New RFID system to monitor traffic, track down criminals

PUTRAJAYA: A new vehicle security tracking system suitable for all types of vehicles – the Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) – will be implemented nationwide by the Road Transport Department (JPJ) by 2018.

Even suitable for motorcycles, the RFID will feature a 'smart code' tag which will be embedded into a new road tax sticker which can be tracked by the relevant authorities, some even with the use of satellites on certain occasions.

This new system will enable the police and other authorities to effectively track down criminals and also augur well with the Works Ministry and Malaysian Highway Authority's (LLM) plan to embark on the multi-lane free flow (MLFF) for electronic payment implementation without the presence of toll plazas.

Deputy Transport Minister Datuk Aziz Kaprawi (pix) told theSun that he is optimistic by 2018, the JPJ would complete the data vehicle synchronisation with other agencies including the Immigration Department and Touch n' Go payment system.

He said the RFID technology will herald a new era for vehicle security in Malaysia and it could be the answer to combat vehicle theft and cloned vehicle syndicates.

It is expected that the total number of registered vehicles by 2018 may reach 28 million nationwide, based on 2013 record of 23.8 million, a 5.3% increase from the previous year.

theSun understands that the RFID tag is designed to shatter should any one attempt to tamper with it and can transmit a warning to the JPJ and police, should any one try to remove the sticker.

One of its security features is the encrypted and secure identification code sourced only from JPJ database.

“For now, we are using the passive RFID with readers at immigration checkpoints for the upcoming Vehicle Entry Permit (VEP) exercise in Johor Baru," said Aziz, adding that the RFID can also be used to provide real-time monitoring on road traffic situation.

However, he said, the bandwidth for active RFID will be determined according to the Standard Radio System Plan by the Malaysian Communication and Multimedia Commission (MCMC).

Aziz also assured that there would be no extra cost for all registered vehicles when the RFID takes off.

"The RFID implementation will be done in stages and will probably be completed within three years. It will start with new registered vehicles and road tax renewal of vehicles," he added.

He stressed that the upcoming VEP implementation at the country's immigration checkpoints will act as an important test bed for RFID technology before implementing it on a bigger scale in the next three years.

“This October, we will begin the pilot stage of the RFID-base for VEP tags for all types of vehicles – both local and foreign – which travel in and out of Johor's border checkpoints,” he said, adding that the second and third phase would be for foreign vehicles from Thailand, Brunei and Indonesia in 2016 and 2017 respectively.

At the moment, said Aziz, the RFID tag which is one-third the size of current RTD’s road tax sticker, will be placed at the foreign vehicle's windscreen.

“We want to make sure that the new system won't create congestion at border checkpoints and toll plazas. A one-off fee of RM10 for five years will be imposed for foreign private cars. Motorcycles and commercial vehicles are exempted from paying any fee,” he said.

The RFID implementation was first mooted in 2005 by the Transport Ministry. It was reported that the RFID was a proposed MyKad system for vehicles as part of the government’s Automated Enforcement System nationwide with 700 new surveillance cameras.

In 2013, Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar had urged Transport Ministry to revitalise RFID or e-plate technology which is widely used in US, UK, Australia and France to help in eradicating vehicle thefts and registration forgeries frequently used by criminals.

As a modern security tool, it has already been used globally in livestock, consumer products, retail and sports car racing for chassis certification.

Interestingly, RFID technology has been criticised in many countries for its effectiveness to track vehicles movement and citizens. It has been widely accused for invasion of privacy in Belgium, Italy, UK and US.