The incident I am talking about happened sometime in the early 1970s. To tell you the truth, I have nearly forgotten about it already. It is not easy to remember something that took place in our lives such a long time ago.
But since it was an important event and one that took place only once in our lifetime, I still remember it albeit very vaguely today.
I remember being in my mid 20s then and recently married. Being inexperienced in many aspect of life, I was very excited to be able to secure a 2nd hand Datsun 1200 from a finance company. I can still remember to this very day the proprietor of the finance company who sold me the apple green Datsun, Mr. Sim.
I can still recall the vehicle costing around RM6500. For your information, the car was a popular model in those days. In fact, I remember paying cash for it. In doing so, I received a receipt for it. The proprietor of the finance company informed me that the Registration Card and other insurance particulars of the vehicle would require some time to be handed to me.
As a young man and inexperienced involving things pertaining to vehicle purchased and R.I.M.V. particulars then, I believed what Mr. Sim said. Hardly 2 days after driving the Datsun 1200 around town, a frightening event befelled me. I was confronted by a group of thuggish looking men claiming to be repossessing agents.
Taking hold of a few personal belongings, I was left standing by the road side wondering in amazement what in the world was happening. As a matter of fact, and to tell you the truth, I had never envisaged such a thing ever happening in my life. After all, I did not steal the vehicle. I got it legally as far as I was concerned. It was paid in cash as I told you and I owed no money or installment for the car which I purchased.
Walking back and reaching home eventually, sweating away profusely, I immediately called my elder brother. My brother was at that time working in Kuala Lumpur. My brother was attached to a well known law firm in Kuala Lumpur, Zain and Company.
My brother advised me to lodge a police report regarding the repossession of my vehicle immediately and to keep him informed of the matter.
Upon making a police report at the local police station, surprisingly, the sergeant directed me upstairs to the commercial crime department instead. The officer, whose name I have since forgotten, seemed to be well aware of the incident.
It seems the repossesors had all the necessary papers and they have taken my vehicle legally. The repossessors had even made a police report to the police station after they had forcefully relieved me of my vehicle.
To cut the long story short, it appeared that the car selling agent, Mr. Sim, had owed another finance company outstanding installments on the Datsun 1200 vehicle which I bought.
Upon informing the officer in charge of my intention to seek legal redress, I was surprisingly advised by him to settle the matter amicably. The repossessor and finance company finally agreed to reimburse me a paltry sum of RM100 for inconvenience caused and to pay for a medical leave certificate which I had to obtain that day from a private doctor. You see, the repossession of my vehicle had resulted me not being able to go to work that day.
Upon reading an interesting article in the Star newspaper dated 28th September 2010, a new law will soon be tabled in Parliament to regulate vehicle repossession. I ws rather glad that finally such a move has been taken. In fact, it was long overdue.
Domestic Trade, Cooperative Affairs and Consumerism Ministry Minister Datuk Rohani Abdul Karim said in Miri, her ministry is presently in the process of drafting out a new law soon relating to matters pertaining to the collection of installment payments and the repossession of vehicles.
Furthermore, Datuk Rohani reiterated, the government has to step in and regulate the business as rough tactics were becoming the trend of the day. Many financial institutions use the services of third parties to collect outstanding installments and repossess vehicles.
Some third parties use scare tactics and gangster and there have been many complaints about it. Such methods cannot be allowed to continue.
The new law will in future require all third parties involved in vehicle repossession and collection of outstanding installment to be licensed. Only professional trained people governed by a code of ethics will be in future be allowed to carry out such duties. According to Datuk Rohani, the draft of the new law will be tabled at the next sitting of the Dewan Rakyat.
When asked how severe gangster tactics are being adopted currently, the Minister said there was no proper data, but based upon public complaints and feedback, she said it was believed to be quite widespread in cities and towns all across the country.
Members of the public and I are anxiously awaiting the new law on collection of installments and the repossession of vehicle by finance companies and banks. To the government and relevant ministry involved, the public appreciates the effort that you have taken.