Malaysia steps up illicit trade battle

| March 17, 2014

Malaysia’s fight against smuggled cigarettes has gone into full swing with the Royal Malaysian Customs Depart­ment conducting raids nationwide since the beginning of the month, according to a story in The Star.

The raids, conducted under the Ops Outlet name, are part of renewed efforts by the department to curb the sales of smuggled cigarettes that are said to be costing the government about MYR1.9 billion in uncollected taxes annually.

Customs deputy director-general (enforcement) Datuk Matrang Suhaili said that while 2014 was the fifth year in which Ops Outlet was being carried out, this was the first time the department was pushing for more drastic measures.

“We are looking for harsher punishment for offenders, such as compulsory jail time for those who would usually be slapped with just a fine,” he said. “This issue is serious and we are treating it as such.”

So far, 44 dedicated Ops Outlet strike teams involving 200 members have been formed to conduct checks on outlets suspected of selling illicit cigarettes.

Category: Breaking News

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