Johor affordable home scam suspect identified

Ben Tan
Johor Housing and Rural Development Committee chairman Dzulkefly Ahmad holding up the purported letter offering affordable homes to unsuspecting victims during a media conference in Johor Baru July 12, 2018. — Pictures by Ben Tan

JOHOR BARU, July 12 — Police have identified the individual involved in the Johor state affordable housing (RMMJ) scam, and suspects that more people may have been cheated.

Investigators have the details of the male suspect, believed to be in his 30s, who is a staff of a residential township developer. However, he has been suspended from his job.

A source familiar with the case said the scam was believed to be widespread in Johor Baru, where the suspect will approach potential victims who were keen on the affordable homes programme for the Bumiputera quota.

“The suspect, who understands the local residential market due to his job with a developer, acts in a very professional manner and has also managed to convince several people, including civil servants, who are keen to buy or own a house.

“His modus operandi is to meet his potential victims at the residential area in the Bandar Datuk Onn area for them to view the homes in a convincing manner,” said the source to Malay Mail today.

The source added that potential victims were also given a choice of homes such as entry-level single-storey to double-storey linked homes as a choice where the “booking fee” will still be capped at RM5,000.

“Most of the deals by the suspect were done early this year prior to the general election in May. However, some potential victims backed out of the deal as they found it doubtful due to the affordable home status quota for the needy,” said the source, adding that he believed many of the victims have yet to lodge police reports.

It was learnt that police have tried to locate the individual upon their investigations at his home as well as workplace in Taman Setia Tropika, Kempas here to no avail.

Seri Alam police chief Superintendent Jokhiri Abd Aziz said efforts are being made to track down the suspect following the report lodged by a victim here late last month.

“Checks revealed that the suspect was suspended from his job and we have classified the case under Section 420 of the Penal Code for cheating,” he said when contacted today.

Earlier today, Johor Housing and Rural Development Committee chairman Dzulkefly Ahmad revealed that the state government discovered nine cases of a state affordable housing (RMMJ) scam involving fake letters, where low income earners have been duped into parting with thousands of ringgit.

However, only one police report out of the nine cases was lodged by a state government officer, after the complainant approached the state government’s housing unit for confirmation on her booking.

The scam, using fake state government letters, was discovered by the state secretary’s office following a complaint lodged by the unsuspecting victim in June.

The fake document in the person’s possession was a letter while the original one issued by the state government is a certificate.

Checks on the fake document also showed that the format is different, while the file reference number is wrong as the land lot had already been awarded to someone else.

Meanwhile, Johor police chief Datuk Mohd Khalil Kader Mohd urged other victims of the alleged scam to lodge police reports to facilitate investigations.

He said the state government can also lodge police reports pertaining to the cases that they have detected.