Malaysia’s efforts to lessen smoking by increasing excise taxes on cigarettes failed. Rather than reduce their habits, smokers turned to illegal cigarettes and resulted in a boom. We are now our planet’s largest consumers of illegal cigarettes, buying 1,000 packs a minute.
Oxford Economics reports 58.9% illicit cigarette sold in Malaysia
Oxford Economics estimated that 58.9% of all cigarettes bought from Malaysia last year were illegal. Another study established that to be over 12 billion sticks of illegal cigarettes sold this particular past year. The illicit cigarette trade, added Oxford Economics, cost Malaysia nearly RM4.8 billion in excise taxes just last year.
RM1 Billion worth of illicit cigarettes are seized
To deal with the huge amounts of lost revenue, the authorities agencies conducted many raids to foil smuggling attempts at border checkpoints. Up to now, the Customs Department repossesed illicit cigarettes with revenues worth RM1 billion. These illegal businesses are clearly the planet’s biggest lucrative syndicate.
Bribery And Corruption in Law Enforcement
Combating efforts are merely a scratch at first glance. What needed is an all-out war to wipe out illicit tobacco trade. Oxford Economics reported that smuggling syndicates are undermining the rule of law and regulations in Malaysia in addition to spreading corruption through bribery. This can slow up the country’s appeal to global investors.
This is certainly supported by reports which a staggering 80 per cent of security personnel and the police at Malaysian borders are corrupt. The sale of contraband cigarettes in Malaysia means smuggling syndicates to build profits which have been channeled to finance more smuggling activities along with other different types of criminal activities.
Illicit Cigarette Trade is A Lucrative Business
Illegal cigarettes trade is also a lucrative business and so forth total funds are utilized to finance terrorism . The Home Ministry and crime prevention groups have started drawing links to terrorist organisations as well as the booming illicit cigarette business, which is regarded as these organisations are using Malaysia to be a base to afford their activities.
Bribing border officials is really a small expense for smugglers, relative to the enormous income they earn. However, these crime syndicates also leverage threats for getting what they really want. These are brazen enough to implement whatever means essential to influence officials into working together with them.
Light Punishment Causing The Increases in Crime
The smuggling problem will simply become worse because penalties for smuggling are light, border controls are weak, raids often produced a small number of arrests, and Malaysia’s high tobacco can be extremely high that the price difference with neighbouring countries make smuggling very profitable. This disorder is only able to be solved by eradicating corruption and aiming for main suppliers, particularly the syndicates.
There should be harsher penalties and punishment against everyone concerned during the illegal cigarette market. Imposing heavier fines and perhaps imprisonment is definitely an effective deterrent to smugglers, distributors and sellers alike.