PETALING JAYA - The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission is actively pursuing the syndicates behind the cloned vehicles racket, said its deputy chief commissioner of operations Datuk Seri Mohd Shukri Abdull.
He said the commission was cooperating closely with the Road Transport Department (JPJ) after cloned vehicles were first detected here two years ago.
"We opened 34 investigation papers between 2012 and 2015 as we suspected there were elements of corruption in the cloned vehicle syndicates.
"So far, we have arrested 21 people and seized 56 cloned vehicles," he told The Star yesterday.
Those involved in or in possession of cloned vehicles can be investigated under Section 18 of the MACC Act 2009 and the Penal Code for falsifying documents.
Those convicted can be jailed for not less than 20 years and a fine.
It was reported that some 506 cloned cars were seized last year, while JPJ estimates that there are between 2,000 and 3,000 such cars still on the road.
Cloned cars are typically brought in from a nearby country and sold cheaply using forged documents.
The Malaysian Automotive Association (MAA) warned those tempted to buy cheaper cloned luxury cars that they would be running foul of the law by owning one.
MAA president Datuk Aishah Ahmad said there were inherent dangers in using cloned cars.
"If it is too good to be true, it is probably is. We advise individuals not to get hoodwinked into such deals," she told The Star yesterday.
She said owners of cloned cars would likely face difficulties in renewing their road tax and also in getting insurance coverage for their vehicles.
Aishah said MAA welcomed proposals by JPJ to implement the vehicle ownership certificate system to replace the current registration card system from April 1.
"The new system will allow car owners to check online on vehicle details. This will make it difficult for cars to be cloned," she added.