2021 Budget Announcement A Good First Step To Tackling The Tobacco Black Market
Bukit Damansara, 6 November 2020 – British American Tobacco (Malaysia) Berhad (BAT Malaysia or the Company) commended the Finance Minister YBM Dato’ Sri Tengku Zafrul bin Tengku Abdul Aziz for announcing measures to the stop the tobacco black market in his Budget 2021 speech today.
BAT Malaysia sees these measures as the first step to disrupting the supply of illegal cigarettes in Malaysia. The company also highlighted that the Government’s move is both timely and necessary as Malaysia is currently the No. 1 in the world for illegal cigarettes, which take up 65% of the total market.
Jonathan Reed, Managing Director of BAT Malaysia said:
“We are thankful to the Finance Minister and the Malaysian Government for acknowledging the severity of the tobacco black market and taking a bold step towards addressing this issue.”
“High taxes on legitimate cigarettes have created a huge demand for cheap, illegal cigarettes. The tobacco black market not only causes the loss of billions of ringgit in uncollected tax, but it also funds crime, fuels corruption and drives the youth smoking rate.”
“Moving forward, measures to enhance enforcement must be accompanied by excise reforms to really make an impact on the tobacco black market. The price gap between legal and illegal products is currently far too wide, creating a situation that enforcement alone cannot address.”
“Ultimately, we believe Malaysian consumers want to do the right thing. If given a viable opportunity to choose a legal alternative at a reasonable price, most would prefer not to put money in the hands of criminals.”
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