Guinness fears surge in bootleg liquor after government hikes alcohol tax

Guinness Anchor Berhad expressed concern that the legal liquor industry will suffer due to the latest hike in excise duty. — AFP pic
Guinness Anchor Berhad expressed concern that the legal liquor industry will suffer due to the latest hike in excise duty. — AFP pic

KUALA LUMPUR, March 2 — Alcoholic drinks giant Guinness Anchor Berhad (GAB) confirmed today it is revising the prices of all its liquor products following Putrajaya’s move to increase excise taxes.

“GAB acknowledges the news that the Government has decided to raise excise duty on beer and stout effective 1 March 2016. As a result, we have made price adjustments to our portfolio of products in line with the new tax structure,” GAB’s managing director Hans Essaadi said in a statement..

He also expressed concern that the legal liquor industry will suffer due to the latest hike in excise duty, which he believed will trigger a surge in demand for illicit alcoholic drinks.

“The state of the economy is having a significant impact on businesses and consumers and the latest increase in excise duty on beer and stout will make the environment more challenging to our industry.

“We are also concerned that the demand for illicit and unregulated alcohol products may increase,” he said.

He added that Malaysia’s beer excise duty is currently the second-highest in the region and the third-highest globally.

Putrajaya had yesterday gazetted the revised tax rates for alcoholic beverages and the Finance Ministry is expected to announce the revised rate at a press conference tomorrow.

The last tax revision was a decade ago.

While Essaadi did not disclose the new prices of its beers and stouts, Malay Mail Online was given a copy of the revised wholesale list of GAB’s alcoholic drinks from a local pub-keeper.

In Peninsular Malaysia, a 24-pack carton of Guinness stout now costs RM202.12 from RM192.13 previously while the 24-pack of 500ml cans now costs RM280.89 compared to RM262.03 previously.

A carton of Tiger beer now costs RM173.77, an increase of RM5.92 from RM167.85 previously, while its 24-can pack of 500ml costs RM238.79 compared to RM229.44 previously.

One 24-can carton of Heineken beer costs RM213.76 from RM208.61 previously, while a 4X6 can bundle costs RM213.76 from RM208.61 previously.

One 24-can carton of Anchor beer is now RM142.15 now from RM143.90, a reduction of RM0.75.

The increase is worse in East Malaysia, with a hike of between 3 and 7 per cent compared to 2 and 5 per cent in the peninsula.

One 24-can carton of the Guinness stout now costs RM191.63 compared to RM181.63, while one 24-can carton of Tiger beer costs RM181.99 from RM176.07 previously.

One 24-can carton of Heineken meanwhile costs RM190.66 from the previous RM185.50, and one 24-can carton of Anchor beer costs RM139.61, from the previous RM141.35, registering a reduction of RM1.74.

The list is inclusive of the 6 per cent Goods and Services Tax.

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