THE “Datuk Seri Dr” said he was both a medical doctor and pharmacist, and he was a member for life in the Malaysian Pharmaceutical Society (MPS). Wouldn’t you trust him?
One man who doesn’t want to be named says the “Datuk Seri Dr” tricked him and a friend into buying thousands of ringgit worth of health products that didn’t work before they wised up.
“The naturopathic doctor claiming to be a ‘Datuk Seri Dr’ with memberships and fellowships in dubious international health-related associations was made a life member of the MPS – at just 28 years old! We trusted him because an MPS officer confirmed his membership and we lost a lot of money.”
After realising that they had been duped, the duo contacted organisations he claimed an affiliation with and the Health Ministry.
“Organisations we contacted, including those in the United States and India, either denied admitting him or had admitted him without realising that the documents and information he submitted to them were fake. After checking with the Malaysian Medical Council, one of the medical associations ended his membership because he wasn’t really a doctor.
“And he wasn’t listed in the Health Ministry’s register of pharmacists,” the victim says. To be registered, you must be academically qualified and recognised by the Pharmacy Board under the Health Ministry’s Pharmaceutical Services Division.
Angry, the victims called the MPS again, asking how an unregistered pharmacist received one of the society’s highest levels of membership.
“The MPS said it would let the membership lapse as the ‘Datuk Seri Dr’ no longer practises in Malaysia. I suppose they were hoping the issue would go away quietly. I’m dissatisfied with how the MPS handled this scammer. The lack of punitive consequences is disappointing to say the least.”
The man says more needs to be done. Their case is “probably one of thousands” in the country. As a professional association, the MPS represents and is responsible for pharmacists registered with it – it has a duty to uphold the profession’s integrity, he says.
“What if someone dies from consuming a product sold by this fake pharmacist? Legally and morally, wouldn’t the MPS be as liable as the con artist?”
Since the incident, the MPS has implemented a stricter protocol when vetting membership applications. Its president Datuk Nancy Ho assures the public that stringent measures are in place to prevent a similar incident from occurring in future. (See news story ‘Fraudulent pharmacists revealed’.)
The man who had been defrauded believes fradulent titles and qualifications go beyond this one fake pharmacist. He believes that a group of companies involved in event management and business awards are offering forged academic qualifications, including professorships, and fake royal titles to mislead the public for personal gain.
“This is what I discovered when checking on the background of that dubious ‘Datuk Seri Dr’. I fear there is a growing number of bogus professionals misrepresenting themselves in highly regulated fields. Professional associations must scrutinise every application with a fine-toothed comb.”