The Road Transport Department (JPJ) has revealed that 95% of cloned cars detected through operations in Malaysia were smuggled in from Singapore, with most of them being designated scrap cars having lapsed their certificate of entitlement (COE).
In Singapore, cars have a lifespan of 10 years, after which they are considered unsafe or unfit to be driven in the republic. While owners have the option to renew the COE, it can often be costly and most prefer to deregister their vehicles instead.
“When that period is reached, all vehicles have to be disposed of. What they [syndicate] do is either bring in the vehicles into the country [Malaysia] first before finding a buyer, or find a buyer beforehand,” said the director of JPJ Selangor, Nazli Md Taib, in a report by Sinar Harian.
“This syndicate certainly has a network there [Singapore]. They have people over there as well as here. If not, they are not able to bring in cars from Singapore or even Thailand. These syndicates will then take photos of the cloned cars for the purpose of finding buyers,” he added.
Nazli also explained that when the cloned cars arrive in Malaysia, they are typically parked in condominiums or paid car parks until there is a buyer. When one is secured, the syndicate will then ask the buyer to come and pick up the vehicle themselves at a designated place. “Often the customers and seller never meet. All dealings are done online because the syndicate are always cautious. They also have members with specific roles like runners and others,” Nazli said.
He stressed that those looking to buy a used car need to be vigilant and make an effort to determine where the vehicle came from, its original owner and inspect the vehicle properly. Secondly, the used car must be inspected via Puspakom to ensure the deal follows the correct procedure.
“We ourselves must go to JPJ for fingerprint verification. Buyers and sellers must provide their thumbprints. If you buy and sell a car without a thumbprint verification, it’s not legal! We need to be careful and follow the process of exchanging ownership so as not to be deceived,” Nazli said.
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