PONTIAN: The grass was not greener for three friends who were hoodwinked into going to Dubai for supposedly high-paying jobs.

For over a year, the trio – who only wanted to be identified as Jenny, 36, Kelvin, 21, and Jason, 25 – experienced a torrid time working in customer service for an online gambling website in the United Arab Emirates.

According to Jenny, they were looking for work after losing their jobs when the movement control order was imposed nationwide.

“In October 2021, Jason came across a job advertisement on Telegram and told us an international company based in Dubai was offering jobs with a monthly salary of RM8,000 and commission of RM400.

“We were attracted to the money and immediately applied for the job. The company then messaged us to fill up a form and we gave them our resumes and passport details.

“They even paid for our flight tickets to Dubai and told us to leave Malaysia via Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) a few days later,” she told a press conference organised by Tanjung Piai MP Datuk Seri Dr Wee Jeck Seng at his service centre in Pekan Nanas here yesterday.

Kelvin said when they arrived at Dubai International Airport, a Chinese national was waiting and brought them to a bungalow just outside the city area.

“The man took our passports, claiming he needed the documents to get our work permits and put us in one of the rooms in the bungalow. We thought we were hired by a big company but instead, we worked for a gambling website.

“There were more than 20 other people working inside the bungalow just like us, from China and Taiwan along with other Malaysians,” he said.

He added that they were not allowed to go outside the bungalow, which was guarded by four people.

“They only allowed us one five-minute call every Sunday to tell our families we were safe.

“The supervisor then told us they were closing and we would be working for another company doing the same thing,” he said.

Kelvin said they decided to make their escape when the four people guarding them went to a Christmas party on Dec 25 last year, leaving them alone in the bungalow.

He said they took a taxi heading straight to the Malaysian consulate.

Wee said the victims’ families had reached out to him on Dec 29 asking for assistance to get them back home safely to Malaysia.

“We contacted the Malaysia consulate office in Dubai and arranged for them to get new passports. They returned home safely on Monday.”

Wee thanked officials at the consulate office for their assistance.

He urged Malaysians to be careful when considering overseas job advertisements on social media.