KUALA LUMPUR, May 27 — The Singapore authorities are investigating the recent incident of a BMW car driver switching his Singapore licence plate to another registered plate under a Hyundai car before being caught speeding in Malaysia, a report said.
Singapore’s Land Transport Authority said the Hyundai car’s owner had lodged a complaint with the authority, which said it had initiated a probe on the May 18 incident that took place in Johor near the Tuas checkpoint at the Malaysia-Singapore border, Singapore daily The Straits Times (ST) reported.
ST noted that it is illegal in both Singapore and Malaysia for a car to use a number car plate that is different from the one under which it was registered.
The paper said in the May 18 incident at around 7.30am, a male driver was seen switching his BMW 320i’s licence plate of SLX27E to the SKD2777C licence plate which was later found to be registered to a Hyundai Elantra.
The switch took place while the BMW car was being refuelled at a petrol station in Gelang Patah, Johor. The vehicle was caught speeding one hour later on a highway but with the summons of RM150 made out under the Hyundai car’s licence plate.
An eyewitness told ST that there were many Singapore-registered cars at the Johor petrol station that morning, and that many of those present were shocked to see the driver openly changing his car’s licence plate.
“The (BMW) driver was so arrogant and a very bad example for Singaporeans. What if he had got into an accident in Malaysia and someone had been injured or killed?” the eyewitness was quoted saying by the ST, adding that the driver’s insurer could also contest the claims.
The same eyewitness, who took a photo of the BMW using the Hyundai’s licence plate while on Malaysia’s North-South Expressway, said others might start copying the BMW driver and switch to a different licence plate while driving in Malaysia if nothing is done.
According to ST, a Singapore driver had also recorded a video clip of the BMW driver as he was switching the car licence plates and posted screengrabs, with the latter shared by the SG Road Vigilantes’ Facebook page in a post of the same incident.
ST said online users found two unpaid speeding summonses under the Hyundai car plate on Malaysia’s e-payment portal — last July and on May 18, but noted that the summonses could no longer be seen on the site as of May 20.
The paper said the BMW was sighted going back to Singapore on May 18 with its actual licence plate.
Johor police deputy chief Datuk Mohd Kamaruddin Md Din reportedly told ST that there have so far been no cases of Singaporean drivers switching their licence plates, but said police would not hesitate to take stern action if the alleged “irresponsible act” on May 18 was true.
The offence under Malaysia’s Road Transport Act of having a car with a licence plate that it is not registered under will result in a maximum fine of RM5,000 and maximum one-year jail term and with the possible seizure of the car, ST said.
As for Singapore’s laws, using a forged licence plate results in a maximum fine of S$5,000 and/or a maximum jail term of one year, ST said.