Travelling from Singapore to Malaysia: How to Prevent Car Theft in Malaysia

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Imagine going on a road trip to one of your favourite, affordable holiday destinations, but safety concerns for your vehicle make it difficult for you to immerse yourself in the experience fully.

Malaysia is a popular holiday destination for Singaporeans but unfortunately, this also makes it a popular spot for car thieves.

Not to worry though. We’ll tell you how you can wise up and have a worry-free vacation.

In this article, you will:

  • See why Malaysia is a popular holiday destination
  • Identify five top tips to prevent car theft in Malaysia
  • Learn about common car theft methods in Malaysia
  • Get relevant statistics and answers to popular questions
  • Discover how Cartrack can give you peace of mind when travelling

Why Malaysia is a popular holiday destination for Singaporeans

Malaysia is a beautiful country that offers visitors many tourist attractions and experiences. For Singaporeans, several benefits make Malaysia the ideal holiday destination:

  • Distance

    Singapore and Malaysia are neighbouring countries, making it a convenient holiday spot for residents who want to get away from home and enjoy a nearby tourist destination. While some holiday-makers book flights to Changi Airport, many choose to travel by car. Ultimately, it’s an attractive destination for residents of Singapore seeking a quick escape.
  • Weather

    Sharing a tropical climate similar to Singapore, Malaysia offers a sunshine-soaked dry season from May to September, making it ideal for all outdoor and beach activities. If hot weather is not your thing, there are also areas in Malaysia with a cooler climate, like Cameron Highlands and Mount Kinabalu. Here, Singaporeans can escape the hot weather and explore a different scenic landscape — so it’s a destination with something for everyone.
  • Currency conversion

    Residents of Singapore find holidays in Malaysia more affordable due to the favourable exchange rate between the Singapore Dollar (SGD) and the Malaysian Ringgit (MYR). The MYR is considered one of the cheapest currencies in the region, allowing a pleasant, culture-rich experience without having to fork out too much for a holiday experience.
  • Sightseeing

    Malaysia's diverse landscape makes it a popular sightseeing destination for Singaporeans. With stunning natural attractions like the Perhentian Islands, famous for their coral reefs and Langkawi Island, with its modern architecture and scenic views, Malaysia offers stunning landscapes. There’s a lot to see and enjoy, from beaches and rainforests to majestic mountain regions.
  • Cultural familiarity

    Singapore and Malaysia have a shared history and language, giving these neighbouring countries a sense of cultural familiarity. Singapore was once part of Malaysia. Nevertheless, Singaporeans and Malaysians still share many cultural ties, they even speak very similar versions of Malay, making communication a breeze with no real need for travel dictionaries or translating apps.


Why Malaysia is also a popular destination for car thieves

The fact that Singapore and Malaysia have very different economic climates does play a role in why Singaporean tourists may be targeted when travelling to Malaysia by car.

Singapore and Malaysia exhibit significant economic differences. Singapore boasts a much higher GDP per capita than Malaysia, with Singapore's GDP per capita being more than 50% higher than Malaysia's. This means that the average tourist or holidaygoer from Singapore will likely be more affluent, driving newer, more expensive cars that car thieves find particularly attractive. 

Levelling up on vehicle tracking and recovery technology can help keep your family and car safe while on holiday by giving you the peace of mind you need to enjoy your stay. 

Common Malaysian car theft methods

As car theft is not a new invention, methods and techniques have evolved over time. Here are some of the most popular car theft techniques.


Hotwiring is like jumpstarting your car with wires instead of a key. It’s a popular method criminals use to steal cars, but it’s not as effective on all makes and models. For example, older cars are easier targets, while newer models tend to have theft stoppers that prevent hotwiring, making it a no-go for car thieves. On top of that, messing with a car’s wires can be dangerous, so it’s not really one of the most popular ways to steal cars anymore.


Carjacking is a terrifying theft where criminals steal your car while you're in it, often using threats or violence. They target anyone from lone drivers to families, striking in quiet areas like driveways or even busy spots like shopping centres. They might use sneaky tricks like pretending to be cops or forcing you to stop with fake obstacles. This is a serious crime that can leave victims physically hurt and emotionally scarred. Unlike stealing an empty car, carjacking is a violent confrontation, making it a major safety concern.

