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So just recently, the Kelantan govt decided to get its Mentri Besar, Exco members and state leaders 14 Mercedes cars. And this has been confirmed by the Kelantan Deputy MB, Datuk Mohd Amar Nik Abdullah.
“Yes, all the excos, the Mentri Besar and myself are now using Mercedes Benz cars as official vehicles, but their engine capacity are different. I have been using it since the end of December, while the Mentri Besar started on January 1 (this year).” – Mohd Amar told Malay Mail.
The cars were reportedly purchased since 2018 and the last two cars were bought for the Kelantan MB, Ahmad Yakob and himself. While this may sound surprising to some, considering how the state is among the poorest in Malaysia, what Mohd Amar said afterwards was more shocking.
He said that the Mercedes cars that the state govt bought are much CHEAPER compared to the Proton Perdanas that they have been using for over 10 years. In fact, he questioned those who were skeptical of the state govt’s decision by asking, “Are we supposed to use Viva?”
So being the kepoh people we are, our friends at SOSCILI decided to do some MAT-MATIK to find out if his statement is true by comparing the price to buy and maintain both types of cars. And based on the information we found online, at the time of writing…
The Kelantan govt can actually buy an extra 28 units of Proton Perdana(!)…
…with the money it uses to buy 14 Mercedes cars. But before we get into that, a disclaimer.
DISCLAIMER: This is just a rough estimation without taking into account the specific type of cars the Kelantan state govt bought for its state leaders and special discounts or terms that the govt may or may not get to purchase these cars.
In addition, allow us to point out some information we’ll be using based on what we’ve gathered online:
- Car bought by Kelantan MB: Mercedes-Benz S450 L AMG Line (there weren’t news reports pointing out the specific types of Mercedes cars used by Kelantan state leaders so we’re gonna be using this model as a reference)
- Govt official cars: Perdana 2.4 AT Metallic
We’ll begin by calculating the cost to buy Perdana 2.4 AT Metallic. And because the govt’s office is located in the Peninsular Malaysia, we would be using the standardised cost of Proton Perdana sold in Peninsular Malaysia.
So, the on the road price aka price for a new car without insurance would be RM127,247.74. And if the govt buys 14 units of the same car…
14 unit x RM127,247.74 = RM1,781,468.36
Round that off and it’ll cost the govt roughly RM1.8 million to own 14 Proton Perdana 2.4 AT Metallic cars.
On the other hand, this is the cost to purchase the Mercedes-Benz S450 L AMG Line, which was first brought into Malaysia in 2018:
According to the information above, the price of a Mercedes that the Kelantan state govt wants to buy is RM699,888 without insurance. But chupp! Mohd Amar reportedly said that the price is not even an issue because the Kelantan state govt reportedly received a 50% discount for purchasing Mercedes cars.
“Price is not an issue because the (state) government obtained a 50 percent discount because there was no tax imposed. I don’t know the actual price but there was a discount.” – Mohd Amar to Malaysiakini.
Well, now that we’re pointing out the actual price of the car, the Kelantan govt might have roughly paid this much to get those cars:
14 units x RM699,888 x 50% = RM4,899,216.00
In comparison to the Perdana cars, the Kelantan state govt would need RM4.9 million(!) to own these cars.
RM4.9 million – RM 1.8 million = RM3.1 million
And with that RM3.1 million, the Kelantan state govt can actually buy… an extra 28 units of Proton Perdana! But that’s not all.
The cost to service Mercedes cars is EIGHT times more than Proton Perdana cars
Besides claiming that Mercedes cars are cheaper to get compared to Proton Perdana cars (nah, we kinda debunked that already), Mohd Amar also mentioned that the luxury car is safer to drive and cheaper to maintain as compared to Proton Perdana or other cars like Toyota and Honda.
“The replacement of the official vehicles was done on the basis of safety and fiscal management, as in the reduction of maintenance costs.” – Howard Lee, the Perak exco for youth, sports and human capital development, taken from The Star.
So, that would only mean one thing: state govt officials would be responsible to send these cars to service centres whenever this happen. But how much will it cost them to do that?
