Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Getting checked at Puspakom

I was at Puspakom yesterday. You know, they are the ones that the federal government had sub-contracted out decades ago to inspect vehicles for their road-worthiness whenever you want to transfer or sell your vehicle's title to another party. One thing is for sure, most of the staff there thinks they are working in a government department from the way they interact with their customers. Slow. And as if we owe them a living. But the problem is, we cannot avoid them. Theirs is a monopoly. The people have no choice.

Anyhow, this is my trip to Puspakom. I needed to transfer the title of my old Proton car to my son but according to the Automobile Association of Malaysia, I would need Puspakom to inspect the car first before the Road Transport Department would process the application.

So why would I need to transfer the car to my son's name? Well, it's because the car is no longer covered by a comprehensive first party insurance; only third party insurance which is much cheaper. So I might as well transfer it into my son's name so that his NCB (no claim bonus) can start. It is a planning for the future when he is able to buy his own car.

It was a lucky thing that I went to the Puspakom in the morning because I hadn't realised that there were so many procedures to follow. For example, I couldn't even drive into the compound but had to park the car by the roadside and ask for a pass from the security post at the gate.

And the signboards weren't helpful at all. For a person who goes to this place in maybe once every 10 years, searching for the right office or staff can be very daunting. Difficult and daunting. Only solution: open your mouth and ask around.

Learnt that I would need to make a booking first but the lady at the booking desk said that all slots for the day and the next day were full. However, without skipping a breath, he said that I could seek her superior's approval if I wanted a booking at four o'clock in the afternoon. The very same afternoon.

I was puzzled. Unusual procedure. Why tell me that all inspection slots for the day were all filled already but I could still get a special dispensation from her superior? I didn't want to enquire further so I did just that. And her superior said okay, four o'clock in the afternoon. Thinking back, maybe the chap just wanted to see the genuineness of my request.

I returned to Puspakom slightly after three 'clock. Went to a back gate to wait. Again, poor directional signboards or procedures. I drove the car right into the compound and parked, whereas I should be waiting in a queue. Then at the guard house, the security staff refused to entertain us - myself and a few other people with the 4p.m. appointment - until it was really four o'clock. Even with 10 minutes to go, he was pretty adamant. But eventually, he must have realised, what the heck was five minutes on the clock.

So now I had to move my car to the right place in the queue. And I waited. And waited. Looked down at the sheet of paper before me. Needed to fill in some information. Name, address, identification number, vehicle number, even a mobile number. All duly done, and payment of RM30 made. Waited in line. And watched the queue getting shorter and shorter until it was time to drive my car into the inspection bays.

What did they check? Firstly, to confirm the engine number and the chassis number. Then they ripped off the door insulators to determine whether there were any welded parts. Casually, I asked what they were doing. Checking for kereta potong, they replied. Part of the inspection was to determine the extent of the tinted glass. No problem for my car. The tint was so unbelievably thin that it would be laughable if the car failed this test. And finally, they checked the undercarriage for welding again. Some cars had to undergo an exhaust fume test as well as a speedometer test but I was exempted. So after collecting back my documents, I finally left Puspakom at 5.30p.m. Another day gone, just like that.

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