KUALA LUMPUR: The agreement entered by victims with a company offering an alleged vehicle leasing scam is considered illegal and void in the first place, according to Islamic Consumer Association of Malaysia (PPIM).

PPIM legal bureau chairman Datuk Hishamuddin Hashim said this was because the vehicles purchased by the buyers were subject tor the hire-purchase agreement with the bank that they took loans from.

Under the agreement, which is governed by the Hire Purchase Act 1967, the bank received the right of the vehicles’ ownership while the buyer became the hirer.

“The buyers cannot sell their vehicles to any third party under the hire purchase agreement. Maybe they leased it to the company as they were deceived and did not have the information.

“The agreement (between victims and the company) could be on leasing or sales-purchase, but it was void in the first place and non-existent,” he told a press conference at PPIM office here today.

The purported fraud came to light when several of PPIM activists and victims on Monday demanded the release of vehicles kept at the company’s storehouse in Kajang.

The group had allegedly barged into the premises where the whole incident was aired live on PPIM Facebook page.

The manager of the company had then lodged a police report, while the police investigations revealed that the group did not produce any court order to trespass the storehouse.

Police had opened investigations under Section 427 of the Penal Code for causing mischief and under Section 447 for criminal trespass.

With a void agreement, Hishamuddin said the company had in fact conducted an offence under the Penal Code for keeping the property of others by force.

“Therefore, under what capacity can the company keep the vehicles? It is not the owner or hirer. The police should then be investigating this,” he said.

He added whether PPIM had received a court order before going into the storehouse was not the prime issue as the company needs to provide proof that it had ownership over the premises.

He claimed that the land where the storehouse was built was not owned by the company, but instead taken by force from a private party.

Meanwhile, PPIM chairman Datuk Nadzim Johan said individuals who had entered into an agreement with the company were also at fault in this case as there was no provision in law allowing for such leasing.

He said those individuals would face a hard time if they decided to bring the matter to court.