Crackdown on MLM schemes

PETALING JAYA- A day after their operations were deemed illegal, two of the multi-level marketing schemes run by self-proclaimed Chinese millionaire Zhang Jian were raided by the authorities.

The crackdown yesterday involved the company headquarters in Setia­walk, Puchong, near here, and an office in George Town.

More than 10 enforcement officers from the Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Ministry raided the office in Puchong at about 11.30am yesterday and seized two motorcycles, slimming machines, laptop computers, T-shirts and other merchandise with decals featuring Zhang Jian's face.

The officers also recorded statements from the people present in the premises, including three Myanmar workers and several members of the schemes offered by the company.

Minister Datuk Seri Hasan Malek said the ministry had investigated the company and found it to have contravened the Direct Sales and Anti-Pyramid Schemes Act 1993.

"The operators are operating a business thinking only of their own profit," he added.

Under the Act, a person or company can face a maximum fine of RM10mil or five years' jail if found guilty of promoting or conducting a pyramid scheme.

Hasan also cautioned other companies offering similar schemes to stop, saying that stern action would be taken against them.

Ministry secretary-general Datuk Seri Alias Ahmad had confirmed on Monday that the schemes were illegal and the authorities would act by sealing their premises.

In George Town, enforcement personnel from two government bodies raided the company's premises in Jalan Tavoy, but left empty handed as the office was closed.

Penang Municipal Council enforcement officers were the first to arrive followed by personnel from the state Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Department.

They wanted to check if the premises had a valid licence.

Rosli Abdullah from the council's building department said they came to inspect the premises and see if the occupants had the required permits.

"Permits are needed if owners of a house want to use their premises for commercial purposes. We are here to check whether they have the valid documents," he said.