Sunday, October 2

`Customs officers’ harassing victims for donations – MP

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A SCAM: Chong questioning the authenticity of the letter and conduct of the so-called officers.

KUCHING: A letter purportedly issued by the Malaysian Customs Marine Officers Association (PPKMM) of Selangor is in circulation here to ‘extort’ donations from its recipients.

Bandar Kuching MP Chong Chieng Jen, who was approached by one of the letter’s recipients for help, has urged the relevant authorities to verify the authenticity of the letter.

He told a press conference here yesterday that the letter demanded individuals fund the publication of PPKMM’s biannual bulletin.

“The complainant who approached me for help, via a letter, said he is concerned because he has been harassed by “PPKMM’s officers” for sponsorship to the tune of RM5,000.”

Chong said the way the letter was drafted was akin to extortion.

“They would fax you a letter concerning the bulletin, and they also write down the amount you have to donate. When you don’t respond, somebody will call your office and demand donation.

“They would also use threats by stating that they are the authority to approve or not approve whatever goods you want to import or export.”

The complainant, who requested anonymity, also told Chong that the so-called officers who had been calling him persistently claimed that they were calling from Putrajaya.

“One of the callers even told the complainant that he is a certain ‘Datuk’.”

Chong said if the letter was a scam, it was a cause for concern by members of the public.

“However, if the association exists and the letter is valid, then the government should look into the conduct of these ‘officers’ who are harassing the people and demanding money.

“In any case, it is improper for government departments or associations to solicit such funds.”

Chong added that he would make an enquiry with the state Customs Department regarding the matter.