Twist in PPR scam: Middleman missing

Half a year has gone by, the victims are complaining of police inaction.

(Free Malaysia Today) – Victims of a housing scam in which a deputy minister is allegedly implicated are wondering why police have not taken any concrete action on a complaint they lodged last year.

The alleged fraud involved the sale of PPR (Projek Perumahan Rakyat) low-cost flats on behalf of Kuala Lumpur City Hall through an agent named M Vagindraj @ Christopher Raj Mohan. FMT broke the news last October. Forty-one people were allegedly cheated of RM357,000 in total.

There is a new twist to the case. Vagindraj, who alleged that Deputy Federal Territories and Urban Wellbeing Minister M Saravanan masterminded the scam, is apparently missing.

Two of the victims told FMT recently that police had not updated them with any significant information since they lodged their reports late last year.

“I’m scared because this is a high ranking person we’re talking about,” said Markus Yap Kuang Hui.

“But I’m coming out now because I feel bad for the 40-or-so others who have been cheated. Some of them bought the houses through me,” he said.

The 26-year-old financial adviser said he and another investor, Peter Lai, had taken several measures to attempt to recover the money the buyers lost.

He said he, Lai and two others took the case to the Consumer Tribunal, which ruled that Vagindraj’s company owed them money. “But now he’s missing, we can’t call him at all.”

‘Everything is so doubtful’

Yap said attempts to locate Vagindraj, including by using a debt collector, had been futile. His phone lines have been disconnected and he cannot be found at his home.

“His mother even told us she has disowned him,” he added. “We don’t know what to do now.”

Yap criticised the Consumer Tribunal for failing to use its enforcement powers to help the victims.

“I really wanted such a house for my two sisters,” he said. “I believed them when I committed some RM20,000. I could very well wash my hands and forget about this, but that would be fair for the others who have put in all their money. I feel responsible for them.”

He said one of the buyers was a retired nurse who passed away recently. “Her husband is quite elderly and sick, and they wanted the house for their retirement.”

Yap (photo) continued: “Not all of these buyers were investing for some future gain. There is a single mother with four children. She thought she could save money by buying a PPR unit.

“If they were rich people, they wouldn’t have bought these homes.”

Lai said that he believed that Vagindraj might have acted on his own, and that there was no direct connection to the deputy minister. “I believe Vagindraj could have taken most of the money and that’s why he doesn’t want to come out. Everything is so doubtful.”