.
The statistics show that more than 2 million vehicles had been registered in Cambodia between 1990 and last year.
However, the actual number of vehicles in use in the country may be higher than official figures show.
In late February, the Post published data from the Ministry of Economy and Finance (MEF) that showed imports of scooters reached 264,085 units in the first 11 months of last year – a 55 per cent jump from the 170,380 units in the corresponding period of 2011.
The difference of 30,588 motorcycles is up to 13.09 per cent, an increase that does not take into account a missing month in the MEF data.
Some vehicles are not registered correctly, have fake number plates and carry fake documents.
Peou Maly, deputy director general at the DOT, told the Post yesterday: “If somebody doesn’t register his car, it is not allowed to be driven on the road. The police will arrest and fine them according to the road traffic law article 79.”
According to the Law on Land Traffic, driving with a non-registered vehicle incurs between a 25,000 riel and 200,000 riel fine, and can even carry imprisonment for between six days to one month.
Heng Sam Orn, however, secretary general of the Independent Democratic of Informal Economic Association (IDEA), which represents more than 4,000 workers in the informal transport sector, sees also a failure on the administrative level.
“Firstly, many people don’t register their vehicles because it’s difficult in rural areas. Registration offices are only in the bigger towns. Secondly, people still think they don’t need to register because they only use their motorbike within their commune. However, most of them still pay the tax,” he said.
“Recently, however, due to more single-window secretariats in rural areas, the registration process has been improved. But some rural areas are still not covered and therefore registration consumes a lot of time.”
Additionally, car dealers pass on the responsibility for registration to their customers. “We don’t follow up whether our customers registers their vehicles or not,” said a salesperson from HDP Import and Export Co, who asked not to be named.
New-car distributor Pily Wong, chief executive of the Hung Hiep Group, said his company offers such a service but customers are usually not interested in it. “Most customers register their vehicle themselves. Such a service is not often used,” he said.