Contracts & Commercial

Heavier Penalties await Illegal Cigarette, Liquor Traders, Syndicates Customs

Date: 11 December 2018; Type: Legal News; Source: Bernama

SUBANG JAYA, Dec 11 (Bernama) - Traders and syndicates of smuggled cigarettes and liquor will face stiffer penalties after amendments on Section 135 of the Customs Act 1976 and Section 74 of the Excise Act 1976 were passed at Dewan Rakyat yesterday.

Customs Department director-general Datuk Seri T. Subromaniam said the minimum fine of RM100,000 would be slapped on smuggled cigarettes and liquor offences, after both acts come into effective on January 1 next year.

“I would like to warn shopkeepers selling cigarettes and liquor with unpaid duty to cease their activities immediately.

“Each year, Customs brings in 2,000 cases of cigarette smuggling to court but it was not effective so after the amendment of the acts, let us see who dares to sell,” he told reporters after the 86th Meeting of Customs Directors here today.

He hoped the punishment would increase compliance among traders to obtain cigarettes and liquor from legitimate sources.

Yesterday, Dewan Rakyat passed the Customs (Amendment) Bill 1967 and the Excise (Amendment) Bill 1967 to curb smuggling cigarettes and liquor.

In this regard, Subromaniam said Customs is also taking measures to tighten the licensing condition for imported cigarette by imposing a minimum import limit.

“Companies with import licence for three years or more should import a minimum of 2.5 million sticks of cigarettes every quarterly.

“For import licence of less than three years, the minimum import quantity is 1.25 million sticks every quarterly,” he said and added that the action was taken to prevent abuse of the licence.

Apart from that, he said firm actions were also taken on customs agents who making wrong calculations on the import and export documents.

“As at Oct 22, 1,632 forwarding agents and 543 Customs shipping agents had their licences revoked,” he said.

Through the measures taken, Subromaniam said Customs expects cigarette duties to rise to RM4.6 billion next year compared to RM3.6 billion this year while another additional RM300 million is expected to be collected from duties on liquor.

He also said Customs has set up an internal investigation branch to combat abuse of power and corruption among Customs personnel and senior officers.

The team will be monitoring officers and employees in the field, he added.

Subromaniam said the team will report directly to him on any issues of abuse involving Customs personnel.

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