The government will amend the Customs Act 1967 to take action against individuals or those selling illicit cigarettes.
Second Finance Minister Datuk Seri Johari Abdul Ghani said amendments to the Act would be tabled in the next Parliament session.
“If we find a shop selling illicit cigarettes, we will fine them or charge them in court and send them to jail,” he told reporters after opening a Healthy Community Without Cigarette Smoke programme in Kampung Pandan Settlement, here today.
According to Section 135 (1)(d) of the Customs Act 1967, those found guilty of being in possession of illicit cigarettes can be fined up to 20 times the value of the contraband cigarettes or jailed for up to three years or both.
Johari said illicit cigarettes sales accounts for about 50 per cent of the entire legal sales of cigarettes, resulting in a hefty losses for the government from unpaid tax for cigarettes.
He said the government had taken appropriate action by raising the excise duty for cigarettes, thus increasing the price of a 20 pack to be sold at RM17.
“The government believed by raising the excise duty, the number of smokers can be reduced and the cost of treating cigarette related diseases at government hospitals reduced as well.
“However, though sales of legal cigarettes had dropped, the sales of illegal cigarettes had increased,” he said.
Johari said illicit cigarettes are smuggled in from neighbouring countries like Thailand, Indonesia and Vietnam.
Source : @ Bernama