GEORGE TOWN - A scientist claimed that his sister had changed after attending a course allegedly conducted by a motivational speaker in Tanjung Bungah.
Low Meng Hong, 30, said his sister Katherine, 20, referred to their family as the outer circle and the course members as the inner circle.
"I am worried about my sister. I even drove down from Kuala Lumpur to Penang to have a chat with her in April or May but I felt like I was talking to a robot.
"We had breakfast two weeks later when I came to Penang again and I advised her to apply to university to further her studies.
"She agreed but at the same time, she said that having a certificate was useless," Meng Hong told a press conference at Tanjong MP Ng Wei Aik's service centre in Anson Road here yesterday.
Another brother Meng Wei, 28, said Katherine had told him that she was introduced to the course when she was working at a restaurant in a mall in Bayan Lepas last December.
"She told me the restaurant provided her a place to stay and three meals a day. But she told other people that she worked in a boutique and other restaurants in a mall in George Town.
"I went to search for her in both malls but could not find her," said Meng Wei, who works in Singapore as an application developer.
He added that the last time he met Katherine was on the third day of Chinese New Year this year.
Their mother Teoh Kou Nai, 51, said Katherine last returned home to Nibong Tebal in June.
"We learnt that she is now staying in a house in Tanjung Bungah, near the location where the course was allegedly conducted," Teoh said.
Meanwhile, hairstylist Tan See Nee, 27, said her sister See Kie, 20, who was Katherine's schoolmate, had left home in Perak on Aug 21.
"My sister was introduced to the course in April by a male friend from Perlis, who also happened to be her schoolmate," she said.
She alleged that See Kie attended the course for about three months from April and when their mother refused to allow her to attend the course, See Kie left home in August.
"She messaged us three days later that she was safe and she called back home on Tuesday and Wednesday," she added.
Ng advised parents who had gone through similar experiences with their children to come forward and lodge police reports.
He also urged the police and state Domestic Trade, Co-operatives and Consumerism Ministry to investigate the matter.
It was reported yesterday that a group of people allegedly attending the course in Tanjung Bungah had denied being members of a cult.
They also refuted claims that they were agents of a direct selling company that had been recruiting youths into its scheme.
Thng Mei Chen, a kindergarten principal in her 30s, had said that they were merely a group of "like-minded people" who strongly believed in the philosophy and teachings of a 52-year-old corporate consultant and motivational spea-ker.
Thng said some of the group members had lodged police reports over the matter and engaged lawyers.
Katherine said she had contacted her family members and told them she was fine.
She said she was offered a place to study Mechatronics at a university in Malacca but did not take up the offer as it was not the course of her choice.