BAT Malaysia Says It’s Time To ‘Stop The Black Market’

British American Tobacco (Malaysia) Berhad (BAT Malaysia) today launched a nationwide STOP THE BLACK MARKET campaign, drawing attention to the seriousness of the tobacco black market and asking Malaysians to share their thoughts on curtailing this crime.

Today, 62% of the total tobacco market in Malaysia belongs to criminal gangs* and the country is now the number one in the world for illegal cigarettes**.

As well as impacting the country’s reputation, the tobacco black market accounts for RM5.3 billion in excise tax losses each year. It also has other negative implications.

According to a recent survey conducted by a leading market research firm, Malaysians believe that youth smoking is linked to cheap illegal cigarettes***.

Moreover, the tobacco black market forms part of a RM300 billion shadow economy that continues to hinder the nation’s growth****.

In order to highlight how this issue affects their lives as well as the socio economic well-being of the nation, Malaysians have the opportunity to take part in a nationwide survey on the STOP THE BLACK MARKET website and join the conversation on Facebook.

BAT hopes that the campaign can cast a spotlight on the detrimental impact of the tobacco black market. In addition, the results of the surveys can help drive a national discussion on how the black market can be stopped.

This determined initiative from BAT Malaysia comes after a commitment to help tackle this serious problem was made at the company’s recent annual general meeting.

Jonathan Reed, Managing Director of BAT Malaysia said:

“The negative impact of the tobacco black market is far-reaching as it affects legal businesses and the lives of all Malaysians. We applaud the hard work done by law enforcement agencies recently and we hope that these efforts continue to pressure the syndicates operating in this black market. However, enforcement alone is not enough to address this issue.”

“More attention needs to be drawn to the severity of the issue and Malaysians should have an avenue to voice their concerns, hence why BAT Malaysia is coming to the forefront with this campaign.”

“Malaysians can go to the website to find out more about this problem and participate in the surveys so that they can reaffirm their stand on this issue and share what they think needs to be done to help with the country’s economic recovery,” he concluded.


* Illicit Cigarettes Study (ICS) In Malaysia 2019 by The Nielsen Company
** The Economics of the Illicit Tobacco Trade in Malaysia 2019 by Oxford Economics
*** Malaysian Perception of Smoking and Vaping Survey 2019 by Green Zebras Sdn Bhd
**** Lim Guan Eng, former Minister of Finance, speech at 40th Commonwealth Association of Tax Administrators Annual Technical Conference 2019

Join the conversation on Facebook to learn more about what needs to be done to stop the black market.