Survey: Six out of 10 Malaysians say high prices driving the tobacco black market

A majority of Malaysians (64 per cent) believe that the high price of goods, including cigarettes, is a key factor driving people to the black market. — Reuters pic
A majority of Malaysians (64 per cent) believe that the high price of goods, including cigarettes, is a key factor driving people to the black market. — Reuters pic

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 3 — Many Malaysians believe that black market trade is severely impacting the country’s economy and that the authorities need to do something about it immediately, a recent survey showed.

The survey was commissioned by British American Tobacco (Malaysia) Berhad (BAT Malaysia) as part of its “Stop the Black Market” campaign.

“From the survey results and feedback we have received, Malaysians are calling for urgent action to reduce the price of some goods, to help stop the black market. 

“This likely comes from concerns they have on job security and income stability amid the on-going Covid-19 crisis,” said Jonathan Reed, managing director of BAT Malaysia.

Key findings of the survey showed that 67 per cent of Malaysians polled believe the black market, of which illegal tobacco is a significant component, is at crisis level.

At least 66 per cent think the government needs to act urgently to recover the RM5 billion lost to the tobacco black market annually.

Three quarters of respondents (75 per cent) want the government to introduce measures to stop the black market in the 2021 Budget.

“Any efforts made by the government to plug the leakage, and take back lost revenue in the upcoming 2021 Budget, would be supported by Malaysians.

“This can only be achieved through a comprehensive approach, with the government using all the tools at its disposal,” added Reed.  

A majority of Malaysians (64 per cent) believe that the high price of goods, including cigarettes, is a key factor driving people to the black market.

Eight out of 10 of those polled (79 per cent) agree that more enforcement is required. This includes stronger border security and better monitoring of products imported and exported.

The nationwide survey was conducted online and involved about 2,000 Malaysian adults.

For more information on the “Stop the Black Market” campaign, please visit https://stoptheblackmarket.com.my or https://www.facebook.com/stoptheblackmarket

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