Direct selling by undergrads causing concern in varsities

  • Nation
  • Friday, 28 Oct 2005

KUALA LUMPUR: Direct selling has helped many students at local universities to earn extra income but university authorities are worried their examination performance might be affected or that the students might suffer business losses. 

According to the Bahasa Malaysia Star online, mstar, direct selling or multi-level marketing activities have become popular among undergraduates who did not want to depend solely on scholarships and pocket money from parents. 

It quoted Federation of Malaysian Consumers Associations (Fomca) adviser Datuk Hamdan Adnan as saying that although the activity was not an offence, it should not have infiltrated the universities.  

“I don't know what is wrong with the universities. They should seriously try to curb the problem,” he was quoted as saying on the news website operated by The Star which started on Oct 15. 

He proposed that undergraduates be banned from direct selling. 

Several university lecturers also thought that it was inappropriate for undergraduates to be involved in such activities. 

Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) media studies and communications faculty lecturer Assoc Prof Dr Mokhtar Muhammad said it was too risky for undergraduates to get involved in direct selling as they would be more interested in making profits without looking at various aspects such as their contract. 

Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) student affairs department counselling unit deputy registrar Najwa Ahmad Zawawi said that, last year, the university received at least five reports from undergraduates who suffered losses in their direct-selling business. 

She said UKM warned the companies and banned one company following many complaints from undergraduates. 

Maisarah Muhammad, 23 who became involved in the direct selling of health products during her final year at UiTM, said her friend introduced her to it but she stopped after she failed to make any profit.  

She said she paid an entrance fee of RM50 but eventually had to ask her mother for RM2,000 to buy the products. 

Nik Akhtarulhaq, 23, said he managed to sustain his business for just a few months. 

Luxor Network Sdn Bhd Group's chief executive officer Lee Lian Hoe said it did not target university students but also did not exclude them. 

Luxor Network is a direct-selling company of health and food products that has 120,000 active distributors, out of whom 20,000 are graduates and a small number are undergraduates at local universities. 

A CNI Enterprise (M) Sdn Bhd sales manager said the company sought distributors among students who were good in business and their studies. 

The company has 50,000 distributors aged between 18 and 24.  

About 23,000 of them are university students, particularly from UiTM, the International Islamic University and Universiti Teknologi Malaysia. 

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