If you happen to be one of those who bought your driving licence without sitting for the theory and practical exams, you have a month to ‘fess up and relinquish your lesen terbang.

Transport minister Anthony Loke announced that failure to comply with the order will see action being taken against holders of these illegal driving licences, the Malay Mail reports. He said that the ministry has identified 14,000 such licences issued by the Road Transport Department (JPJ) in the last two years.

“Volunteer and come forward with the lesen terbang that you bought. We have your details, and the data. Our system has all information of when, where and who, so it is not hard for us to reach you,” he said.

Loke said internal investigations by JPJ showed that the majority of the lesen terbang holders are Malaysians, but there were also foreigners who bought their Malaysian driving licences. “For foreign nationals, the highest number of purchases are Chinese nationals, followed by Japan, Singapore and Brunei,” he said.

He said as much as the JPJ officers who issued the licences have committed an offence, those who purchased them are also equally liable, but added that those who come forward will not have any action taken against them as they may be called to assist the ministry as witnesses.

Loke said that the move to clean things up has already begun with the arrest of 12 JPJ staff for suspected involvement in the issuance of illegal licences. He said the 12 consisted of a deputy director, two assistant enforcement officers, two assistant enforcement chiefs, six enforcement assistants and one administration assistant from Perlis, Perak, Negri Sembilan, Sabah and Sarawak.

“In the case of 12 who were arrested and are out on bail, they may not have been charged in court but I have instructed that they be suspended from their duties. This is to send a strong message to the others in the department that we will not tolerate such acts,” he said.

Loke said the illegal licence activity begins with ‘runners’ who promote the service on social media accounts to obtain clients. Once a deal has been struck, the ‘runner’ then deals with the JPJ officer to work on the issuance of the licence, and the client makes half of the payment amount.

He said that as soon as the process is completed, the JPJ will record it in the system and that will enable a genuine licence to be issued and the ‘runner’ will then send the licence to their client by post upon receiving the balance payment from the client, with each licence being sold for between RM2,000 and RM3,500.

As for foreign applicants, Loke said authorities have identified one JPJ branch office that was carrying out the licence conversion, and as such the ministry has now decided that all licence conversion can only be done at the state JPJ office.

“JPJ staff will process the licence applications by using the international conversion licence procedure, as though the applicant has had a driver’s licence in another country. But our checks revealed that these individuals never have visited or worked in any foreign country or have they ever had a driver’s licence of another country,” he said.

Loke said such syndicates are not only causing the government to lose its income but also bringing a negative image to the country. “Even worse is we have drivers who have not attended any driving lessons and are therefore endangering other motorists,” he said.