KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 28 ― Frustrated over alleged unlawful raids on vape shops in Johor, a group representing about 1,000 traders today filed a lawsuit at the High Court against several parties and are seeking damages of not less than RM1 million.
Pertubuhan Ikatan Usahawan Kecil dan Sederhana Malaysia (Ikhlas) said today they are suing the Inspector-General of Police, Health Ministry director-general, Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism director-general and Johor Baru City Council for seizing vape products from the traders.
According to the writ of summons, Ikhlas has also demanded that the seized items be returned to vape traders in seven days from the date of the court order.
“We are angry and we cannot tolerate this anymore as the authorities simply walked into several vape shops in Johor and confiscated the items.
“Under what laws are they allowed to do this especially when the ban in the state is yet to be enforced,” Ikhlas president Mohd Ridzuan Abdullah told reporters after filing the case through his lawyer Zulhasmi Zakaria Termizi.
Ikhlas had held a press conference in Johor stating that a joint raid had been conducted on three vape stores in Johor Baru earlier this month by the Domestic Trade, Co-operatives and Consumerism Ministry, police and the local council.
In the news conference, he revealed that traders sustained losses of between RM50,000 and RM100,000 following the raid.
According to Zulhasmi, he would represent the group in filing for an interim injunction tomorrow or later this week to stop authorities from confiscating, punishing or compounding vape traders in the country.
“Today there is no law in any parts of the country that says traders cannot sell vape products,” he said, adding that the decision to ban the sale of vape products in Johor was yet to be enforced, hence, noting that it was still legal to do so.
A vape trader, Mohd Fadzli Taib who was also present, said authorities confiscated products worth about RM50,000 from his store in Negri Sembilan stating that his vape fluids contained illegal substance.
The 35-year-old man also alleged that there were no police representation during the raid that happened at his place two months ago.
“Only KKM (Health Ministry) representatives were there and I was not allowed to defend myself when my goods were taken away,” he said.
The Johor government has confirmed it will prohibit the sale of vape products starting January 1, after the state ruler called for such outlets to be closed down.
The Kelantan government also followed suit with the same decision when it announced the ban to be enforced in four days.