‘No irregular bidding activity' for motorcycle COEs

The authorities have not observed any "irregular bidding activity or market manipulation" for motorcycle certificates of entitlement (COEs), said Senior Minister of State for Transport Lam Pin Min in Parliament yesterday.

He was responding to Ms Lee Bee Wah (Nee Soon GRC), who had asked about some 400 bids that came in just before the tender closed on Aug 8, as well as whether there was any "market manipulation" keeping bike COE prices up.

Dr Lam told the House that making last-minute bids is a common practice, which causes a spike just before bidding closes.

The 305 bids for motorcycle COEs received in the last two minutes of the bidding on Aug 8 came from 25 different parties, he said.

The number of bids submitted were generally small and at different price points, suggesting there was no collusion, he added.

Ms Lee also asked whether the Transport Ministry would consider increasing the bid deposit, as well as shortening the validity period for temporary motorcycle COEs, which currently stands at six months.

Both suggestions would mean higher costs for dealers, said Dr Lam, which could end up being passed on to buyers.

A shorter validity period could also make it more difficult for buyers to obtain motorcycles immediately, he said.

Dr Lam also noted that motorcycle COE prices had, in fact, fallen since the beginning of the year, from $8,001 in January to $4,390 in the last round of bidding last Wednesday.

"While we have not observed any irregular bidding activity or market manipulation, LTA will continue to monitor the situation closely," he said, adding that the authorities are prepared to review the COE regulations "if and when warranted".