The Road Transport Department (JPJ) is set to launch a crackdown on cloned car syndicates as the government is losing over RM100 million in tax revenue, The Star reports. One such method it plans to use to filter out these illegal vehicles, is through embedded smartcode radio frequency identification (RFID) tags in road tax stickers.

Director-general of JPJ, Datuk Seri Ismail Ahmad said, “the government is losing millions in tax revenue.” He added “we are looking at implementing a smartcode tag for all vehicles to prevent car cloning.” Another way to weed out vehicles include the introduction of the Vehicle Entry Permit (VEP) system, now said to be by the middle of this year. With the VEP, foreign cars that are above five years old, can be tracked down if taxes have not been paid.

Ismail said that there were still 2,000 to 3,000 cloned cars on the road. “We aim to go after them,” he declared. He said that cloned car syndicates were currently under pressure, prompting them to shift their operations about. Last year alone, a total of 506 cloned cars have been seized by the JPJ, with tax revenue losses amounting to approximately RM30 million.

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Cloned cars are usually vehicles from Singapore, but they appear as a Malaysian-registered vehicle, using identical number plates taken from a similar legitimately-registered model. Dealers of cloned cars assure buyers that the vehicles come with cloned documents and cloned road tax discs which costs somewhere between RM800 and RM1,000 depending on the model of the car in question.

The process involves changing the engine, chassis number and providing cloned road tax discs and car grants with details input into JPJ’s system. A total of 1,500 car grants had been issued without authorisation. Cloned vehicles could be sold as cheap as RM5,000 for a Honda Jazz and RM25,000 for a Toyota Vellfire.

Last May, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission arrested four suspects (two were JPJ officers in Negeri Sembilan), when it was discovered that more than 10,000 road tax discs were smuggled out of the state for the past two years.