The Penang government has decided on March 13 to purchase 15 units of the Toyota Camry 2.5 2019 complete built-up model for use as official cars, said financial officer Sarul Bahiyah Abu.
In a statement today, Sarul said the cost is RM184,912.50 per unit, with no tax deductions.
"However, after negotiation with the seller, we managed to get a discount of RM4,990.00 for each car," Sarul said.
"The current official cars will be replaced by these new Camry as the expected maintenance cost is lower and has better safety aspects," she added.
Sarul was referring to several media reports about the purchase of 16 new official cars for the use of Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow, state executive councillors, state legislative speaker Law Choo Kiang and his deputy Dr Amar Pritpal Abdullah (PH-Sungai Bakap).
Gerakan deputy president Oh Tong Keong criticised the state government for replacing the official cars after only five years.
"When Gerakan was the state government we used the cars for 15 years before replacing them. Does it mean the Penang government will now replace the cars every five years?" he asked.
Sarul said the current official cars, also Toyota Camry, have been in use as official cars for six years and the guarantee period has expired.
The current cars need to be sent for repairs and have high maintenance cost of about RM11,030 each per year (2013 – 2018), she noted.
"Ten units of the existing Toyota Camry will be sold via tender, while five others will still be used by the state government," Sarul said.
"Fifteen of the new Camry have been sent to the Penang government on Aug 15," she added.
Sarul, however, said for Chow's official car, the state government is still waiting for a suitable model from the seller.
"The average maintenance cost for Chow's Mercedes Benz S320 has risen since 2013, averaging at RM36,169.00 per year (up to 2018)."