The amount that insurance companies spent on stolen vehicle claims has almost doubled over the past decade, hitting RM604mil last year.
They paid out RM603,719,506 last year, compared to RM340,387,264 in 2000. The number of claims increased from 20,145 to 37,564 in that same period.
Figures from the General Insurance Association of Malaysia showed 8,736 claims were for private cars and 27,304 for motorcycles.
According to the Vehicle Theft Reduction Council of Malaysia Bhd, the most “high-risk” foreign models were the Toyota Hilux and Honda Civic.
However, almost 50% of the cars stolen in the country were locally made, council coordinator Mohd Yusof Idris said.
“The local cars are stolen to be cannibalised for its parts,” he said, adding that greater control over the country's supply chain of car spare parts could help authorities nab the thieves.
Mohd Yusof said greater coordination among the related authorities and industry players was crucial to curb vehicle thefts.
“We need more cooperation among Puspakom (the vehicle inspection authority), police, insurance companies, the port authorities and others,” he said, adding that there should be more sharing of information.
The council is responsible for identifying and coordinating the activities of all sectors involved in curbing vehicle thefts. Its members comprise representatives of the police, Transport Ministry, Road Transport Department, Customs, Bank Negara and the insurance industry.
“We need to look into the loopholes in the system (of checking vehicle thefts) and this can only be done with the cooperation of all the related authorities,” Mohd Yusof said.
He added that more vigorous checks, aided by equipment such as X-ray machines, should be conducted at the country's exit points.