Malaysia’s initiative to curb smoking with implementing higher excise taxes on cigarettes has pushed smokers to get illegal cigarettes. Thus, we have now end up being the largest consumers of illegal cigarettes across the globe with 1,000 packs sold every minute.
Oxford Economics estimated that 58.9% of all cigarettes offered in Malaysia last year were illegal. Another study revealed that to be over 12 billion sticks of illegal cigarettes sold a year ago. The illegal cigarette trade, added Oxford Economics, cost Malaysia nearly RM4.8 billion in excise taxes just last year.
The loss of RM4.8 billion is no laughing matter and law enforcement officials agencies have been completely conducting raids to stem smuggling operations at national boundaries checkpoints. The Customs Department confiscated contraband cigarettes worth RM1 billion given that the beginning of the year. Illegal cigarette smuggling is clearly one of many world’s biggest a great number profitable syndicates.
Little Impact On Combating The Illegal Cigarette Trade
Raids and seizures because of the authorities have limited effect on the matter. An all-out assault needs to tackle the illicit tobacco trade. Smuggling syndicates can flout legislation and influence enforcement staff through bribery. Malaysia’s attractiveness as global investment destination might be depending this belief of corruption, Oxford Economics informed.
This condition will not be unfounded, as a whopping 80 per cent of police force and security personnel at Malaysian borders are reportedly corrupt. Routine living costs sale of contraband cigarettes generates huge profits which may be channeled into more smuggling together with other different kinds of criminal activities.
Terrorisms Are Links To Illegal Cigarette Trade
Illegal cigarettes trade can also be a lucrative business and so on cash is used to finance terrorism. The Home Ministry and crime prevention groups began drawing links to terrorist organisations as well as the booming illicit cigarette business, since it is believed that these organisations are using Malaysia as being a base to invest in their activities.
For smugglers, bribing the border officers is small investment, as they can gain massive returns. Syndicates working with supplying contraband cigarettes are getting to be more brazen and prepared to exhaust all avenues, including leveraging threats, to steer these quarters to work with them.
Weak Government System Let Them Continues
The smuggling concern is deteriorating as a result of weaknesses from the system. Penalties are light, you’ll find poor border controls, virtually no arrests are prepared, along with the high tobacco taxes create a big price disparity with neighbouring countries, that makes it highly lucrative. This issue can only be tackled by stopping corruption and cutting off the key drivers, namely the crime syndicates.
Laws have to be amended to add harsher punishment and penalties for everybody involved in the smuggling activity, out of your smugglers to individual operators selling these cigarettes. Huge fine possibly even jail term will likely work as an effective deterrent to every single culprit through the supply chain.