PETALING JAYA • Dozens of people ordered luxury watches engraved with the signature of Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad and parted with their money, not realising that there was no such product.
The plan was ordered to be halted immediately after Tun Dr Mahathir himself was alerted, said the Prime Minister's Office (PMO).
"As soon as we got to know of it, it was stopped immediately," said an aide to the Prime Minister.
The aide also said that Dr Mahathir had never endorsed such watches with his signature to be sold to civil servants.
More than a fortnight ago, The Star chanced upon a brochure with an order form for a watch engraved with Dr Mahathir's signature. The brochure was circulated among civil servants in selected departments in Putrajaya.
After checking with all parties involved, it was found that no such watch existed and that the brochure was false advertising.
When The Star checked with the organiser, purportedly a sports club for civil servants, it was told that the organiser had stopped taking orders for the watch.
"We have stopped it because of technical reasons. We now have to return the money to those who made the orders," said the person whose name was listed on the brochure as the contact person.
"We have many who ordered but do not worry, we will have another watch on offer in the near future."
The contact number was the same as that of the PMO.
Checks with civil servants showed that they, too, were told that Dr Mahathir had been informed of this and that it was stopped immediately because he did not want his name to be used to make commercial profits. "The PM was very angry," said a source.
According to the brochure, the watches come in three styles: MM 2020, MM 2019-I and MM 2019-II.
MM 2020 is allegedly from the Maurice Lacroix range and comes in black and brown, of editions of 50 each. They cost RM7,000 (S$2,290) each.
According to a spokesman for Maurice Lacroix, the design ad-vertised on the brochure is one of its watches from the "mass luxury" range, which can go for up to RM8,000.
The other two watches advertised in the brochure are of a "cheaper" version and come in editions of 100 each. The two, MM 2019-I and MM 2019-II, cost RM1,800 and RM1,200, respectively.
THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK