Here’s a quick riddle for you: Between cars and motorcycles, which do we have more of in Malaysia?
While the ratio of cars and motorcycles may differ according to state, overall cars are the most common, outnumbering motorcycles by about 300,000 (13,288,797 cars to 12,933,042 motorcycles). Despite their slightly smaller number, motorcycles get into accidents more often, with studies citing that about 68% of all road accident injuries and more than 50% of road accident deaths in Malaysia involve motorcyclists.
But why are we talking about motorcycles and cars all of a sudden? Well, Loanstreet just launched Malaysia’s first ever service to renew motorcycle insurance online (more on this later), and their press release kinda talks about this issue lah. Anyways, besides being more prone to accidents, apparently motorcycles are also getting stolen more. By how much? Well…
On average, 86 motorcycles get stolen every day in Malaysia
According to 2017 police figures, anyway. There are several types of crime that the government uses to determine how naughty Malaysians have been, and these are called index crimes. Among them, motorcycle theft has been the most committed index crime so far, and in 2017, there were 31,577 cases of stolen motorcycles reported to the police. This is a lot higher than the number of stolen cars (8,482, or about 23 a day) and other motor vehicles like trucks, vans and steamrollers, among other things (2,099).
While the volume of motorcycles being stolen differ widely between states, with Selangor being the highest (7,945) and Perlis the lowest (186), in almost all states motorcycle theft is the most common index crime. Almost all states, because in Negeri Sembilan they had more break ins and other thefts than motorcycle thefts, but still. As for how they do it, it varies. Some bike thieves work in pairs, breaking the handle lock and starting the engine using a master key, while others use Allen keys and cut the engine switch to start the bike.
“More complicated methods involve thieves pouring acid or liquid nitrogen to break the lock, using modified or duplicated keys, or hauling the vehicle away using a van or truck,” – Datuk Hasnan Hassan, Perak Police Chief Comm, to The Star.
Perhaps shockingly, motorcycle stealing syndicates can be made up of youths still in secondary school. So what happens to all those stolen motorcycles? Well, they may be resold to the public, usually at below market value. In Sibu, Sarawak, for example, a 2013 report states that most of the stolen motorcycles there were sold to oil palm plantation workers for somewhere between RM500 to RM700 per bike, while a 2017 report in Shah Alam states that stolen bikes were sold for between RM500 to RM2,000… with installment payment options available.
If they’re not sold off as cheap bikes, stolen motorcycles may be stripped for parts, which is perhaps why popular motorcycle makes like the Yamaha 125 and Honda EX5 get stolen more. So if you’re a bike owner, you might be wondering…
What can you do against all these thefts?
Unless you’re physically attached to your bike at all times, you’ll have to leave your bike alone sooner or later, opening it up to the possibility of theft. Luckily, there are many things you can try to keep your beloved bike safe. The easiest way according to the police to keep your bikes safe might be a no-brainer for some: investing in an alarm system for your bike, and putting on sturdier locks that are harder to tamper with.
Datuk Hasnan Hassan from earlier also advises motorists to be more careful and never leave the keys on their motorcycle or leave the engine running, even for a short while.
“I would advise motorists to get sturdier locks. Motorcycle owners should also invest in an anti-theft alarm system or put an identification mark on the vehicle. It is also wise to avoid parking in isolated areas with little foot traffic,” – Datuk Hasnan Hassan, Perak Police Chief Comm, to The Star.
Since certain bike thief gangs target certain motorcycle makes, covering up your bike with an unmarked motorcycle cover (can be bought at most bike shops) can make it less of a target, and a bit harder to steal discreetly. Making your motorcycle unique with marks at certain places can lower the value of the motorcycle for thieves, especially if the marks are on parts that can be stripped off and sold. Plus it helps the police identify your bike if it ever gets stolen.
If you use a chain to secure your bike, some would suggest attaching it to the frame rather than a tire, since tires can be removed. But if that’s not possible, try attaching it to the back tire, since it’s harder to remove than the front tire. Also, it helps to secure the bike to an unmovable object, like a lamp post or one of these:
There are many more things you can try, from a GPS tracking system to disengaging the clutch lever to removing a spark plug when parking, but the idea is that the more anti-theft measures you place on your bike, the less likely it is to be stolen. Despite all that…
“Even motorcycles that were adequately secured were stolen,” – Malacca CID chief Asst Comm Raja Sharom Raja Abdullah, to Star Property.
Bummer. Well, if it happens, it happens, so the next thing to consider is…
So how likely are you to recover a stolen bike?
So you didn’t pull any punches when it comes to securing your bike, but it still gets stolen anyway. What to do now? Well, Padawan District police chief Supt Aidil Bolhassan recommends notifying the nearest police station immediately, even before filing a police report. This will enable them to alert other police district offices (IPS), allowing them to take immediate action and increasing the chances of recovery.
“So before reporting your vehicle stolen, call the nearest police station to provide them the necessary details of your vehicle. Your immediate action would increase the chances for the police to find the stolen vehicles or the thieves.” – Supt Aidil Bolhassan, to the Borneo Post.
On getting it back, the circumstances vary: some get their stolen bike almost right away, others after two years, and others still won’t get their bikes back at all. And the stats gleaned from news reports aren’t looking too good. The Padawan police reported a 40% recovery rate (first quarter of 2017) for stolen vehicles, and in Malacca, based on a 2012 report, the number of solved cases are even lower, at 17%.
As we’ve written before in a previous article, the crime rate as a whole has gone down quite a bit over the years, possibly due to the police taking measures like employing stakeouts to catch bike thieves and increasing the number of available police on the streets, among other things. However, we’re not yet at a stage where motorcycle theft is not the most common crime, and judging by the recovery rates, it pays to spend some extra time securing your bike before leaving it, even if you’ll only be gone for a short while.
And we have one more stat for you….
More than 9 million motorcycles in Malaysia aren’t even insured (and some cars too)
As we mentioned earlier, Loanstreet just started offering online motorcycle insurance renewal. And part of the reason behind that is the stats they found – a significant portion of motorcycles in the country are uninsured. Since all motor vehicles are required by law to have insurance, this means that these motorcycles do not have a valid road tax as well. But how many, exactly? Based on JPJ’s 2018 statistics, out of the 29 million+ vehicles on the road, only 19 million renew their road taxes every year. Of the remaining 10 million, 95% are motorcycles, so that’s 9.5 million motorcycles on the road without road taxes, and consequently, insurance.
“We wanted to get the number of uninsured motorcyclists off the road by providing a quick and easy online insurance agency service, and we also wanted to offer a fast-online car insurance agency service which can be completed via a smartphone in just five minutes” – Jared Lim, managing director of Loanstreet.
It’s pretty easy too – all you need is a laptop or smartphone, information on your motorcycle grant and insurance cover note, and some form of online banking or credit card, or MCash, and click here (you’ll also be helping CILISOS get a small cut of each transaction yay!).
Seriously though, with these kinds of stats – and the fact that every CILISOS staff has at some point had a road accident before, oh and that it’s ILLEGAL to drive without insurance, we’d be surprised if you guys didn’t already have insurance.