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KUALA LUMPUR, July 6 — As part of its campaign to stop the trading of illicit cigarettes, British American Tobacco (Malaysia) Berhad (BAT Malaysia) asked Malaysians to share their thoughts on how to stop this crime.
The “Stop the Black Market” campaign was launched nationwide today.
At the company’s recent annual general meeting, managing director Jonathan Reed 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.”
Reed explained that “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.”
According to the “Illicit Cigarettes Study in Malaysia 2019” by The Nielsen Company, a whopping 62 per cent of the total tobacco market in Malaysia belongs to criminal gangs and the nation has the dubious reputation of being number one in the world for illegal cigarettes.
The tobacco black market also accounts for RM5.3 billion in excise tax losses each year. It also has other negative implications.
According to a recent survey titled “Malaysian Perception of Smoking and Vaping 2019” 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.
BAT said in a statement the result of the surveys “can help drive a national discussion on how the black market can be stopped.”