Government urged to Investigate Loss of RM2 Billion in Tax Revenue due to Cigarette Smuggling


KUALA LUMPUR, 23 Oct: The Central Government has been urged to increase enforcement on cases of cigarette smuggling because the country has lost almost RM2 billion in duty tax revenue in a year.

Member of Parliament for Taiping, Nga Kor Ming said the loss does not include tax losses due to the smuggling of liquor into the country, which is expected to be greater than the amount mentioned.

He said based on a study by British American Tobacco Co, Malaysia has the highest rate in cigarette smuggling; one-third of cigarettes in the market are products of massive smuggling.

“Considering that the price of a box of cigarettes in the market is RM12.50, many smokers would choose to smoke smuggled cigarettes because it is cheaper although detrimental to their health.

“This phenomenon clearly shows that the government’s move to raise duty taxes on cigarettes or alcohol is ineffective in controlling smuggling of the goods,” he said in a press conference at the Parliament lobby today.

Kor Ming said the expensive price of cigarettes indirectly intensifies further smuggling causing consumers and the government to incur losses due to the weakness of authorities such as the Customs Department, the Royal Malaysian Police and the Immigration Department.

He said that the government should continue to place Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) agents in all law enforcement agencies to solve the problem.

“Based on the announcement by the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Robert Low, the government will hire 500 integrity officers next year to be placed in government agencies.

“To prevent smuggling, law enforcement agencies should be given priority to receive the placement of such officers to conduct internal checking so that they can provide useful information to prevent the growing concern of smuggling,” he said.

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