Beware Of The Fast Ringgit
It has become fashionable in Malaysia today to be part of a certain “direct selling organisation or product promotion group”. Despite complaints and feedback on cheating by the Consumers Association of Subang And Shah Alam (CASSA) to the Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs, the matter is still unresolved.
The target audience of these advertisements are usually homemakers. They’re led to believe that they can be financially well-off and independent through their participation in several of these schemes. Well directed, edited and colourful advertisements in the form of documentaries with testimonials are played repeatedly by our television stations.
They do not check nor verify the authenticity and registration of these products and services with the relevant government agencies. Usually telephone numbers are given for further contact and there have been cases where appointments at leading hotel lobbies and clubs have been held to give the entire transaction and interaction a formal and exclusive branding!
CASSA has received complaints that through these interactions many homemakers have been enticed and lured to part with huge sums of money.
Furthermore, products or services “bought” are found to be not that exclusive or in several cases harmful to health. CASSA has also found out that several products, which include slimming tablets and other health, related products have not been certified by Malaysia’s Ministry of Health.
To be safe, it is pertinent that homemakers immediately check on the following before participating in any product, direct selling company or in the consumption of any health related product without a physician’s advice.
- Is the Direct Selling Company registered with the Registrar of Companies (ROC) Malaysia? Note the company’s registration number so you can check with the Registrar of Companies.
- The ROC enforces and administers the Companies Act 1965. Every company intending to carry on business in Malaysia must register with ROC before conducting any business activity. Check if indeed the said company has a valid and operating Direct Selling License from the Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs, Malaysia.
- You could contact the Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs – Direct Selling Division (03- 22742100) to ascertain this.
- For health related goods, services or items, contact the Ministry of Health to verify the products’ registration and health claims.
- Never part with any money nor register till you have verified the authenticity and registration claims of these organisations.
- Never test the products on yourself nor participate in its disposal or distribution chains till the legalities are confirmed.You do not want to be involved in an illegal activity. There are over 1000 groups using various methods and schemes, which includes the Internet to promote various lines of services and products.
One wonders, how many of these have valid licence to operate? If in doubt, you could purchase a copy of the Direct Sales Act 1993 from any big bookstore to verify the law pertaining to the operation of these groups and companies.
Enquiries regarding application/ direct selling activities are to be directed to the director, Domestic Trade Division, Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs, 31st Floor, Menara Dayabumi, Jalan Hishamuddin, 50623 Kuala Lumpur. Remember, be cautious in all business dealings.
Datuk Dr Jacob George is the President and Legal Adviser of the Consumers Association of Subang and Shah Alam, Selangor (CASSA), which fights for the rights and interests of all consumers in various social, human, environmental and community rights issues. A popular speaker at both national and international seminars, conferences, and television talk shows, he also holds a column at the popular USJ Subang Jaya e-Community site . His email is: firstname.lastname@example.org.