Just in case you don’t know, you’d have to send your car for service once it has traveled about 19,312 km or within 12 months.
As you can see, the estimated cost to service a Proton Perdana car would be RM177.44. So, in this case, the Kelantan govt would have to allocate…
14 units x RM177.44 = RM2,484.16
And this does NOT include the cost to send the cars to service centres whenever it breaks down la. We couldn’t find statistics of how frequent Proton Perdana cars break down, at the time of writing, but if Proton Perdana cars break down as often as Mohd Amar and Howard claims, then it may cost the govt more than RM2,484 to pay for maintenance in a year.
As for the cost to service the Mercedes car, our friends at SOSCILI got in touch with Mercedes Malaysia and they were informed that the cost to service your car depends on where you buy them aka your car dealers la. So, to make the MAT-MATIK easier, they took an international estimation cost based on a website called YourMechanic:
And based on the information retrieved from the website, the average cost to service a Mercedes S450 L AMG Line would be USD287 (RM1,167). That would mean the Kelantan govt would need…
14 units x RM1,167 = RM16,338
According to both calculations, it is pretty clear that the difference in servicing both type of cars is RM13,000 (that’s roughly EIGHT times more expensive than maintaining Proton Perdana cars).
And since Mohd Amar claims that it’s safer to drive a Mercedes, the state govt may not need to send the cars for servicing as often as Proton Perdana.
However, a quick search got us to a car survey result by a non-profitable consumer group in the UK called Which?. Its survey results stated that cars that cost around £50,000 (RM266,613) apparently break downs more often than cheaper cars.
We can’t really tell how often Mercedes cars break down because CILISOS staff can’t even afford to buy Mercedes. 🙁 So, if anyone of y’all drives a Mercedes, do let us know in the comment section, okies?
Anyways, back to the Kelantan state govt story…
Actually… this is not the first time a state govt has purchased luxurious cars
As it turns out, the Kelantan govt isn’t the first to buy another car of a different brand to replace the Proton Perdana cars la. The Perak state govt did it in 2019 by buying 16 Toyota Camrys for state cabinet members and we’ve mentioned this earlier in the article.
Heck, back in 2018, the Kedah state govt bought a Volvo car for the Menteri Besar’s official use. According to the Menteri Besar, Mukhriz Mahathir, the car was bought after two old Proton Perdana cars were traded in.
“After conducting a check, we found that there were a few old vehicles registered under the Menteri Besar’s office that were not functioning, so I made the decision to trade them in for a new one. This is why it (the new Volvo car) was not too costly, even though it is a hybrid car.” – Mukhriz told Malaysiakini in 2018.
And it’s apparently legal for state govts to purchase cars to replace their current ones.
“According to the rules, we can acquire cars after five years but the lifespan of some cars has reached 10 years.” – Mohd Amar to Malay Mail.
He also added that it should not be an issue in the first place because the late (Kelantan menteri besar) Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat used Mercedes Benz too back then. But the car was said to be a gift from the Sultan Kelantan.
According to the questions posed by various parties online, the main issue here would be the source of the money used by the Kelantan govt to buy these cars. This became an important question especially after there were news that the state govt is reportedly giving out a RM50,000 special payment to 11 exco members.
And it may make sense why people are asking this question considering how the Kelantan govt has been fighting to get its oil royalty from the Federal govt. On top of that, it is still struggling to pay its civil servants. According to the Finance Minister, Lim Guan Eng, the Federal govt has just approved a RM100 million loan for Kelantan to ensure that its civil servants are paid on time.
Kelantan’s Pakatan Harapan chairperson, Husam Musa, on the other hand, questioned if the money came from the one-off aid of RM400 million that the Kelantan govt received from the Federal govt. The Kelantan govt received this aid back on 25th December 2019 to improve the socio-economy, well-being of the people in the state and strengthen the state’s finances.
At the end of the day, it may be legal for the Kelantan govt to purchase these cars. But until the state govt does something to improve the economy of the state, its decision to buy these Mercedes cars would remain questionable.