The Star Online:
The Higher Education Ministry has sent the names of 50 students to several higher learning institutions based on their suspicious redemption of 1Malaysia Book Vouchers (BB1M).
The names, it said, were sent to get an explanation from the respective institutions on the redemption activities.
“Any further action will be based on reports from the higher learning institutions. The ministry will also work closely with Bank Simpanan Nasional (BSN) to identify the students,” it said in a statement yesterday.
The ministry is also looking into 10 bookshops, which had made the claims for the redemption at BSN.
“If these companies were found not to be in the business of selling books, legal action will be taken against them,” it said, adding that prior to this, the ministry had blacklisted four bookshops for abusing the BB1M programme.
On March 31, The Star had front-paged a story on bookstore operators buying the vouchers from students. The vouchers were used to sell off old stock, which were then resold as used books, thus earning operators a higher profit.
BB1M, which was implemented in 2012, is a means of assistance for students in Form Six and higher learning institutions. The vouchers cannot be exchanged for cash with any third party.
“The ministry is and will continuously monitor and take action to overcome any abuse of the BB1M programme.
“The registration process for bookshops to be part of BB1M this year is also being updated with the cooperation of the Malaysian Book Sellers Association to ensure only those verified are approved by the ministry.
“To date, 14 applications have been rejected,” it added.
The ministry said it was also looking into methods to manage BB1M next year to overcome the problems, including proposals to distribute and redeem via online without the need for vouchers.
The ministry said it was aware of the police’s arrest of a syndicate preying on students trying to exchange the vouchers for cash, adding that it would cooperate to ensure stern action.
It was reported yesterday that a 22-year-old college student, who thought he could get away with cheating the Government of RM30,000 worth of BB1M, ended up being duped by a gang.
Shah Alam OCPD Asst Comm Shafien Mamat said a syndicate had been hoodwinking unsuspecting undergraduates from public institutions to surrender their BB1M vouchers in exchange for money.