Nicholas Lee, manager of the Penguin bookstore in Jalan Pantai, Kota Kinabalu cautioned students in educational institutions including nursing colleges like Masterskill that conmen were out to cheat them over the 1Malaysia book vouchers offered by the Malaysian government using his bookstore’s name.
Nicholas Lee said he made a police report on January 20 over unscrupulous persons claiming to represent his bookstore to collect the 1Malaysia book vouchers from students for book and stationery orders after complaints were received from educational institutions but the abuse continues.
He denied that his bookstore firm Zenithway Sdn. Bhd. had made any such offers or exchange any cash payment for the four RM50 vouchers from each student. He said his book store does not sell stationery items, only books.
When tabling Budget 2012 last year, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak announced that Form Six and tertiary students would receive the book vouchers worth RM200.
Malaysian students in public and private local institutions of higher education, matriculation and form six could collect their RM200 book vouchers starting from January 3 this year.
It was reported that unscrupulous persons are offering cash payment ranging from RM100 to RM180 for the RM200 1Malaysia book vouchers.
There were reports of ‘students’ allegedly selling their vouchers through the Internet at discounted prices on the Internet with asking prices of around RM150.
The vouchers are valid for three months from Jan 1 to March 31, and can be used at any bookstore participating in the 1Malaysia book voucher scheme.
To participate in the 1Malaysia book voucher scheme, bookstores have to open an account with Bank Simpanan Malaysia.
As Malaysian students are not restricted to use their 1Malaysia book vouchers to buy only books related to their course of study, students said the conmen claiming to be authorized representatives of bookstores offered to provide many other books and stationery items to be delivered later.
Some also offered cell phone accessories and reload cards. The conmen operate from their cars parked nearby educational institutions including UiTM and Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS).
It had been reported in the media that the Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin said students could buy books on general knowledge, fiction and other genres but the vouchers cannot be exchanged for cash.