June 2013 – Su Ling, our stringer in Kuala Lumpur sends information today carried by the government website: May 2014 – corrections in red.
The Wilaya (Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur) is about to issue the last component of its three-letter, four-number series, with WYY 9999. It is intended to move to W 1 A 1-9999. W 1 B 1-9999 etc. It has rushed through its ‘W’ code, which only started in 1974 with WA-WY, then WAA=WYY, and it will have lasted just about 40 years….. The other Malaysian states commenced their issues on or before 1934, first with their single state code letter and 1 to 9999, then adding a one-letter A-Y suffix* to 9999, then most of them to double-suffix and to 9999. * missing such as I, O & Z.
No other Malaysian states or territories are anywhere near exhausting their current 3L4N series – indeed, Perlis has not yet issued its first three-letter plates, being still at RJ 8187 this month! (06/2013) Even little Labuan, the Bornean island, has reached LE, having only started LA a few years ago.
Malaysia was one of the first jurisdictions to use plastic for its plates and there are many snapped, splintered ones to be seen. They can be hard to photograph because of their shiny surface reflecting sunlight or flash. Anyone can make these plates and the new slim characters have slowly replaced the big, British-style ones common to Malaya until the 1970s. The blue Trade Plates are still pressed alloy in that earlier style and appear to be officially made and issued. Many heavy lorries and trailers use pressed-alloy plates, because the plastic plates are too easily breakable on rough terrain/building sites etc. The most common font is almost identical to the former South Africa design.
I don’t like ’em!
UK has adopted the plastic plate, sadly, even for diplomatic and consular series, though still trade plates are officially manufactured and allocated by the state. Military vehicles can be seen with metal plates. (Probably now made for us in China! )
The information contained in the Malaysian Govt. website noted above, confirms the suspicion noted in the 25th. March Blog that Sarawak has adopted a suffix letter. We showed this photo:
For good measure, let us finally note the simple transport employed by the wise leader of this Malaysian state. It was the central vehicle in a noisy son et lumiére cavalcade of motorcycle outriders, dark-window’ed Range Rovers full of goons and an army Landrover or two, which accompanied him to his noodle lunch one day at the pub I was staying at, near the Kuching airport.
His grandfather travelled by dugout canoe, collected shrunken heads and gave Shell a licence to explore for black gold!