Budget 2020 Reaction: Government’s fight against illegal cigarettes

JTI Malaysia acknowledges the Government’s move to acquire additional scanners in support of stamping out the smuggling trade in Malaysia.

Managing Director of JTI Malaysia, Cormac O’Rourke said, “Illegal cigarette sales in Malaysia has surpassed crisis levels and can only be addressed by absolute and resolute enforcement.”

JTI welcomes the Government’s allocation of RM235 million to purchase 20 additional cargo scanners to be placed at strategic ports of entry, but it must be noted that eliminating smuggling completely will not be achievable so long as there are human elements that intervene into the proper enforcement of laws.

Several key measures including the establishment of an independent body to lead a special taskforce on addressing illegal cigarette sales, a ban on transhipment of cigarettes and a further 2-year moratorium of tobacco excise increases are needed in conjunction with enforcement if there is to be any improvement.

O’Rourke added, “We hope the government will now step up its enforcement efforts to put an end to smuggling for once and for all and to return the RM6 billion revenue loss to the Malaysian taxpayer”.

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