KOTA BARU, Feb 9 — The National Kenaf and Tobacco Board (LKTN) in collaboration with the Royal Malaysian Customs Department seized 2.2 tonnes of smuggled cured tobacco worth RM60,000 in an operation in Alor Pasir, Tanah Merah on February 4.
LKTN director-general Samsudin Noor, said the seizure was carried out when two vans were detected in the vicinity of the Malaysia-Thailand border at Pasir Mas at 1.30am, before both vehicles were abandoned on the roadside in Alor Pasir after the drivers realised they were being followed by law enforcement personnel.
“Upon checking, 151 packages containing cured tobacco were found in the two vans,” he told a press conference at the LKTN office here, today.
He said all the seized tobacco were sun-cured and heat cured tobacco, believed smuggled in from a neighbouring country.
He said it was believed the confiscated tobacco was not for supply to registered companies in the cigarette or tobacco manufacturing industries, but for use in other tobacco industries.
Samsudin said the case was being investigated under Section 52 (1) of the LKTN Act 2009 (Act 692) which provides that no person may transfer, carry, transport cured tobacco or participate in such activities unless they have prior written approval from the LKTN.
“If found guilty can be fined up to RM50,000 or imprisonment not exceeding one year or both,” he said.
In the meantime, he said, currently, tobacco production in the country was scarce and industries still involved in the tobacco business were allowed to import it.
“The entrepreneurs involved can import the tobacco and still be taxed and the tobacco companies can apply for import permits from LKTN,” he said.
To date, 16 tobacco companies licensed to manufacture various tobacco-based products, imported 11 million kilogrammes of tobacco throughout 2019, he added. — Bernama