Once again, thousands of delegates have converged in Penang for a large but low-profile direct selling convention dubbed #VCON17 at the Spice convention centre in Penang.

Last year, some 15,000 delegates, mostly from India, attended #VCON16, also at Spice.

The main organiser of the convention is QNet, a direct selling or multi-level marketing firm using e-commerce founded by Penang-born Vijay Eswaran.

Eswaran, who made it to no. 25 among Malaysia’s richest in 2013, is the founder and chairman of the QI Group, whose headquarters is in Hong Kong. QNet is their flagship company.

In India, QNet, through its franchise operations, has been mired in controversy with a string of arrests following investigations by police and the Central Bureau of Investigation.

The matter, however, has reached the Supreme Court, which has stayed 19 investigation reports. This means no investigation, trial or other legal proceedings can now take place till further orders from the highest court.

The court has also ordered the release on bail of Vihaan Direct Selling (India) shareholders Michael Ferreira (80 per cent) and Malcolm Desai (20 per cent), who had been charged with running a Ponzi scheme and duping thousands of buyers. VDS is reportedly a subsidiary of Hong Kong-based QNet.

In their petition, the duo had said, “One of the biggest challenges for the Indian direct selling industry is a lack of an express regulatory framework, as a result of which, often direct selling companies are compared to pyramid schemes under the Prize, Chits and Money Circulation Schemes (Banning) Act.”

They claimed that their business module was in line with direct selling guidelines issued by the Indian consumer affairs ministry last year.

What are the laws and guidelines in Malaysia governing direct selling and multi-level marketing firms, and how effective are the laws – and enforcement – against pyramid scams and Ponzi schemes?

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11 COMMENTS

  1. In the meantime Penangites can skip Spice this weekend to avoid the QNet crowd, but can head to cinemas to watch “You Mean The World To Me” local movie in Penang Hokkien dialogue, on Mother’s Day:

    • Tunglang should not miss this 99% authentic Penang setting and details to spoken Hokkien, with brilliant cinematography by that award winning mandarin speaking Caucasian. Anil can relate to the dialogue aided by the subtitles.
      As for Margie, it will take some time tuning to understand and appreciate local nuances.

      • Came to know about this movie thro’ Penang Hokkien podcast.
        Besides the fun of speaking Hokkien, its PGHK Recording & Live Shows always feature Ghost Stories which is my favourite.
        http://penanghokkien.com

  2. QNet story, see for yourself if it’s as dubious as money games exploitations in Msia :



    For once this week we see more Tamil speaking Indian in Bayan Baru, surpassing migrant workers domination.

    • I was inside indoor stadium. Its more like an evangelical event with wrestlemania stage setting. The crowd went hysterical when a Singh appeared on stage, and I thought the likes of Amitha Bachan or Sharukh Khan was there to create such boisterous euphoria! ANIL should experience the live experience of full house audience tomorrow.

      • How did you get in?! I thought there were security checks at the auditorium doors?

      • First day security not so tight and managed to sneak into indoor. Good thing to see India and Pakistan national flags are put up side by side, showing commercialism prevails over politics.

        Today is last day and not sure what color of the shirts they will wearing as each day there’s designated colour. The shirt bears words like Creating Abundance and Infinity.

        I talked to one young India who told me they have to cover their expenses coming to this event. He invested RM16k as startups and make decent profits so far. Vijay to him is a $aviour…

  3. Going off-shore to Penang to organise such massive gathering, to escape the attention of India authority, but to the delights of F&B. Hotel, and Bus Persiaran industries of Penang!

    My friends are doing brisk business selling cold drinks outside the perimeter of Spice. In the compound, mineral water bottles selling for RM4-RM6, probably they have to pay rental fee using canopy setup by SP Setia?

    BTW, tomorrow 5pm at Spice rooftop garden a Youth Carnival, free entry. ANIL may want to drop by. Can interview QNet participants and meet up with aspiring youth of Pulo Mutiara, getting 2 cats with 1 stone in a single field trip for Asia1 or Aliran. Margie can kick start her dance and prayer routines up there on top facing Jerejak Island before sunset 🙂

    http://mypenang.gov.my/itemfull-9266-flyup_youth_carnival.pgt

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