Fraudulent tactics

Car theft in Malaysia has evolved beyond traditional methods like hotwiring. Thieves also use fraudulent tactics like sub-leasing scams and title fraud to steal cars.

Vehicle sub-leasing scams: These scams involve car thieves attempting to exploit sub-leasing agreement loopholes and getting their hands on profits that should’ve gone to the lessor. While the criminal is not physically stealing the vehicle, they profit from it by exploiting the agreement. 

Title fraud: may not be the most likely way a tourist’s car would be targeted in Malaysia, but it remains a concerning way criminals gain control of other people’s vehicles in the country. Title fraud involves practices like “washing,” which refers to forging documents or concealing a vehicle’s history, allowing them to rent or sell stolen cars undetected.

These are examples of more complex car theft schemes that keep on challenging Malaysian law enforcement and, although holidaygoers are less likely to experience this type of vehicle theft, being aware of all possibilities is crucial.

Key cloning

Key cloning enables thieves to steal your car without causing any visible damage. Creating a duplicate of the original car key, it’s as simple as getting in and switching on the ignition, making getting unauthorised access a breeze.

Key cloning is more popular among specific vehicle makes and models, and these makes include some Toyota models like the Corolla as well as Isuzu pickup trucks. 

To combat this growing threat, enhanced security measures are crucial.  Car owners should consider additional security systems and remain vigilant to safeguard their vehicles.

When it comes to car theft, thieves use fraudulent, technologically advanced and older, tried-and-trusted methods to steal cars. While their method may depend on the year, make, and model of your vehicle, being aware of the most popular car-theft tactics along with Cartrack’s advanced stolen vehicle recovery services helps keep you one step ahead.

5 Top tips to prevent car theft in Malaysia

While state-of-the-art anti-theft and vehicle recovery tech is the way to go, there are some older, tried and trusted ways you can help prevent car theft while holidaying in Malaysia.

1. Immobiliser

An immobiliser prevents a car from starting without the correct key or key fob, which is a viable way to stop vehicle thieves in their tracks or deter them from making any further attempts to steal your car. In Malaysia, immobilisers are highly recommended as an effective protective layer to prevent car theft, and using one can potentially lead to insurance premium discounts.

2. Use a steering wheel lock

In Malaysia, a steering wheel lock offers a practical and cost-effective way to physically deter potential thieves. These devices typically have a bar that attaches to the steering wheel and extends to the doorframe or floor. This makes wheel rotation impossible, making the vehicle unusable and unattractive to car thieves. While this is not a foolproof theft prevention measure, steering wheel locks significantly increase the time and effort required to steal a car.

However, when combined with technological solutions like a car alarm or a tracker, it can add a physical barrier that can become an invaluable layer of protection.

3. GPS trackers

In the fight against car theft, GPS trackers offer a valuable tool for Malaysian businesses and individuals. These devices usually provide real-time location information, allowing owners to monitor their car’s location and detect suspicious movement.

With the power of real-time monitoring and advanced security features, GPS tracking technology is an advanced and trusted way to deter thieves and keep your car safe in Malaysia.

4. Lock doors and keep windows closed

While this may not be as obvious or something you’d think of every time you get into or out of your car, locking windows and car doors is a crucial step in preventing car theft, and it’s important to remember this when you’re taking a vacation in a country with a higher vehicle theft rate. By securing all the car’s entry points, you’re deterring potential thieves and making unauthorised access much more difficult.

5. Strategic parking

Strategic parking practices can significantly deter criminals. Prioritise well-lit, busy areas with high visibility, avoiding secluded spots known for past thefts. For added security, turn your wheels towards the curb, particularly with rear-wheel drive vehicles, to hinder towing attempts. Remember, valuables are best kept out of sight and secured in the trunk. Consider using steering wheel locks and never leave spare keys inside the car. These combined measures can significantly reduce the risk of car theft in Malaysia.

Make no mistake: While some of these options are not examples of the latest tech, they remain smart ways of providing a layer of deterrence that will make car thieves think twice before potentially ruining your vacation.


Stay up to date with relevant car theft stats

Whether it’s across the border or across the Atlantic, it’s beneficial to familiarise yourself with the socio-economic environment of the country you’re travelling to. In Malaysia, car theft is a very real risk for holiday-goers. Here are some helpful statistics to help you familiarise yourself with car theft-related conditions and targeted makes and models.

