In their eagerness to get rich in instant, some 130 people reportedly lost RM30 million after getting involved in a cryptocurrency investment scheme over the past three years.
The victims not only lost their savings but, in some cases, had to sell off their homes and other assets, or turn to illegal money lenders, to settle debts with financial institutions.
The sad news was revealed by the Malaysian Muslim Consumers Association (PPIM), who said all of the victims had “invested” in a scheme called “Bitkingdom”.
According to PPIM chief activitist Datuk Nadzim Johan, based on the association’s records, Bitkingdom had been cheating people since 2015.
“This is a new trend in cheating… these 130 victims were the ones who have lodged complaints with PPIM. We advised them to lodge police reports but we do not have the laws to allow these conmen to be arrested as the laws we have now do not cover such schemes,” he told reporters.
Nadzim said PPIM urges Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) and CyberSecurity Malaysia to draw up laws which would tackle issues involving cryptocurrency.
“Right now, what we know is that BNM and CyberSecurity are monitoring websites involving cryptocurrency investment but there is nothing else they can do,” Nadzim said.
Meanwhile, PPIM legal bureau chairman Hishamuddin Hashim said the authorities should be “10 steps ahead” of such schemes.
“Fraudsters always come up with new ways of cheating people. (With cryptocurrency schemes), they have found a formula which negates the abilities of enforcement agencies in Malaysia as there are no laws which tackle such schemes,” the chief of PPIM legal department said.
Meanwhile, Hishamudin accused the authorities of washing their hands of the whole issue.
“This is what we do not want happening as there are consumers who are not so informed about such schemes and need the help of the authorities to advise them and to help them when they are cheated.”