Image source: Motoring Research
The Road Transport Department (JPJ) has stated that they successfully confiscated 314 cloned cars since 2016, and the majority of them came from Singapore. According to a report posted by Sinar Harian, 95% of these cloned impostors were brought in from Singapore by syndicates with a lot of connections to pull this off.
What these syndicates are doing is taking vehicles into Malaysia that have been marked as scraps (cars with expired Certificate of Entitlement or COE) and initially planned to be disposed of. Basically, they'll find a similar car that's registered legally here in Malaysia, and duplicate its registration plate and road tax for the cloned vehicle of the same make, model, spec, and colour.
Image source: Info Roadblock Polis/JPJ
Reports have also claimed that members of the syndicate actually approach legit Malaysian car owners to work with them by providing authentic road tax obtained via JPJ (when they report theirs to be lost or damaged). The appeal of cloned cars are cheap even for high-end models, but the price can be significantly increased with this method of obtaining a real road tax.
It's a real pain in the behind for authorities to deal with these cases as all deals are made online and exchanging of vehicles are done without any physical meeting between the buyer and the 'seller'. JPJ also reported that these cloned cars are kept at condominiums or paid parking garages before they're sold off to avoid detection from the authorities.
To the general public, if the deal sounds too good to be true, and you're promised change of ownership without having to go to Puspakom or do a thumbprint verification at the JPJ, then it's definitely a cloned car. The next step is to walk away and report it to the authorities.