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Swakians comprise majority of victims of property scam reported by NGO

0 month ago, 19-Sep-2023

Hishamuddin (front, third left) and his MHO team together with the victims gather at the police headquarters in Jalan Badruddin. Photo by Roystein Emmor

KUCHING (Sept 19): Almost four-fifths of victims of a major housing and property scam are Sarawakians, says Malaysia International Humanitarian Organisation (MHO) secretary-general Datuk Hishamuddin Hashim.

According to him, his team has received 80 complaints from individuals who are registered with MHO, but it is also made known that some 500 people have invested into deals offered by a company which promised high returns in the forms of dividends and real-estate assets.

Almost 400 (victims) are in Sarawak, with some in Kedah, and in Johor. The majority of the victims are people living in the rural areas.

Based on the complaints, this company offers home construction packages, as well as design and renovation services.

Such sweet deals lured many people into investing, he told reporters when met at Sarawak Police Contingent headquarters at Jalan Badruddin here yesterday, where earlier, his team represented the 80 complainants in obtaining updates on their reports.

Hishamuddin also said those who had lodged the reports felt that the response from the police had been slow.

In this regard, he said he had already conveyed the matter to Sarawak Police Commissioner Datuk Mohd Azman Ahmad Sapri.

We met the police commissioner just now to ask for the update on the investigation. Section 107(A) of the Penal Code gives the complainants the right to know the status of their reports.

The feedback from that meeting is that action has been taken, and investigation is on-going. We also have been informed that the mastermind of this scheme has been charged in Miri (there are) two charges, said Hishamuddin, adding that a complaint would also be lodged with the Companies Commission of Malaysia (SSM).

Expressing deep concern about the rising number of investment scams these days, Hishamuddin made a strong call upon the authorities to come down hard on individuals and groups behind these cases.

These scams have caused the victims to suffer big losses, including their life savings, he stressed.

Meanwhile, one of the victims met at the Sarawak police contingent headquarters said he had invested almost RM300,000 into the said company, meant for deal in which the company would build a house on his land.

I was drawn to that scheme, as it seemed to offer a reasonable cost. I thought the company was legit, judging from how professional its reps had presented themselves, said the complainant, who is from Miri.

Another victim, a 57-year-old woman from Katibas, said she lost her entire life savings amounting to RM32,000 to the scam.

I got to know about this scheme from a woman and decided to invest because the house price offered was quite affordable. I did not suspect anything as I trusted the womans image.

But later, I realised that it was a scam. At first, I was in complete denial, refusing to accept that I had been scammed. I was in under trauma for three months.

I used my life savings to invest. For rural people like me, thats a huge amount of money. Of course, I feel sad I got nothing from all of this, she said.

The MHO is a non-governmental organisation (NGO) established with the objective of protecting every person from being deprived of their human rights.