Three motorists recently had their vehicles seized by Squad 42 of the Terengganu police’s traffic investigation and enforcement department (JSPT) for using number plates that did not follow specifications – commonly referred to as fancy plates.

According to the department, two of the vehicles seized were MPVs, with one having the registration plate ‘MIRA’ – and driven by a 36-year-old from Kuala Terengganu. Meanwhile, one MPV driven by a 34-year-old from the same district had the registration plate ‘DINA’. Both were caught by Terengganu police personnel who were monitoring traffic flow near Padang Midin, Kuala Terengganu.

“Asked why they were using the registration numbers ‘MIRA’ and ‘DINA’, the two MPV owners reasoned they were excited to get the new vehicles to celebrate Syawal, so they dedicated the last five letters/numbers of their respective MPV’s registration plate to the name of their wife or someone,” the department wrote in a statement its official Facebook page.

Naturally, the department rejected this excuse and said both cases will be investigated under Section 108 (3) (b) of the Road Transport Act 1987 for displaying a registration number that closely resembles any symbol/sign/mark for the purpose of deceiving the authorities.

In another incident, a Volkswagen Golf with the registration plate ‘J3H3’ was seized in Bandar Baru Kuala Nerus. The excuse given by the 24-year-old from Setiu was that the car was purchased on the night of Aidilfitri and he could not change the registration number to meet specifications.

All three owners of the fancy plates ‘MIRA’, ‘DINA’ and ‘J3H3’, if convicted, can be fined not less than RM5,000 and not more than RM20,000 or imprisoned for a period of not less than one year and not more than five years, or both.

The issue of fancy plates isn’t new and both the police as well as the road transport department (JPJ) have issued reminders to the public not to fit plates that feature illegal stylised fonts and surfaces (such as carbon print) or merging and modifying letters/numbers to read a phrase, name or other meaning.