PETALING JAYA: No matter how odd it may sound, someone out there will fall for it.
These include investing in earthworms and fertilisers, dairy cows, swiftlet farming or birds’ nest, catfish, rolling chips for casinos and kiddy rides.
The Companies Commission of Malaysia (SSM) listed a number of illegal investment schemes, some run by syndicates, in a letter to the Consumers Association of Penang (CAP) back in 2010.
The letter was posted on CAP’s website as a caution to the public.
Back then, there was also a complaint about a leech farm but there was not much information about it.
Such illegal investment schemes have been investigated by the authorities with various action taken against the culprits, including injunctions to stop them from operating.
There were also criminal proceedings and fines slapped on these companies. SSM had also highlighted these scams through the media to warn the public.
A photo of four Malaysian “Datuks” linked to the busted Ufun scam had also been recently circulated on social media.
The men – identified only as Liew, Taniel, Bright and Warren in the picture – were believed to be on the wanted list after Thailand police busted the scam last year.
It was reported that the Ufun pyramid scheme – which involved the selling and buying of a cryptocurrency called Utoken that members could use to buy merchandise online or invest in property – was believed to have raked in hundreds of million ringgit in Thailand.
Instead of selling products, the company focused on urging members to expand their teams by offering high-value items such as cars or gold bars, said the then Thai police commissioner-general Somyot Poompanmoung in a report.
Yesterday, CAP president S.M. Mohamed Idris said authorities should come down hard on companies and individuals running dubious scams.
It was crucial, he said, for enforcement officers to conduct random inspections on newly registered companies.
“There is no way to track these companies or individuals until something happens or when someone lodges a report.
“So, the authorities must go to these offices and do spot checks or go undercover as a customer to find out their real modus operandi,” he said.
Mohamed Idris also urged the Domestic Trade, Co-Operatives and Consumerism Ministry, Bank Negara and SSM to come up with a comprehensive checklist of red flags for investors to look out for before forking out their money.
“This will be a guide for Malaysians to check whether an investment is legal or otherwise,” he added.