12 RTD officers nabbed over ‘lesen terbang’

A-      A+

PUTRAJAYA ― The Transport Ministry will not tolerate corruption within its ranks, its minister Anthony Loke declared when announcing the arrest of 12 Road Transport Department (RTD) staff for suspected involvement in the issuance of “lesen terbang”.

“Lesen terbang” refers to driving licences issued to those who did not sit for the required examination.

Loke said the 12 comprised a deputy director, two assistant enforcement chiefs, two assistant enforcement officers, six enforcement assistants and an administration assistant.

The arrests were carried out in Perlis, Perak, Negri Sembilan, Sabah and Sarawak from Sept 4.

“Those who have obtained their licences without going through the proper channel have also been called to assist with investigations,” her said at a press conference here.

Loke said his ministry will extend its full cooperation to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission and police.

Elaborating on the syndicates’ modus operandi, he said it begins with “runners” who promote the service on social media accounts to secure clients.

The “runners” then deal with the RTD officers to work on the issuance of the licences after the clients have paid half the mount.

Loke said each licence is sold for between RM2,000 and RM3,500.

“The RTD staff will process the licence applications by using the international conversion licence procedure, as though the applicant has had a driver’s licence from another country,” he said.

“But our checks revealed that these individuals have never visited or worked in any foreign country or have never had a driver’s licence of another country.”

He said as soon as the process is completed, the RTD will record it into the system, which will enable a genuine licence to be issued.

The “runner” will then send the licence by post to their client after receiving the balance of the payment.

“We have identified one RTD branch office which was carrying out the licence conversion. Now, we have decided that all licence conversion can only be done at the state RTD office,” Loke said.

He said the syndicates were promoting their services openly on social media, “like they are challenging the authorities”.

The ministry has not discounted the possibility that there could be more RTD officers involved and has left the matter to the investigative bodies.

“The licences are genuine but they are not obtained via the proper channels,” Loke said.

“In the case of 12 who were arrested and are out on bail, they may not have been charged in court but I have instructed that they be suspended from their duties.

“This is to send a strong message to the others in the department that we will not tolerate such acts.”