Seven individuals from 3 Telecommunication companies are currently under investigation by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) for allegedly accepting bribes to reveal personal data of Telco customers in the country.
They were among eight people, comprising company directors and technical staff from three companies, to assist in investigations into the activities of a syndicate allegedly raking in millions of ringgit from SMS content services.
According to media reports, Magistrate Shah Wira Abdul Halim issued the remand order, until July 25, after allowing the application from the MACC under Section 117 of the Criminal Procedure Code at the Putrajaya Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday.
Another person was released on MACC bail.
Bernama said according to a source from MACC, all the individuals are suspected of being involved, through the three companies that are being investigated, in providing SMS content service, which is a paid short message service (SMS), to mobile phone users nationwide.
The source said that these companies, which are believed to have been operating for the past five years, had sent out SMSes providing promotional and other services to customers and charging fees of 50sen to RM4 for each SMS sent without the users’ consent.
According to the source, the syndicate mostly targeted millions of prepaid customers in the country.
In addition to the profits collected illegally from mobile phone users, the syndicate also made claims to the telecommunication companies as service charge, the source said.
The syndicate is also believed to have bribed personnel at the telecommunication companies to reveal the customers’ mobile numbers and personal information.
Issues with SMS content services are not new in Malaysia. The 2018 Consumer Forum Malaysia (CFM) annual report revealed that unwanted SMS/MMC and subscription services was among the top 5 issues raised on social media. Valid complaints it received on Billing and Charging was the second highest on the Telcos.
MalaysianWireless learned that MACC officers may have visited a certain Telecommunication companies to record statement and to look for documents related to the investigation.
At the time of writing, none of the Telecommunication companies have made a statement on the matter.