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Can You Depend on Other Alternatives in Malaysia Instead of Owning a Car?

Updated 05 Aug 2021 – By Caitlyn Ng

Owning a car is something that many people take for granted, as the convenience of being able to drive from one place to another at the drop of a pin is VERY liberating. But then you’d also need to consider the serious hassle of having to battle traffic jams, face other reckless drivers, and worry about flash floods as well as the lack of safe parking spots.
We’re here to tell you that it’s not necessary to own one, and there are other alternatives available. “Don’t tell me it’s public transportation ah,” we hear you gripe. Well yes, there’s that, but we all know how unreliable they can be at times. With today’s technology, you can now travel almost as easily with just one click of the button via apps such as Grab/MyCar and SoCar!

You’re no longer limited in the number of places you want to travel to

Who else remembers that not too long ago, we only had public transportation and taxis to rely on? Not only were there lengthy waiting times (especially if it was raining), the cleanliness was questionable and more often than not, there were BAD SMELLS we had to put up with.

Plus, only certain locations were covered by public transportation; outside of popular areas, it was daylight robbery, since taxi drivers were able to overcharge you. Booo!
So when apps like Grab and MyCar rolled in, plenty of people were overjoyed. You’d only need to pay a fixed fare that’s shown on your screen and get to travel to many locations in clean, comfortable cars driven by (mostly lah) polite, courteous people.
And quite recently, a new type of service was made available in Malaysia: car-sharing platforms. One such example is SoCar. Basically, they aim to change the way people view car ownership. Have a car to drive, don’t have to worry about the numerous other costs associated with it.

Did you know: According to SoCar, 93% of Klang Valley households own a car and 90% of these vehicles are left idling most of the time?

You can now actually mix and match these apps in addition to having a car, depending on the situation or the lifestyle you lead. Read on to find out what we’re talking about!

If you have your own car…

First off, you must understand that a car is known as a ‘depreciating asset’. What this means is that any vehicle you own has a limited lifespan to be used, and its value will also lessen over time. That being said, a car at your disposal is very convenient for those who have a family, a job that requires a lot of travelling, or will keep the car for life.
So if you have one of the most preferred cars in Malaysia – abuden it’s the Myvi – here’s a very rough estimate of how much you can expect to pay on a monthly basis:
  Annual (RM) Monthly (RM)
Loan repayments for a brand new car (using an online calculator) 9,230.16 769.18
Road tax 70 5.83
Insurance 1,407.14 117.26
Parking fees 1,200 100
Regular maintenance 600 50
Toll 2,400 200
Petrol 2,640 220
Total: 17,547.30 1,462.27

As for any accidents that require repairs and saman payments… sorry lah, you’re on your own there.

Did you know: According to a report by The Straits Time, Malaysians can spend up to 53 minutes stuck in traffic and up to 25 minutes looking for parking, every single day?


If you’re using e-hailing apps…

You’d better be prepared for hikes in the fare and longer waiting times for your driver to arrive if it’s peak hours or the rainy season. Apart from those, there’s no denying the advantage of literally being chauffeured to your destination – say sayonara to all the hassles! E-hailing apps are more suited for those who work and/or live near public transportation, lead a fairly inactive life, or would just like to arrive at social gatherings relaxed and happy.
Here’s an example of what a typical price point with both Grab and MyCar will look like:

At first glance, MyCar is cheaper at only RM8 to travel from KLCC to Bangsar Village, while Grab charges RM14. In addition, you can get to KLIA and KLIA2 at a cheaper price of RM59 with MyCar, compared to Grab’s rate of RM65.
BUT! Based on our experiences with both apps, it’s not easy to get a driver to accept your booking on the MyCar app, perhaps because it offers a lower commission and no incentives for its drivers compared to Grab.
We also asked two colleagues who are active Grab users to give a rough estimate of their expenses each month. Mr V, who is single, spends on average RM700 a month to travel for work and leisure purposes. Ms S, who is married, spends on average RM200 a month for the same purposes. What sets them apart is that Ms S has a partner who drives her around as well, which is why hers is three times lower!

If you’re using car sharing platforms…

They’re similar to car renting services, albeit more straightforward. All you need to do is sign-up for an account and register your driving licence, wait for your account to be validated, and you can immediately book your vehicle of choice. Payment and unlocking of the car are all done via the app. These platforms are good for those who’d like to rent a fancy car for wedding purposes, go on a road trip, or want to impress relatives when it’s time to balik kampung.
SoCar charges a different price for weekdays and weekends (which are understandably more expensive), so it would depend on when and how long you choose to rent a car for. An example of a typical booking for only 24 hours on a weekend would look like this:

SoCar estimates that the average time per booking that a person makes on the app is eight hours, so we’re going to go with that amount for weekdays, and four hours for weekends. The cost of renting a Perodua Axia via the app is RM8.48 per hour on weekdays and RM13.67 per hour on weekends. The good news is that these prices are inclusive of petrol.

Weekdays (RM339.20) + Weekends (RM109.36) = RM448.56 a week

You’d have to fork out a whopping RM1,794.24 if you were to rent an Axia for a whole month, so better rethink that decision!

It really all boils down to what you want your lifestyle to be like

As we’ve explained, you can opt to use a mix of Grab/Mycar, SoCar and your own vehicle – you’re the one calling the shots! If you want to arrive at work on time and avoid the wrath of your boss, drive yourself. Then use e-hailing services to get to your networking events so that you can even continue to work in the backseat. Finally, if you want to arrive in a ‘new’ car during every festive season, there’s the car sharing platform to make use of.

For those who own a car, don't forget to renew your car insurance and road tax!

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