Malaysia has a long coastline, and illegal cigarettes enter the Malaysian market through many ports along the coast or neighboring countries. These illegal cigarettes were declared as duty-free goods to a third country at the customs and were not inspected by the customs. However, these illegal cigarettes were not transported to other countries of destination, but smuggled into Malaysia.
On related issues, the reporter of tobacco news interviewed Cormac O’Rourke, general manager of JTI Malaysia company.
The interview mainly talked about illegal cigarettes, including e-cigarettes. The following is an excerpt on e-cigarettes.
Tobacco news: Malaysia also has the problem of illegal smuggling of e-cigarettes. It is reported that in 2019, illegal e-cigarette products accounted for 10% of the whole Malaysian market. What is the current situation?
Oruk: illegal e-cigarette products are on the rise, accounting for 10% of the total market share. The government has not issued any sales licenses for e-cigarettes.
The smuggled electronic cigarette products appeared in the market are not only sold in traditional physical stores, but also illegally sold on the Internet. Most of the products are reported as food when they pass customs.
Our attitude towards the Malaysian government has always been the same, that is to introduce an appropriate regulatory system to allow e-cigarette products to be officially launched.
Tobacco newsletters: how does the inter departmental task force and other stakeholders respond to illegal e-cigarette products? What has been the effect so far?
Mr. oruk: given the recent restructuring of the inter departmental task force, it is too early to make a correct assessment, but we are hopeful about that. We believe that it is appropriate to set key performance indicators to assess the effectiveness of the task force and its components in terms of reducing the tax revenue from the recycling of illegal trade.