CUSTOMS officers seized 497 luxury cars worth RM25mil and RM38.9mil in due taxes from January to September this year, revealed Finance Ministry parliamentary secretary Datuk Dr Hilmi Yahaya.
“The modus operandi in smuggling cars is to use a false or cloned AP (approved permit) and double invoicing in which the invoice with the lower price would be handed to Customs,” he said, adding that fake grants were also being used.
“Another method was to hide the vehicle in containers during importation and making a false declaration to evade the AP condition,” said Dr Hilmi.
“This condition has been misused by smugglers in which Brunei-registered vehicles, and especially Singapore luxury cars aged over five years, would be driven into the country under the 90-day tax exemption.
“The vehicle is then disposed off in Malaysia. Buyers are attracted to the car because the price is much lower than the real market price,” he said.
Dr Hilmi said among the steps the Customs Department is taking to stem smuggling is to classify cars as high-risk commodities and given more attention. The quality of investigations has also improved to ensure culprits are brought to book, he added.