EQUIPPED yourself with the right knowledge to become a prudent investor and avoid falling victim to fraudulent investment schemes.
Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow gave this advice when he officiated the opening ceremony of the Securities Commission Malaysia’s (SC) initiative “Bersama InvestSmart @Penang2030” (Together InvestSmart @Penang 2030) at the Central Atrium in Queensbay Mall, Bayan Lepas.
He commended SC for organising the investor education event for the first time in Penang at the mall for three days from today till Sunday.
“With the theme of ‘Silap Labur Duit Lebur (Wrong Investment, Money Loss)’, this initiative provides the opportunity for the community to equip themselves with investment knowledge to avoid becoming victims of investment fraud schemes that are becoming more prevalent nowadays.
“There is no easy way to get a return on investment in a short period of time. Only knowledge and proactive measures can help us become a prudent investor and not get caught in investment fraud schemes.
“The SC’s efforts in combating investment fraud schemes and unlicensed investment activities, such as the Investor Alert List, blocking websites and investor education initiatives like InvestSmart are very important in protecting Malaysians from becoming victims and further helping to improve the level the economic well-being of Malaysians.
“As such, the people of Penang should seize the opportunity during these three days to gain knowledge about legitimate investment products and services in our efforts to increase income and grow wealth in order to improve our financial well-being,” Chow said during his speech.
Chow added that Penang has also produced many companies listed on Bursa Malaysia, citing the example of four of the seven Malaysian companies listed in the 2022 Forbes Asia’s Best List are companies from Penang listed on Bursa Malaysia.
He expressed hope that SC could continue to help and attract companies in Penang that have the potential to be listed on Bursa Malaysia.
Chow said to help increase Penang’s economic growth, the state needs to encourage investment from the private sector, including small, medium and micro enterprises (MSMEs).
He said Penang, as the second largest manufacturing state in the country, has a great responsibility to ensure that it continues to remain competitive and maintain its position as one of the leading destinations for quality investment in the region.
Also present at the event were state Entrepreneurial Development, Trade and Industry Committee chairman Datuk Abdul Halim Hussain, SC chairman Datuk Seri Dr Awang Adek Hussin, SC managing director Kamaruddin Hashim, several SC top management personnel and several exhibitors.
Dr Awang, a former deputy finance minister, too cautioned the public to be always vigilant and seek advice from reliable sources before making any investment decision.
He reminded the people that if an investment opportunity sounds too good to be true, then it is not true!
He said over the past two years, Malaysia has seen a significant increase in online fraud. Between 2020 and 2022, the number of complaints related to fraud has doubled (100% increase) from only 548 complaints in 2020 to 1,124 in 2022 with total losses reaching tens of millions of ringgit.
He said SC continues to take action to block and crack down on fraudulent activities.
“For example, in 2022, the SC has listed 267 names on the SC Investor Alert List, and blocked 166 websites and 224 social media accounts suspected of conducting investment fraud.
“In the first quarter of this year alone, we have added 84 entities to the Investor Alert List, and blocked 61 websites and 80 social media accounts. For me, this is a worrying level,” Dr Awang said.
He added that the choice of Penang as the host of the InvestSmart initiative was very important because of the state’s role and great contribution to the national economy.
“For example, the latest investment worth US$7 billion by Intel in the semiconductor sector in Penang is expected to create thousands of job opportunities and will further increase Malaysia’s competitiveness as a global electronics hub.
“Currently, a total of 85 companies in Penang are listed on the Malaysian Stock Exchange with a total market capitalisation of RM56.8 billion. Furthermore, another Penang company, Edelteg Holdings, will be listed on the ACE market at the end of this month.
Yesterday, SC held its ‘Navigate’ programme to raise awareness about opportunities for sustainable finance and alternative financing, especially equity crowdfunding (ECF) and peer-to-peer (P2P) financing.
For the record, Dr Awang said as of the end of 2022, more than 470 companies in Penang have used ECF and P2P platforms to generate capital amounting to RM193 million.
Chow and Abdul Halim, accompanied by Dr Awang and several top SC officials, later toured the exhibitors’ booths.
Story by K.H. Ong
Pix by Siew Chia En
Video by Alissala Thian