Sarawak man left stranded in Maldives after job offer turns out to be scam

It ain’t just love scams out there stealing our hearts and life savings — folks are also being advised to think twice before accepting overseas job offers that sound a little too good to be true.

Malaysian Foreign Ministry officials had to step in and come to the aid of a Sarawak man who found himself stranded in the Maldives after a lucrative job offer turned out to be a scam.

The 50-something man was initially offered the construction job by an agent in Malaysia, and took the agent up on the offer. However, when he arrived in the island nation, the job that he was promised never materialized, and the agency had taken his passport, leaving him stranded.

With no embassy in Male, the Maldives’ capital, the nearest Malaysian consular assistance was in Colombo, Sri Lanka, and the man’s family eventually contacted a local parliamentary representative, Kuching MP Kevin Yii Lee Wuen, for help.

Yii was able to relay the story to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, who in turn were able to locate the man in the Maldives and provide him with the necessary documents to travel back home to his family.

Following the revelation of this latest job scam, MP Yii has warned those looking for jobs in other parts of the world to be wary of too-good-to-be-true scenarios, and to research the legitimacy of those offering the positions.

One of the ways members of the public can do their own due diligence is to contact Wisma Putra, and ask them about the legitimacy of a company or agency. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs will also be able to tell you whether the salary offered is realistic.

Also, try to get your work permit in your passport before you leave Malaysia, to avoid having to give up your documents to unscrupulous agents on foreign soil in the first place.

If you can afford it, work and travel insurance aren’t a bad idea either – you may find yourself in need of emergency evacuation, which could prove to be costly.

Over the last year, Yii’s office has provided assistance to stranded Sarawakians in Liberia, Indonesia, Oman, Papua New Guinea, and South Korea after they fell prey to similar job scams.

“It is important for job seekers to take due diligence and do the necessary checks before traveling overseas. While it is not wrong to go overseas in search for better paying jobs, proper checking and due diligence must be done before they go,” Yii said in a statement from his Kuching office.

“The main issue here is not just the lack of jobs in the state, but rather quality jobs that is available with reasonable and equitable salary here in Sarawak. To address that, it may require long term and concentrated efforts from both governments (state and federal) to address this matter.”

This article, Sarawak man left stranded in Maldives after job offer turns out to be scam, originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia's leading alternative media company. Want more Coconuts? Sign up for our newsletters!