JPJ Found Negligent For Inaccurate Vehicle Registration Records

In a significant ruling, the High Court has found the Malaysian Road Transport Department (JPJ) negligent for failing to maintain accurate vehicle registration records. The case was initiated by a doctor who unwittingly purchased a cloned 2013 Toyota Vellfire three years ago.

According to FMT, the doctor sued the Penang JPJ director, the JPJ director-general, and the federal government after JPJ seized her car 10 months post-purchase, claiming that the chassis and engine numbers had been tampered with.

The court has awarded Dr. Hema Thiyagu RM139,000 in damages, equivalent to the car’s purchase price, after determining that JPJ had breached its statutory obligations.

In her suit, Hema alleged that JPJ failed to explain how it did not detect tampering during her vehicle’s registration process. Her lawyer argued that JPJ was negligent in permitting the registration of the car’s chassis and engine numbers under a different vehicle.

Justice Anand Ponnudurai, in his judgment, stated that the JPJ director-general is responsible for maintaining an accurate vehicle register, particularly for cloned cars. He noted that JPJ should have promptly seized the vehicle upon discovering it was cloned.

He further pointed out that JPJ had evidence suggesting the Vellfire might be cloned as early as December 6, 2019, but took no action. Consequently, he found the Penang JPJ director and the JPJ director-general to have breached their statutory duties.

As a result, Dr. Hema was awarded RM139,000 in damages and RM10,000 in costs, to be paid by the federal government.

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