Pontian MP Ahmad Maslan has suggested that the price of cigarette packs be reduced to RM8 to combat illegal smuggling.
During the parliamentary session today (16 December) while debating the Customs (Amendment) Act 2020, he said that 64% of cigarettes sold in Malaysia were illegal while only 36% were taxed and legal cigarettes, which has caused a loss of RM5 billion in tobacco tax revenue annually in the country.
“The taxed cigarettes are priced from RM17.40 to RM12. The illegal (cigarettes from) RM8 to RM2 and there are some packs with five sticks which cost only RM2,” Ahmad said, as reported by Sin Chew Daily.
“This is very dangerous because these smuggled cigarettes can be bought by school children.”
“According to a study, Malaysia has the largest black market for cigarettes and this is not supposed to happen because smuggled cigarettes have higher nicotine and tar levels and do not have a health warning or follow manufacturing standards.”
Ahmad Maslan also added that cigarettes have vanished in Malaysia during the shipment process before they get re-exported to other countries. He suggested that the government should conduct a two-year pilot programme where cigarette packs of any brand be priced at RM8, which is about the same price as illegal packs.
“So, we don’t want to lose RM5 billion from smuggling. Cigarettes and RM5 billion is not a small amount and I’d like to mention again that a study found that Malaysia has the largest black market for cigarettes in the world,” he further explained.
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