A team of government officials has raided M Mall O2O, a shopping mall that uses virtual money as its mode of payment, shocked the staffs and customers, the mall is located along Jalan Datuk Keramat, Penang.
M Mall is a shopping complex run by MBI International where members put money into the scheme and get a sum of virtual coins in return. After an incubation period of over a year, the coins are then converted into points to spend in several services and retail establishments under the MBI umbrella.
The five-hour raid at M Mall involved about 30 uniformed enforcers of the Companies Commission of Malaysia, the Domestic Trade, Co-operatives and Consumerism Ministry, police and several other plainclothes officials believed to be from Bank Negara Malaysia.
One MBI member who was at the mall said,
“The company has been quite untouchable all these years. No action was taken against MBI before but it’s different now. We have to be prepared for the worst.”
In the raid, they seized four sealed suitcases, two large cardboard boxes, three reams of paper and two plastic bags filled with sheets of more paper.
Reporters were prevented from taking pictures or entering with the authorities who raided the mall and the raiding team did not speak to the media waiting outside the MBI Group’s office on the fifth floor of the complex either.
The team arrived at noon and was initially only on the mall’s fifth-floor management office, but at around 4 pm, a team marched into the mall’s ground floor and raided one of the outlets.
Outlets that were raided is believed to be MBI’s telecommunications service outlet and the service center for MMspot, MBI’s “shopping and barter system management platform.” Customers at the Mcalls outlet were stunned by the raid.
A long-time MBI member said he enjoyed spending his virtual money in M Mall, especially on dinners with his wife and children at the mall’s restaurants.
“We can buy everything from household appliances to handphones with our points. We can even partially pay for cars and properties with our points.
“This is not like (failed money game) JJPTR. MBI fulfilled its promises. What wrong has M Mall done?”
Jeffrey’s virtual money was still intact when he checked online after the raid, he also added that many cannot accept this form of investment, but many others can.
MBI International which was recently red-flagged by Bank Negara for having a questionable financial scheme which gives substantial returns a year and this is believed to be the longest-running financial scheme founded in Penang.
To date, 302 companies have been listed under the BNM financial consumer alert list for suspicion of not adhering to relevant laws and regulations in their operations.