We do it for free, says group accused of charging loan shark victims

PPIM lead activist Nadzim Johan has refuted allegations that the consumer group imposes a fee on loan shark victims seeking help from it. (Twitter pic)

PETALING JAYA: The Malaysian Muslim Consumers Association (PPIM) has denied claims that it has been charging loan shark victims seeking help from the organisation.

PPIM was responding to allegations supposedly made by a former employee that it charged loan shark victims 10% on top of additional charges when approached for protection and help to settle outstanding payments owed to loan sharks, or ah long.

PPIM lead activist Nadzim Johan refuted the allegations, telling FMT that PPIM did not ask for any payment from those seeking its help.

“Where we can help, we help for free. This includes giving advice to people, and meeting and negotiating with relevant parties.

“But there are some matters which require external expertise or professional services, such as legal help, accountancy and so on.”

These consultants, he said, would charge a maximum 10% fee for their professional services, but those who sought PPIM’s help were not obliged to use these services.

“The maximum 10% fee is charged by the consultant to the client. PPIM is not involved nor do we get a cut from this.

“If a person wants to use another consultant, they are free to do so. We will still play our role of advising and monitoring, which is free of charge.”

Nadzim said the receipts for an external consultant’s services came from the consultant and not PPIM.

He said if any consultants on the panel were found to be unethical, PPIM would not hesitate to remove them. To date, he added, five consultants had been struck off the panel.

Nadzim said PPIM’s panel of external consultants included two companies called Semboyan 1Malaysia (S1M) and the Risk Group Management and Consultancy, which were led by Yusuf Azmi, who is also the head of PPIM’s Special Action Unit.

“I don’t think there is any conflict of interest with Yusuf being part of PPIM and also having his companies on our panel of consultants, because there is no obligation from anyone seeking our help to engage PPIM’s external consultants.”

Nadzim said while there was no obligation for external consultants to give anything back to PPIM, the consumer group did pass the hat around when it needed to raise funds for events.

“It’s not cheap to run forums like we do from time to time. So when we want to organise an event, we raise funds by asking everyone, from our external consultants to the government and the private sector.”

Nadzim also denied that Syed Alwi Al Hadad Syed Mustaffa, who made the claims against PPIM, was an employee of the group.

He said Syed Alwi was employed by Yusuf in one of the two consultancy firms.

Citing confidential files, Syed Alwi had claimed there were times when loan shark victims had to pay more than what they owed the ah long.

On Monday, Yusuf lodged a police report against Syed Alwi and three others, accusing them of stealing critical files on loan sharks from PPIM’s office.

But Syed Alwi said the files were not stolen and were still in the office.

Consumer group accused of profiteering from loan shark victims