A specific agency is needed in efforts to combat and put a stop to Macau scams

THERE has been a drastic increase of Macau Scam cases in Malaysia as of late, and this points to the urgent need for the Government to form a specific agency to handle all scam-related matters in the country.

The Government must convene this particular agency with representatives from all relevant authorities to address the source of the problem. From trained professionals to psychologists, the agency’s sole purpose will be to investigate scam cases, and provide adequate awareness and education to members of the public.

After all, people are still falling prey to scams despite the high number of reports on the topic being disseminated every day. Between January and October 2020 alone, the Royal Police Malaysia (PDRM) has recorded 5,218 Macau Scam cases nationwide. From the total, 2,676 cases were solved by police and 1,420 cases were charged in court.

The victims are mostly women, involving over 3,000 cases, and most of them are over 51-years-old. What makes all this more perplexing is the fact that even highly educated members of the public have lost their entire hard-earned life savings to these tricksters.

The PDRM has always worked with various parties, including the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC), Bank Negara Malaysia, financial institutions and telecommunications companies to combat online frauds.

A cybercrime technical committee comprising PDRM and MCMC was also established in March 2019 for the same purpose.

But yet, the numbers are still as high as ever, and a reduction in the number of victims is not to be expected due to several factors, including ignorance, naivety, vulnerability and greed, said Universiti Sains Malaysia Criminologist Assoc Prof Datuk Dr P. Sundramoorthy.

With such scams being reported so often, he added, the public should be better aware and take the right preventive measures.

“But there is this problem of selective reading where people might have no interest in crime prevention articles. The level of awareness on crime prevention is lower, which is why many people still end up becoming victims of scams,” he told The Star.

Until people start taking this matter seriously, there seems to be no end to this problem. But that does not change the fact that the Government, through this proposed agency, must act urgently to protect the rakyat from falling victim to these crimes. – Mar 11, 2021


Photo credit: Astro Awani

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