With the high cost of living today, promises of quick returns can easily persuade an individual to participate in various investment schemes, including scams. Malaysian Academic Association Congress President Prof Datuk Dr Mohd Idrus Mohd Masirin said the desire to lead a lavish lifestyle normally compels individuals to make frequent withdrawals from the Employees Provident Fund (EPF).
"Most are convinced by verbal guarantees that the investment would succeed, and in the event that it does not, the capital would be returned.
"In fact, the lack of knowledge regarding the risks involved also contribute towards them making bad choices," he said. He said investments made without proper research would only cause disappointment and frustration to EPF contributors who withdraw their money for the purpose. Prof Mohd Idrus suggested that EPF create a guideline for contributors to identify legitimate investments.
"For example, the amount of money which can be withdrawn can be controlled by EPF based on the type of investment the contributor wishes to make.
"Let's say one wants to invest in ASB, he or she may withdraw a considerable amount.
However, if it is to buy shares, the EPF can control the amount to prevent contributors from losing big money, and if the investment looks dubious, then the EPF may request for confirmation from the relevant party before allowing the withdrawal," he said. Prof Mohd Idrus said in general, people were becoming wiser in terms of investing their money, but they sometimes could lose control when they hear of promises of double returns over a short period of time.
"Therefore, people should always be reminded about fraudulent investments.
"I think the initiative to raise awareness among Malaysians on choosing the right type of investment should be included in investment programmes," he said.