The Malaysian government has said that it will “continue helping small-time tobacco farmers seek an alternative source of income,” according to a story in The Star.
This commitment was made in the wake of the April 1 decision by cigarette manufacturers to stop buying local tobacco, said Datuk Noriah Kasnon, deputy plantation industries and commodities minister.
Noriah said the tobacco industry in Malaysia was in transition due to changes taking place in international trade and the increase in awareness about public health.
“The need to restructure the tobacco industry is in line with the country’s commitment to liberalize the market under the Asean Free Trade Area (AFTA) and the control of tobacco use under the World Health Organization (WHO) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control,” she said.
“I’ve been made to understand that the LKTN (National Kenaf and Tobacco Board) is in the process of implementing several programs to help rural tobacco farmers who are less competitive to switch to other economies, such as kenaf planting.”
Noriah, who was speaking at the launch of the 2013 Tobacco Seminar in Putrajaya on Tuesday, said the export value of tobacco and its products had increased by 48.7 percent to MYR1.57 billion in 2012 compared with MYR1.06 billion in 2011.
But the export value for the first half of this year, at MYR579.04 million, was down by 18.7 percent on that of the first half of 2012, MYR711.92 million.
“The tobacco industry contributed MYR3.52 billion to the country’s tax income last year, compared with MYR3.42 billion in 2011, which was an increase of 2.8 percent,” said Noriah.
“The amount was contributed through tax collection such as excise duty, import duty, sales tax and corporate taxes.”
Category: Breaking News