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Fake gold not a huge problem

PETALING JAYA: Although there have been cases of people being misled into buying fake gold, counterfeits are not a huge problem in the country due to stringent checks by the governing body and savvy customers.

Housewife K. Sumathi, 57, can tell the difference between costume jewellery and actual gold after decades of buying gold for herself and her relatives.

“You can tell from the colour and the weight.

“You can also tell how much real gold should weigh by looking at the design and workmanship,” she said.

Last month, a local bank lost RM75mil after it purchased fake gold through its Islamic pawn-broking (Ar-Rahnu) service.

MCA’s Public Services and Complaints Department head Datuk Seri Michael Chong, meanwhile, said his department had not received any complaints of people being swindled into buying fake gold in the past few years.

“Previously, there was a scam by fraudsters pretending to sell gold brought in by the Vietnamese boat people who were escaping their country during the war.

“They would tell unsuspecting locals that the Vietnamese needed to dispose of the gold that they had managed to bring out of the country and would sell people cheap metals with a coating of gold only on the outside,” he said.

The Federation of Goldsmiths and Jewellers Associations of Malaysia said there were stringent checks on their 1,600 members to ensure that their goods were genuine.

Federation president Ng Yih Pyng said they would not tolerate dishonest actions by members.

He also warned consumers to be wary when buying gold from pawn shops or unfamiliar sources.

“Make sure that they have the original invoice for the gold item,” he said, adding that it was one way of ensuring that the item was genuine.

Ng, who is also managing director of a large jeweller group, advised the public to purchase gold from reputable jewellers and goldsmiths who were part of the federation.

“If you are unsure as to the authenticity of the items you have purchased, bring it to an assayer accredited by Sirim,” he said.