Here are some statistics on car theft in Malaysia since 2020:

  • Motorcycles accounted for 54% of the stolen vehicles, while private cars accounted for 40%, and commercial vehicles accounted for 6% of the total
  • The Proton Wira was the most stolen model in 2020, with 353 units reported stolen
  • The Proton Iswara was the second-most stolen vehicle model in 2020, followed by the Toyota Hilux, Perodua Myvi, Perodua Kancil, Proton Saga, Proton Waja, Honda Civic, Honda City, and Toyota Vellfire.

While motorbikes are a popular target for vehicle theft, personal cars do not trail far behind and remains a very real concern for anyone travelling to Malaysia by car.

5 Car theft hotspots in Malaysia

Apart from car theft being prevalent in Malaysia, there are also statistics indicating car theft hotspots. The following rankings are based on numbers recorded from 2013 to 2016 that clearly show locations with increased car theft activity:

  • Selangor: Recorded the highest vehicle theft cases in Malaysia with 659,984 cases, making it the top location for car theft.
  • Johor: Ranked second highest in vehicle theft with 32,197 cases reported
  • Kuala Lumpur: Reported 30,157 cases of vehicle theft, placing it third on the list of locations with high car theft rates
  • Kedah: Recorded 16,125 cases of vehicle theft, making it another significant location for car theft incidents in Malaysia
  • Sarawak: Ranked fifth with 15,242 cases, Sarawak takes a solid fifth place.

These hotspots show just how crucial it is for you to be aware of high-risk locations and to ensure you have advanced vehicle protection and recovery services working with you.

Experience total holiday freedom with Cartrack’s industry-leading vehicle safety technology

  1. GPS tracking

    Always know where your car is with real-time tracking, making sure you and your loved ones safely reach your destinations, no matter where you decide to go. Cartrack’s vehicle tracking also offers comprehensive trip reports dating back up to five years, so you have extended data showing the location and movement of your car.
  2. Stolen Vehicle Recovery

    With an over 90% vehicle recovery rate, you can travel stress-free knowing your vehicle is protected—even if you cross the border. Working with local police in Singapore, Malaysia, and Thailand, Cartrack offers real-time tracking that includes cross-border vehicle security and recovery services.
  3. CarWatch

    Have the peace of mind that you’ll know when your car moves, even if you don’t have eyes on it. By activating CarWatch every time you park, you’ll receive an alert and be contacted immediately if your car moves without your knowledge.

Protect your vehicle with Cartrack no matter where you go

Make vehicle theft one less worry when you go on holiday: contact Cartrack today for complete peace of mind.

The top 4 questions people travelling to Malaysia are asking

Still have questions? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. 

  • How can I keep my car safe in Malaysia?

    To keep your car safe in Malaysia, follow these tips:1. Always lock your car doors and windows when parked.

    1. Always lock your car doors and windows when parked.
    2. Park in well-lit and secure areas.
    3. Use additional security measures such as steering wheel locks or alarms.
    4. Install a GPS tracking device to locate your car if it's stolen.
    5. Be aware of your surroundings and avoid leaving valuables in plain sight.
    6. Consider using a car cover to protect your vehicle from theft and vandalism.
  • How can I prevent my car from being stolen?

    While it’s impossible to completely prevent car theft, some advanced technologies and tools are available that help you safeguard your car and enable potential recovery in the unlikely event of it being stolen.
  • Does car insurance cover car theft in Malaysia?

    Yes, car insurance in Malaysia can cover car theft under specific conditions. These conditions will mostly depend on the stipulations in your insurance agreement. In the event that your car is stolen, it’s important to contact your insurance company and report the incident to the police. If you have insurance, you can start the claim process from there.
  • Is VEP required to enter Malaysia in 2023?

    Yes. All Singapore-registered vehicles must have VEP or vehicle entry permits to legally enter Malaysia. VEPs are meant to tackle car theft and cloning syndicates and prevent vehicles from leaving the country without settling outstanding fines. If you need one, you can simply apply online

Contact us today to enhance vehicle security so you can focus on making memories

Planning a trip to Malaysia? Discover tips to safeguard your car from theft in this essential guide for Singaporean travelers.