An officer with the National Registration Department officer from Putrajaya was among 19 people arrested for selling fake Malaysian citizenship documents.
The 52-year-old officer and his accomplice were charged with cheating as investigations continue on the scale of the illicit operations, reported The Star.
The officer was believed to be supplying the ring with genuine application forms to convince the buyers of the cards' authenticity, reported the New Straits Times.
Police commercial crimes unit members stumbled on the operations when they raided a hotel room in Tawau, Sabah, and arrested 16 people.
In a follow-up operation, police detained the government officer and two Malaysians from the peninsula.
Tawau police spokesman Superintendent Keong Ho Eng said that the 19 arrested consisted of nine Malaysians, eight Pakistanis, an Indonesian and a Filipino, all aged between 29 and 52.
$400 and above
The syndicate charged between RM1,000 (S$400) and RM5,000 (S$2,000) for a fake MyKad, said The Star. MyKad is an identity card that Malaysians must apply for before age 12 as proof of their citizenship.
The card is used for everything from filing taxes to applying for a job or a phone line.
Superintendent Keong said police seized 107 copies of forms used for applying for a MyKad, including fivecopies of the forms already affixed with thumbprints and photos.
He also said that four suspects were caught buying application forms.
The police also recovered five cheque books, nine copies of birth certificates, two copies of BR1M application forms, a stamp pad and RM1,000 in the hotel raid.
He said police believed the group had been operating in Lahad Datu and Tawau districts in Sabah's east coast.
He added that the potential victims had been led to believe that they were getting Malaysian identity cards legally.
"They targeted foreigners who were desperate for the IC, and who thought the secretive nature surrounding the process made it genuine," he told the New Straits Times (NST).
The public should refer any application for MyKad to the National Registration Department and not fall prey to any person offering such services, Superintendent Keong said while urging victims to come forward and lodge police reports.
Police believe the syndicate enticed foreigners by running covert operations supposedly to process applications for identity documents, reported NST.
This article was first published in The New Paper.