Saturday, June 7, 2014

Fundraising Scam for MH370

Families of flight M370 passengers say that unscrupulous parties are cashing in on the tragedy of the missing jet, adding they found out that two charity dinners were held in April without their knowledge, purportedly to raise funds for them.

They have lodged a police report saying that a non-governmental organisation called Malaysia, China and Indonesia (MCI) Muslim Cultural and Econtrade organised the dinners, one in a hotel in Seremban, Negri Sembilan on April 21, and another in a five-star hotel in Seri Kembangan three days later.

They said they were not consulted, informed or had consent sought by the organisation on the events and were shocked to find out that such events were held in their honour without their knowledge.

In a police report lodged in Petaling Jaya on Thursday, a family member of a MH370 passenger said they found out about the events through an article published online.

The families claimed in the report that about 500 seats at the events were open for booking priced between RM1,500 and RM10,000 while table reservations were priced between RM2,000 and RM15,000.

They also claimed that the NGO had provided a bank account number for the public to make their donations.

In the report posted on the MH370 Families Facebook page, the families said they were not aware of such events.

“We lodged the police report to let the public know that we never received any money collected during the dinners nor were we aware of such events being held. We are worried that people will think the money was distributed to us,” they said.

They also said the report was made as the person whom they had contacted – one Datuk Andrew Lim – to seek clarification on the events had lodged a police report, accusing them of defamation.

Lim, when contacted, told The Malaysian Insider that the callers claiming to be families of M370 passengers had called him and threatened him.

“Two different persons called me. They asked about the dinners and were very rude. I do not know if they were really the family members as claimed. I told them I was not the organiser. I was just a sponsor and told them to write in to MCI for further clarification but they refused to listen to me,” said Lim.

“They threatened me and said I had better run fast before they caught me. I have not done anything wrong. That is why I lodged a police report on Thursday to protect my reputation as a businessman and to prove that I did not do anything wrong,” he added.

Lim, a member of MCI Muslim Cultural and Econtrade, admitted attending both functions in Seremban and Seri Kembangan but only as a sponsor for the cultural performances by dancers from China. The performances were part of the events.

“Yes, I was at both functions held in Seremban and Seri Kembangan but the dinners did not once mention raising funds for M370 families. Those who attended were aware of what the functions were about,” said Lim.

He said the function in Seremban was more of a cultural event organised by the state government.

“I was there to take care of the welfare of the cultural dancers brought in from China for the event. No funds were collected for any purpose during the function.”

Lim said the other event in Seri Kembangan which was attended by about 500 people, was a dinner to forge ties between Muslims in China, Malaysia and Indonesia.

“At that event, there was supposed to be a bidding but it did not go well. No money was collected.”

When asked about the article published online on the MCI plan to hold charity dinners to raise funds for the families, Lim said that was the initial intention but it was dropped later.

Lim also said he had submitted MCI’s bank statement to the police.

“I have nothing to hide,” he added.

He said MCI vice-chairman Datuk Seri Abdul Shukor Mohsin was aware of the calls he received.

Serdang ACP Razimi Ahmad confirmed that police received both reports. – June 7, 2014.

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