KUALA LUMPUR: They were looking to renovate their dream homes but were instead left high and dry with damages and losses amounting to over RM100,000.
This is the grim reality faced by five homeowners in Rawang who found themselves duped by a contractor who disappeared after receiving a total of RM127,800 from them.
Revealing this, MCA Public Services and Complaints Department head Datuk Seri Michael Chong said the contractor, who is believed to be bogus, used the same modus operandi to trick all five victims.
He said the victims were first taken in by the multiple banners hung along roadsides and houses promoting the contractor’s firm (Universal Miracle Works) as they visited their homes near Kundang Jaya in Rawang.
After rousing their interest, Chong said the victims contacted the person in charge, a man named Hugo Sia Aik Leong, who took them on a tour of renovated homes supposedly handled by the firm. The impressed five then agreed to let his firm renovate their homes.
“After giving them a quote, the man told each of the five to make 40% upfront payment which he said was required to get the renovation permit from the local council. The money was also supposed to be used to pay for some initial building material.
“After receiving the money, however, some of the construction never took place while others were left partially done, with work abandoned after some walls were torn down,” Chong told a press conference at Wisma MCA yesterday.
He said the foreign workers involved told the victims that they were also not paid their dues.
The five said Sia could not be contacted since Friday.
One of the victims, who identified himself as Vincent, revealed that he had paid over RM17,800.
“It was only after my kitchen and bathroom walls were torn down that the workers started demanding I pay them a salary and to buy materials to finish the renovation.
“When I tried to contact Sia afterwards, he first told me that he was ill and hospitalised in Hospital Serdang.
“When I checked with the hospital, there was no such record of him,” he added.
Another victim, identified as Che Wan, said she paid RM57,600 to Sia after handing him the project in September.
“The work was about 70% complete by Dec 2, but the workers refused to continue saying the contractor had not paid them,” she said.
Two others, named Zahirah and Yap, also lost RM18,000 and RM13,000 respectively to Sia.
All five victims have lodged police reports against Sia with many other victims also doing the same, according to Chong.
“We believe there are many more victims in this case and we want to reach out to all of them to make their police reports as soon as possible,” he added.