KUALA LUMPUR: Datuk Seri Michael Chong is perplexed over why Malaysians keep falling prey to money games.
It is only midway through the year, but the MCA Public Services and Complaints Department chief has already been contacted by 10 money game victims who have lost a total of RM4.3mil to such schemes.
“One thing that saddens me is that despite all my press conferences against these schemes and telling people to be careful, many are still falling for this trap.
“I fail to understand why,” he said at a press conference at Wisma MCA yesterday.
Since last year, Chong said, he has received a total of 22 complaints, involving losses amounting to RM7.8mil.
He said these complaints were just the tip of the iceberg because many victims were reluctant to report their losses to the authorities, fearing that they would not get their money back.
Some had even withdrawn complaints made to his department, he said.
“They said the companies told them that they wouldn’t get back their money if they lodged a report with Michael Chong,” said Chong.
He said withdrawing the complaint often backfired on the victims because the money game operators would disappear without returning their money.
He said that MCA, together with the Direct Selling Association of Malaysia (DSAM) and Malaysia Crime Prevention Foundation, have met with Bank Negara to discuss steps to curb money games and pyramid schemes.
Also at the press conference was DSAM president Datuk Tan Chong Guan who said that greed was the reason why people fell for money game schemes.
“A lot of people are attracted by quick returns and the large interest rates promised,” said Tan.
He reminded the public that “there are no free lunches in this world”.
Tan pointed out that money games often lured victims by offering lucrative returns for minor investments, which is unlike legitimate direct-selling businesses which offered a commission on products sold.
“Where there is no sales but a return is promised on investment, this is a sign that it is a money game or pyramid scheme,” he added.