Petaling Jaya—Scams using the names of world leaders to seemingly endorse a product or service are not unusual in this day and age, and Malaysian Prime Minister Dr Tun Mahathir Mohamad is no exception.
A luxury watch bearing the engraved signature of Dr Mahathir was discovered to be a hoax, after dozens of people had already ordered the timepieces and had even paid for them.
The Prime Minister himself found out about the scam. An aide to Dr Mahathir told The Star, “As soon as we got to know of it, it was stopped immediately,” adding that the Prime Minister had not ever endorsed a watch bearing his signature for selling to civil servants.
More than two weeks before the news broke, the Star had seen a brochure advertising the luxury watch that supposedly had the Prime Minister’s “prominent” signature engraved on it. It had an attached order form for the “exclusive timepiece (limited edition).”
The brochure was reportedly passed around to civil servants in a number of different departments in Putrajaya.
However, when The Star contacted the people behind the product, who claimed to be a civil servants’ sports club, the paper was told that orders for the watch had stopped being taken.
The Star reports that the person whose name is listed on the pamphlet as the contact person told them, “We have stopped it because of technical reasons. We now have to return the money to those who made the orders.
We have many who ordered but do not worry, we will have another watch on offer in the near future.”
Oddly enough, the telephone number listed on the brochure is the same number as that of the Prime Minister’s Office.
According to The Star’s sources, production on the watch was stopped at once since Dr Mahathir did not wish for his name to be used for commercial profits and that he was “very angry” about the matter.
The Malaysian office of Swiss watch luxury brand Maurice Lacroix told the media outfit that a luxury watch gallery had used the brochure they had seen advertising Dr Mahathir’s supposedly endorsed watch to make informal inquiries about prices for luxury watches, asking that the matter “should be kept private and confidential.”
The luxury brand was asked how much a watch that bore an engraved signature would cost. The answer is between RM3,000 to RM4,000, (about S$982 to $1,309), half the price quoted on the brochure.
The brochure reads, “Time, a dedication.
This limited edition timepiece is inspired by Tun’s astounding dedication and perseverance in achieving his enduring vision. Truly an epitome of his premiership.
Time, an inspiration.
Its exquisite interpretation of technical prowess and sleek design reflects the perpetual aspirations for greatness, transcending hope and dreams, prevailing all possibilities.
Time, exclusively yours
Crafted with exceptional precision and elegance, each timepiece is engraved with Tun’s prominent signature—a perquisite value to its ownership.” -/TISG
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