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Car Bulletproofing A Costly Affair

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PETALING JAYA – The recent spate of shootings in the country, mostly fatal and believed to be carried out by hired killers, has caused jitters among Malaysians and many are looking for ways to protect themselves from harm’s way.

Most of the cases involved drivers who were shot at close range when they were inside their vehicles.

There have been 12 reported shooting cases on Malaysian roads since the beginning of the year, leaving a trail of 14 bodies.

This has given rise to an increased interest in car bulletproofing as revealed by the high number of enquiries about it but many were turned away by the high cost.

Bulletproof glass manufacturers have reported a ten-fold increase in enquiries from the public on retrofitting their cars with special armour.

SecuGlass Sdn Bhd owner Ho Chong Choai, 49, said yesterday that they received 10 to 20 calls a day enquiring about car bulletproofing following the multiple shooting cases in July.

“The very basic upgrade that covers only the windows and the car doors of one car cost around RM60,000 to RM90,000.

“However, potential customers were mostly turned away by the high cost,” he told The Star.

He said most of the business was focused on fortifying windows in banks, embassies, prisons and armoured vehicles.

STEC Laminates director James Thomas said his company, which uses a much lighter and sturdier material, has seen an increase in demand for bulletproof cars in recent months.

“But it is not for everyone as the cost can go up to RM120,000 depending on the model of the car.

“I get a lot of calls from people nowadays but my customers are mainly wealthy businessmen and VIPs,” he said.

The upgrades for a certain car – which includes inserting armoured panelling inside the frames and the doors – take up to six to eight weeks to be completed.

Thomas also said that STEC specialises in armour resistance units, which were made for smash-and-grab cases.

Thomas added that the dense material used protects the vehicle from bullets.

“The armour reduces the velocity of the bullet and thus it does not penetrate the armour.

“The material is specially developed and can stand up to three to five gunshots at a time,” said Thomas.

Bulletproof glass, which is also known as ballistic glass, is a type of strong but optically transparent material that is resistant when struck by bullets.

A typical bullet resistant glass that can withstand three shots from a 9mm semiautomatic handgun from three metres away is priced at RM2,700 per sq m.

One of the victims of the heinous crime, anti-crime watchdog, MyWatch chairman Datuk R. Sri Sanjeevan, however, survived to tell his story.

After he came out from his coma in 2013 after being shot in his car, one of his priorities was to bulletproof his car.

Three years later and still sporting surgical scars from his close shave with death, Sanjeevan said he was still driving around with regular car windows.

“They are just too expensive.

“I went around asking. But everything was over RM100,000.

“How can I afford it?” asked Sanjeevan, who was recently released after a month-long detention for alleged extortion and cri­minal intimidation.

According to the Road Transport Department and Puspakom, bulletproofing a vehicle does not require regulations or licensing. – The Star Online

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