KPDNHEP has recorded the highest complaints of scams involving online transactions for three consecutive years.
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A special task force under the Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry (KPDNHEP) has been studying a new licensing mechanism for online businesses to protect consumers from becoming victims of cyber scams that have become rampant.
According to its deputy minister Datuk Rosol Wahid, the ministry is considering models used in countries such as the United States, China, Singapore and Saudi Arabia to monitor online businesses.
“The ministry is engaging online platform providers, consumer and seller associations, academicians and economists to ensure that every aspect, including consumer and seller protection and enforcement, can be effectively carried out,” Rosol was quoted as saying by The Star.
He added that the proposal for the special licence had so far received positive feedback.
In explaining the decision, Rosol revealed that the KPDNHEP has recorded the highest complaints on scams involving online transactions for three consecutive years.
“For the record, of the total 34,681 complaints in 2020, 11,511 were about online transactions. In 2021, of 27,469 reports received, 11,463 were related to online transactions.
“So far this year, 15,957 complaints have been received with 4,760 related to online transactions,” he added.
While waiting for the new law to be legislated, Rosol said that the ministry would utilise the existing law to hit on online scammers that prey on the public.
He said that Section 2 of the Registration of Business Act 1956 required all online business operators to be registered with the Companies Commission of Malaysia.
Any online business owner that fails to do so, can be slapped with a two years prison sentence, a fine of RM50,000 fine, or both.
He also added that under the Act, it is compulsory for online traders to display the individual/business or company name; business registration number; email, phone number or business address, main description of goods or services offered, full price including shipping fee, freight, tax and other costs; terms and conditions and estimated delivery time.
He said that one could be prosecuted under the 2012 Consumer Protection Regulations (Electronic Trade Transaction) if they failed to display these details – with the first-time offenders facing maximum fines of up to RM50,000 or imprisonment of not more than three years or both, while business entities facing double the maximum fine.
Individuals committing a second offence or more can be fined a maximum of RM100,000 or jail of not more than five years or both, with a fine of RM200,000 for businesses.