RM1m windfall that brought problems
COPYRIGHT 2004 Financial Times Ltd.
(From New Straits Times (Malaysia))
Byline: Timothy Leonard
THE spotlight has bathed some people over the years, and then moved on. Today, the New Sunday Times begins a series that will catch up with sportsmen, politicians, and everyday Malaysians who have had their moment of fame.
BANDAR PUSAT JENGKA, Sat. – He still owns the bicycle-repair shop he was running when he won RM1 million in the More Jutaria quiz show.
He has added an electrical appliance shop and several other businesses, which he runs under a company named Samerin Bersaudara Sdn Bhd.
Townspeople here readily point out his businesses to anyone who asks.
Ahmad Samerin Dzulkifli, 36, remains the country’s only game show millionaire, even after seven seasons of the local version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? in the intervening years.
He also remains elusive and publicity-shy, for the money he won apparently has not been the blessing he may have once thought it would be.
A family member said Ahmad Samerin was not available for interview.
However, the man, who declined to be named, did give a little insight into what it had been like for Ahmad Samerin when he catapulted to fame.
“A lot of things, some bad, happened to him since he won the million bucks.
“He has been threatened, cheated and blackmailed by some people. He lives in constant fear of being cheated.
“Please understand why he doesn’t want to speak to the Press,” he said.
The son of contractor Dzulkifli Silong and housewife Kinong Abdul Rahman, Ahmad Samerin was 23 when he solved the final puzzle in the short- lived quiz show broadcast on RTM.
He beat two finalists, when he used the seven letters of his own name to solve the puzzle and completed the three-word phrase “Sijil Simpanan Premium”.
The only thing he said he wanted to do then was to help his father by investing some of the money in his small contracting business.
Neighbours and kinfolk described him as hardworking, good-natured and quiet.
The year following the windfall, his parents found him a bride, Haliza Kamarul Jaeh, then 20. He went on to further his studies in business.
It was clear that the fame and fortune would bring problems.
Ahmad Samerin was beset by callers. Women offered to marry him, others sought financial help.
Two weeks later, his father was forced to disconnect the phone line to the home.
“He just wants to live a normal life, but it is almost impossible. People still think he is a millionaire after all these years,” the relative said.
“Most people in this town know who he is, and if anyone stops to talk to him, they will inevitably ask about his money.” What did happen to the money? “Put to good use and for the business,” was his reply.
NOR KAMSIAH BT KAMARUL JAEH. 131 FELDA JENDERAK UTARA, KUALA KRAU,. 28050 TEMERLOH, PAHANG. O137047675