As Malaysians lose billions of ringgit to online scams, Guan Eng says IGP to lead special task force in war against fraudsters

KUALA LUMPUR, June 4 — DAP chairman Lim Guan Eng today proposed that Inspector General of Police Tan Sri Razarudin Husain should take the lead in Malaysia’s war against online fraud, which has left Malaysians bleeding financially in recent years.

He suggested that the IGP should head a special task force to combat online scams.

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“Despite police efforts to prevent scams, action against scammers has proven ineffective, with losses due to scams rising from RM700 million in 2021 to RM1.3 billion from 30,000 cases of online fraud last year.

“The IGP should personally lead a special task force against scammers who have caused huge losses to individual victims of over RM1.3 billion in 2023.

“Only the IGP’s personal and direct involvement can prevent more innocent Malaysians from falling victim to these heartless scammers,” Lim said in a statement.

The former finance minister has also urged the government to hold banks accountable for the negligence or be indifferent to these fraud schemes.

“The government should also make banks that are negligent or indifferent to fraudulent schemes of scammers also share the responsibility for the losses suffered by scam victims,” he said.

The Bagan MP also said there should be a “shared responsibility framework” that would distribute responsibility for scam losses among financial institutions, telecommunications companies and consumers. ‘Under the plan, financial institutions and telecom companies would provide payouts to scam victims for a specified range of scams, in cases where specific anti-scam duties are breached.

“I raised this idea with the Deputy Minister of the Prime Minister’s Department (Law and Institutional Reform) M. Kulasegaran, who indicated that the necessary amendments could be tabled during the upcoming parliamentary session in June-July 2024,” he said. following news reports of national mixed doubles shuttler Lai Pei Jing losing her lifelong savings as a result of an investment scam that police say uses an application known as Dobevil, which supposedly allows participants to earn a commission.

The police are investigating the case under Article 420 of the Criminal Code for cheating.

In a separate statement, MCA vice-president Datuk Seri Wee Jeck Seng called on government agencies to intensify their coordination against scammers.

Wee pointed to Lai’s case and that of Communications Minister Fahmi Fadzil’s mother, who was cheated out of RM75,000 in 15 minutes through her Tabung Haji account, as examples of how frequent and dangerous online scams have become.

“MCA calls on the authorities to strengthen measures to combat these fraudulent activities.

“This includes stricter regulations, improved oversight and more robust cybersecurity protocols to protect our citizens from such devious schemes.

“We hope that the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission, which falls under Fahmi’s portfolio as Communications Minister, will declare an all-out war against online fraudsters,” Wee said.

He added that MCMC should work with Bukit Aman, which is overseen by Home Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution, to tackle these cyber cheaters.

“Immediately close all known fake online social media accounts or web pages as soon as reports are filed with the police or MCMC, identify the location of the scammers and share such information with their foreign counterparts where necessary,” he said.

MCA also called for stronger collaboration between financial institutions, law enforcement agencies and government to develop comprehensive strategies that can effectively counter and prevent these frauds.

“A coordinated effort is essential to ensure the safety of our citizens’ hard-earned money.

“The National Scam Response Center (NSRC) must prepare to further strengthen Malaysia’s defenses against financial fraud and scams,” Wee said.