"Investor education plays a key role in ensuring adequate investor protection and as a precautionary measures to prevent from falling prey to these malicious schemes," Finance Minister II Datuk Seri Johari Ghani said when opening Bursa Malaysia Bhd’s Shariah Investing Fair at Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre today. Pic by NSTP / HAFIZ SOHAIMI

KUALA LUMPUR: More than 500,000 people have become victims to illegal investment scams in the country since 2015, said Finance Minister II Datuk Seri Johari Ghani.

He said this could be attributed to poor financial literacy among the victims.

He said victims were mostly attracted to offers of high investment returns by scammers.

"Investor education plays a key role in ensuring adequate investor protection and as a precautionary measures to prevent from falling prey to these malicious schemes," he said when opening Bursa Malaysia Bhd’s Shariah Investing Fair at Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre today.

On another note, Johari said 50 per cent of retirees would have spent their entire Employees Provident Fund savings within five years.

He said record showed that 72 per cent of EPF members who were at the pre-retirement age had savings of only RM50,000 and below.

On Islamic finance, Johari said Malaysia had been widely recognised as the world leader.

"As at 2016, of the US$73 billion (RM300.2 billion) global sukuk issuance, the country maintained its position in the global sukuk arena with 41.1 per cent of total sukuk issuance, Indonesia (16 per cent) and United Arab Emirates (11 per cent).

"Of the US$71 billion (RM292 billion) shariah-compliant asset funds being managed, 33 per cent are in Malaysia and the largest number of Islamic funds,” Johari said.

Meanwhile, Bursa Malaysia chairman Tan Sri Amirsham A Aziz said the fair was a platform for the retail public to explore, gain knowledge and information on stock market investment and various kind of shariah-compliant capital market investment products.

"It is Bursa's commitment towards increasing awareness, knowledge-sharing and education to the investing community and retail public.

"The fair aims to serve as a platform of information sharing and bridge the knowledge gap between Islamic Capital Market Investnent service providers and individual investors," said Amirsham.

He said there had been a growing concern on the low financial literacy level of Malaysians as there were many reports of the public falling for investment scams in hope of increasing their wealth.

"It is our role to educate these potential investors and raise the awareness of benefits of investing in stocks.

“Our initiatives have constantly involved working and collaborating with undustry partners," he said.

The two-day fair is expected to attract 10,000 visitors.

In conjunction with the opening of the fair, Bursa Malaysia also launched the "Shariah Trader Challenge", a stock trading competition focused solely on trading of shariah-compliant stocks on Bursa Malaysia-i which offers cash prizes and entry into this competition is free.

To register participants can visit www.bursamarketplace.com