Auto Recycling World talks to Mr Cho Chee Seng, General Secretary at Malaysia Automotive Recyclers Association (MAARA), about the formation of the association and what they do to represent recyclers in Malaysia.
The Malaysian vehicle recycling industry before MAARA
Before MAARA was formed in the Malaysian vehicle recycling industry, there were no rules or regulations to monitor its environmental impact.
The Malaysian vehicle recycling industry was vibrant; most Malaysian recycled parts were sourced from Japan and the UK, usually via the Singaporean used parts traders; Singapore was a free port then; most used parts mainly covered passenger vehicles with some heavy commercial vehicles.
In Malaysia, there weren’t many legislative restrictions for the import of those used parts, except for the import duties, which were affordable to the market. Environmental legislations were relaxed, and most wastes were ‘regulated’ as industrial waste under the Solid Waste Management legislation.
During the late 70s and early 80s, with the Singapore Government imposing much stricter environmental regulations, coupled with the enterprising spirits of Malaysian traders, Malaysian buyers ventured to Japan and the UK to source those used automotive parts, taking over much of the Singaporean traders’ roles. At that time, the Malaysian used parts industry grew in leaps and bounds. And in the 80s and 90s, the cheaper Malaysian Ringgits drove a lot of foreign buyers from Singapore.
The creation of MAARA
MAARA was created in 2008 by the founder, Mr Gwee Bok Wee, with the initial aim of encouraging and enhancing business relationships between Malaysian and Japanese used parts traders and because the Malaysia National Automotive Policy was going to ban the import of used parts by 2011.
It was, and still is, the aim of MAARA to represent and protect the interests of Malaysian used parts traders and recyclers.
MAARA’s involvment with the then proposed government legislation and its outcome
MAARA spent more than RM100,000 to hire the University Utara Malaysia (UUM)‘s professor teams as consultants to conduct a research program of the automotive recycling industry in Malaysia. The survey report was submitted to the MITI in 2010, and the Government was told how much the automotive recycling industry contributes to Malaysia and how significant the impact was to the employers and employees (more than 100,000 people) if the Government was to ban the import of used parts. Finally, the Government agreed to let automotive recyclers continue their business but banned the four critical items from imports: brake linings, brake pads, tyres and batteries.
However, a year into the birth of MAARA, in 2009, under the justifications for ‘safety and environment’, the Malaysian Government announced the ban on imports of used parts effective June 2011. This created chaos and concerns among Malaysian used parts traders.
MAARA immediately took up the role of representing the used parts industry with the Government in order to defend auto recycler’s interests and ensure the survival of their businesses.
Besides having frequent roundtable talks with the Ministry of International Trade and Industry, who proposed the policy, MAARA members showed their teamwork by raising money to fund a study of the Malaysian used parts industry through the Malaysia Northern University to lobby and convince the Malaysian Government that their concerns were not justifiable.
The Malaysia Northern University’s six-month study, presented to the Government, highlighted that the leading cause of road accidents were not due to faulty used parts and components; and that the production of new parts and components consumes more energy, depletion of virgin material, create more CO2 and CFC emission compared toused imported parts. Besides these, the used parts industry contributed some RM2 billion in business transactions to Malaysia’s economy.
Based on the MAARA presentation, the Malaysian Government cancelled the policy to ban the import of used parts, much to the relief of the used part industry traders.
The role of MAARA in the Malaysian vehicle recycling community today
MAARA works closely with the Government policy maker and the international affiliated associations, including JARA, ARA, and ARC, to name a few. We update the latest Government policy and share industry news and information with our members. We also provide the business platform to members and help them expand their networking in domestic or overseas markets. We also offer help to members who face challenges within their business.
MAARA continues to play an active role in representing the Malaysian used parts industry to advocate the industry’s interests to the Government.
MAARA is constantly engaging with and being engaged by the Government in their policy reviews and formations that affect the used parts industry.
Over the years, MAARA has played an active role in assisting the Government in drafting and implementing the current driven licensing program and establishing Authorized Automotive Treatment Facilities (AATF) for processing and managing End-of-Life Vehicles.
MAARA was also part of the consultative committee in establishing the Malaysian Standards MS 2697:2018, motor vehicle aftermarket repair – Reuse, Repair, Remanufacture and Recycle (4R) of parts and components: This Malaysian standard provides requirements for 4R activities of motor vehicle parts and components. It also covers aspects relating to knowledge, process and method, materials, equipment, safety and environmental impacts.
Besides this, MAARA also participated in the Malaysian Skill Development Board in developing the National Occupational Skill Standards for ELV – Parts & Components Salvage and Vehicle Component Remanufacturing. Both training standards will assist in training technicians for the automotive parts recycling and remanufacturing segments of the used parts industry.
The current situation for vehicle recyclers in Malaysia and future developments
The government is looking at the automotive recycling industry in Malaysia now. We are encouraging the industry to follow the Malaysian Standards by practicing and enhancing their processes in order to be more environmentally friendly.
Since 2018, the Government has also been promoting the growth of the automotive parts remanufacturing industry, as well as the development of recycling the newer generation of hybrid vehicles.
With the growth and Ageing of the Malaysian motor vehicle population over the coming years and the Government’s commitment to a green economy, the future of our industry looks good. With the growing number of ELVs for processing, as well as our Government’s promotion to use ‘green parts’ through the 4Rs of Reuse, Repair, Remanufacture and Recycle, the future looks good to our members on the condition they continue to ‘learn, adapt and adopt’ green technological practices.
To find out more about MAARA, please visit www.maara.com.my