PETALING JAYA: The con has just got bigger – first it was fake certificates and dubious degrees. Now it is fake membership of a highly regulated professional body.
Sunday Star previously reported on education agents who guaranteed spots in courses that were difficult to get into – for a fee.
Now an unqualified Malaysian has scammed his way into a highly-regulated professional body – the Malaysian Pharmaceutical Society (MPS).
Two victims of a self-proclaimed ‘Datuk Seri Dr’ told Sunday Star that an MPS “life member”, who also claimed to be a medical doctor, had cheated them into buying expensive products that did not work.
“We checked with an MPS officer who immediately confirmed his membership on the phone without even checking.
“It was only after we were conned that we discovered he wasn’t even a registered pharmacist.
“How did a non-pharmacy graduate become a high ranking member of a professional association? What if we had died from consuming the products he sold us?” asked the duo, who declined to be named.
Health director-general and Malaysian Medical Council president Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said an all-encompassing Pharmacy Bill was in the pipeline.
It will replace and combine the Registration of Pharmacists Act 1951, Poisons Act 1952, Sale of Drugs Act 1952, and Medicines (Advertisement and Sale) Act 1956, and will be more effective in tackling public complaints that involve medicinal products.
Confirming the case, MPS president Datuk Nancy Ho said she was alerted of the fraudster late last year.
“We came to know about the individual after coming across a write-up about him online and through a complaint received.
“We immediately checked his status with the Pharmacy Board, which confirmed he wasn’t registered,” she said.
She said the matter was discussed at a subsequent MPS meeting and its legal adviser was consulted.
“The individual was asked to voluntarily delete the claim on his website,” she added.
She said a closely monitored system to screen and verify the details of every applicant had been put in place since the incident.
Now, before a membership application is tabled for approval, it will go through strict scrutiny.
“All registered pharmacists are listed on the Health Ministry website (but) we will do everything possible to prevent such incidents from recurring,” she said, assuring the public that the MPS would strive to be more vigilant.